TURKEY

Probe urged into 'hero' t-shirt wearing Turkey suspect

PROBE URGED INTO HERO T-SHIRT WEARING TURKEY SUSPECT

Deputy Premier Numan Kurtulmuş has said the appearance before a trial court of a suspected Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) member in a t-shirt with the word "hero" inscribed on it is part of a "perception operation".

According to the Turkish government, FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

In an interview aired live on state-run TRT Haber news network as part of the commemoration events for the first anniversary of the defeated July 15 coup, Kurtulmuş said: "A public enemy is made out to be a public hero. This is part of a perception operation."

The deputy premier urged prosecutors to launch a probe into the incident.

Kurtulmuş also proposed a uniform for suspects. "I believe it will be more appropriate if suspects are presented before a court in uniforms."

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said the suspect had made a conscious decision to wear the t-shirt, "but the background of the act will emerge after the investigation".

"We will also impose sanction on those who have acted negligently or carried out misconduct," Bozdağ told reporters, adding that prisoners will not be allowed to wear any signs or symbols in the upcoming days.

Also, Kurtulmuş praised Belgium and France for their support to Turkey's democracy after the two countries allowed July 15 commemoration events.

"I want to thank them once more. This is how it should be. If a democracy means right to speak, right to an idea and right to express them freely, it is astonishing when leaders are prevented from meeting their expatriates."

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