Turkey: 34 years prison time wanted for Gulen

US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen could face 19 to 34 years imprisonment

Turkey: 34 years prison time wanted for Gulen

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of up to 34 years for an influential cleric accused of terrorism for allegedly conspiring against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state media said Thursday. 

Preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan turned arch-foe and living in exile in the United States, is charged with "forming and running a terrorist organisation," as well as  "forging official documents" and "libel", the official Anatolia news agency reported.

The prosecutors requested a jail sentence of between 19 to 34 years, the report said. 

The court also issued a fresh arrest warrant for Gulen although there appears little chance of his extradition from the US for now.

The case against Gulen is part of a wide-ranging investigation into his powerful Hizmet (Service) movement, which has followers in the administration, business, education and the media. 

Among the other 32 people named in the indictment was the head of the Samanyolu TV channel, Hidayet Karaca, who has been in custody since his arrest in December during raids on media outlets with ties to Gulen. 

He faces up to 26 years in jail on charges including leading a terrorist group.  

Erdogan accuses Gulen and his movement of being behind corruption allegations that rocked the government in December 2013 while Erdogan was prime minister. 

Turkey's president has vowed to fight against Gulen and the authorities have over the last year effectively purged the police force and judiciary of pro-Gulen elements.

The cleric, who left for the United States in 1999 to escape charges of anti-secular activities by the government at the time, denies the latest allegations.

Turkish authorities have in recent weeks expanded their investigations into his movement.

On Wednesday, police raided a private college in central Turkey linked to the cleric and arrested 11 business executives and university staff.

Memduh Boydak, head of the Boydak Holding conglomerate who was among those arrested, was released on Thursday. 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 18 Eylül 2015, 09:25