Turkey arrests three alleged Gulenists after pushback by Greece

Turkey arrests three alleged Gulenists after pushback by Greece
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Turkish authorities arrested three convicted Turkish citizens after Greece pushed them back to Turkey, who fled across the border to avoid imprisonment over alleged terrorism charges

Three Turkish citizens who were facing imprisonment on terrorism charges over their alleged membership of Gulen Movement, a group that Turkey blames for July 2016 coup attempt, have been arrested by Turkish authorities, after they were pushed back by Greece earlier this month, Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported. 

On July 19, Greek law enforcement officers pushed Rıdvan Anur, Sultan Anur and Murat Yasar back to Turkey, after they fled across the border, SCF said on Thursday.

Rıdvan Anur and Sultan Anur, a recently married couple, and Murat Yasar, were convicted of Gulen Movement membership, and released pending trial, SCF said. The Greek authorities pushed them back after seizing their phones, wallets and belongings, it said, citing Kronos news website.

Turkey blames Gulen Movement, a group led by Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen who lives in the United States in self-imposed exile, for plotting the failed coup on July 15, 2016. While Ankara designated the group as a terrorist organization, Gulen denies any involvement.

Since the coup attempt, tens of thousands of military personnel and civil servants were arrested or fired over alleged links to the movement, in a government crackdown. 

Rıdvan Anur and Sultan Anur were previously sentenced to 10 years, six months and seven years, nine months in jail respectively, SCF said citing Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency. Yasar, who was arrested along with the Anur couple, was also sentenced to prison, SCF said citing Kronos. The news website did not mention any details over the length of Yasar’s prison term, it said.

By November 2021, a total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to official Turkish data, SCF said. Scores of others had to flee Turkey to avoid the crackdown, it said.