Turkish lawyer in Russian envoy murder case charged with links to Gülen movement

A Turkish court filed an indictment against a lawyer in the case of the 2016 assassination of Russia’s ambassador to Turkey, charging him with the membership of Gülen movement, Turkish news site Gazete Duvar reported on Monday.

"An indictment was filed against Erdem Semih Yıldız, a lawyer of one of the suspects accused of conspiring to kill Russia’s ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov,’’ Gazete Duvar said. The indictment asked for a jail term up to 15 years for membership in the group.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen Movement, led by Fethullah Gülen, of orchestrating the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 and designated it a terrorist organisation.

An off-duty police officer shot the Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov at the opening of a photo exhibition in Ankara in December 2016. The assailant was killed by police just after he shot the Russian ambassador.

Turkish prosecutors said the assassination targeted Turkish-Russian relations and was organised by the Gülen movement.

The lawyer has been charged with “membership of an armed terrorist organisation” on the basis that he used ByLock messaging app as possession of the application is counted as evidence of membership of Gülen movement, according to the new site.

The indictment noted that Yıldız officially changed his name from "Hasan" to "Erdem Semih" after the failed coup attempt, Gazete Duvar said.