Mar 01 2018

Turkish naval chief’s guard arrested in Gülen purge

A member of the team assigned to protect Adnan Özbal, the commander of the Turkish Navy, has been arrested for suspected links to the alleged terrorist organisation headed by Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen, the Turkish news site Dünya reported on Thursday.

Followers of Gülen are accused of plotting the failed July 2016 coup attempt. Thousands of Gülenists are said to have infiltrated high positions in the state bureaucracy, military and security forces, and, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) alleges, used their positions in a series of attempts to topple the elected government culminating in the coup attempt.

Sergeant Rıza Asal, one of Özbal’s personal guard, was arrested and charged with “membership of a terrorist organisation” in the scope of an investigation into Gülenists in the navy. An Istanbul court ordered him to be kept in detention pending trial.

The charges are based on evidence from an informant reportedly from the Gülen organisation, who provided a description of his subordinate in the organisation codenamed “Recep” that matched Asal’s description.

The investigation also found evidence that Asal’s brother had been working for the Gülenists, according to Dünya.