Turkish commander in Afrin once accused of Gülen links

The commander of Turkey’s cross-border military offensive in the Syrian district of Afrin was once accused of being a member of the banned Gülen movement, wrote Müyesser Yıldız on the website of the nationalist left-wing ODA TV. 

Lieutenant General İsmail Metin Temel’s name was on a list sent to Ankara public prosecutor’s office by the Department of Intelligence in 2015. The list identified Temel as a member of the Gülen movement, but said he had been expelled from the group, Yıldız said.

The Gülen movement, led by U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, is accused of orchestrating the 2016 failed coup.

Turkish authorities have carried out a massive purge since the coup attempt, jailing tens of thousands of people and sacking and suspending some 150,000 from their jobs. Hundreds of military officers suspected of links to Gülen are being tried for attempting to overthrow the government.

Turkish troops and their allies seized control of the city of Afrin on March 18 after a two-month offensive against Syrian Kurdish forces.