Turkey indicts Gulen over Russian envoy’s killing

Muslim preacher is accused of attempting a putsch

Turkey indicts Gulen over Russian envoy’s killing

A Turkish prosecutor on Friday charged 28 suspects, including U.S.-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, blamed by Ankara for a 2016 failed coup, over the murder of the Russian ambassador later in the same year.

The indictment by the Ankara public prosecutor came nearly two years after Andrei Karlov was shot dead in December 2016, state-run news agency Anadolu reported.

Turkey has accused Mr. Gulen of ordering the July 15, 2016, attempted a coup, a claim he strongly denies.

Karlov was shot dead by an off-duty Turkish policeman Mevlut Mert Altintas, 22 while inaugurating a photo exhibition in Ankara.

Altintas was killed shortly after the murder by members of Turkey’s special forces.

The 28 suspects are charged with “violating the constitutional order”, “being a member of a terror organization”, “premeditated murder with the intention of causing terror”, and “seeking to create terror or panic”, Anadolu reported.

The punishment
The prosecutor sought varying terms including aggravated life sentences, which have replaced the death penalty in Turkey and carry harsher conditions than normal life imprisonment convictions.

Turkish authorities have repeatedly pointed the finger at Gulen and his “Hizmet” (Service) in Turkish over the killing.

In April this year, a Turkish court issued arrest warrants for eight people including Gulen over the murder.

Among those sought by Ankara and also named in Friday’s indictment was Serif Ali Tekalan, who headed a university linked to Gulen in Istanbul and now heads the Texas-based North American University.

Ankara refers to the Gulen movement as the “Fethullah Terrorist Organisation” and in the indictment, the prosecutor said the group wanted to cause a “provocation” between Turkey and Russia.