Con artists approached people whose family members have been jailed over links to the faith-based Gülen movement following a failed coup in July of last year, saying they are related to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın and offering to get the victims out of prison for a fee.
According to a statement by Burdur Chief Public Prosecutor Sadi Doğan on Thursday, his office received complaints about people who approached family members of those who are in jail over links to the Gülen movement.
“Scammers demanded money to get Gülen followers out of jail by influencing the courts or prosecutors using Kalın’s name. They introduced themselves as ‘General Mehmet,’ a family member of Kalın,” Doğan said.
Lawyer Ç.Ç. from the Antalya Bar Association and his accomplice R.T. were detained after a family member of a victim found out that R.T. was a fraud when he said he had met with Doğan at the Burdur Public Prosecutor’s Office at a time that the prosecutor was not in the office.
Doğan said the two suspects were arrested on charges of fraud and warned people not to trust anyone demanding money to get their family members out of prison by using the influence of famous people.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others.
Strongly denying having any role in the putsch, US-based Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the Gülen movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement.