Samanyolu Broadcasting Group General Manager Hidayet Karaca has been sentenced to 1,406 years in prison by an Istanbul court on charges that range from “forgery of official documents,” to “violation of confidentiality of communication” in a match-fixing ‘conspiracy’ trial, the BBC News Türkçe reported.
Hidayet Karaca has been behind bars since December 2014.
The match-fixing scandal became news in the summer of 2011 when Turkish police began an investigation into 19 football matches suspected of being fixed, and by July 10, 61 people had been arrested, including Fenerbahçe Chairman Aziz Yıldırım and Turkish national players.
Since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) launched a war against the Gülen movement following the outbreak of a corruption scandal in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated, it has been accusing the movement of having been involved in dozens of conspiracies despite the lack of any credible evidence. The match-fixing scandal is one of them.
In an operation on Dec. 14, 2014, former Zaman Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanlı, Karaca and a number of soap opera scriptwriters and police officers were detained on charges of terrorism and membership in an organization that conspired against Tahşiyeciler based on a speech by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen in 2009 in which the scholar warned against a group that “might” be called Tahşiyeciler and whose leader, Mehmet Doğan, had publicly praised Osama bin Laden.
The prosecutors who ordered the Dec. 14 detentions claim that following Gülen’s speech, Dumanlı ordered two columnists to write about Tahşiyeciler and that he published a news report on the speech. The allegations also claim that Samanyolu TV made implications about the group in an episode of a soap opera, Sefkat Tepe, broadcasted in late 2013. It was further claimed that the police then “unfairly” raided the group.
Previous reports by police intelligence, military intelligence and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had described Tahşiyeciler as a terrorist group linked to al-Qaeda. In a 2009 live broadcast on CNN Türk TV, the leader of the Tahşiyeciler group stated that he liked former al-Qaeda head Osama bin Laden.