A Turkish popular historian and author Talha Uğurluel, who was appearing on TV often, has been arrested and jailed on terrorism charges due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt in July 2016, the Anadolu news agency reported on Monday.
Uğurluel was detained at his İstanbul home on Monday by police as part of an investigation overseen by the Erzincan Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
From İstanbul, Uğurluel was taken to Erzincan province in eastern Turkey where he appeared before a judge and was subsequently arrested. He is facing charges of membership in a terrorist organization.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Turkish TV presenter Murat Yeni, who was recently arrested as part of the same investigation in Erzincan, reportedly told prosecutors that he used to attend religious talks organized by followers of the Gülen movement and that Uğurluel was also among the attendees at those talks. In a video recording a day earlier, Ugurluel denied links to the movement, accusing media organizations OdaTv and Aydinlik of intimidating him. “I authored 14 books…our ancestors, …and how dare you are calling me terrorist now” Ugurluel asked.
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight, as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 50,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.