Turkish journalist Nazlı Ilıcak, in jail since July 29, 2016 over her alleged links to the Gülen movement, will reportedly be denaturalized from her Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) citizenship for allegedly allowing the followers of the Gülen movement on the island to use her residence there, pro-government Sabah daily reported on Monday.
According to the report, Ilıcak’s property in Northern Cyprus, which had been rented 22 years ago, was used by the alleged members of the Gülen movement. Referring to some intelligence reports the newspaper also alleged that some Turkish police officers with alleged links to the Gülen movement and some local police officers held meetings at this residence.
Ilıcak obtained her citizenship in Turkish Cyprus in 1995. “I dined at a restaurant which had previously been a house next to a monastery they called Bellapais in Girne in 1995. A British gay couple had been managing this restaurant named Abbey House and they wanted to hand the restaurant over so that they could leave. I bought here as a house because its price was much cheaper compared to the ones in Turkey. I applied for citizenship as I had residence and I was accepted,” Ilıcak had stated in 2004 about her citizenship process.
A total of 17 journalists, including Ilıcak, are being tried in a case on charges of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order,” “attempting to overthrow the parliament” and “attempting to overthrow the government.” While facing three aggravated life sentences for the charges, they also face an additional prison term of 15 years on charges of “committing crimes on behalf of a terrorist organization without being a member.”
Turkey survived a military coup that killed 249 people on July 15, 2016. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, which denies involvement. However, more than 55,000 people, among them some 170 journalists, have been detained since last year.