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Jan 11 2019

Turkish informant says he fabricated stories on Gülen movement to avoid jail

A Turkish military officer, who became an informant after being detained over links to Gülen movement, said that he had fabricated confessions in order to avoid prison, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Thursday. 

Lieutenant Ibrahim Demirtaş was arrested in the eastern province of Erzurum over links to Gülen movement, a religious group that the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.

Since the coup attempt, thousands of Turkish military personnel have been prosecuted over their links to the movement, which Turkey sees as a terrorist organisation. 

Demirtaş and his wife, sociologist Fatma Demirtaş, were among those arrested in Erzurum due to their links to the Gulen movement. Fatma Demirtaş was released due to lack of evidence, while the lieutenant was released in July after accepting to become an informant. The couple were granted a supervised release and therefore had a travel ban. 

As an informant, Demirtaş said that his relation to Gülen movement had started at secondary school. He also said that the religious group had helped him marrying his wife, who had worked at the Ministry of Justice. 

However, Demirtaş went missing after his release and sent two petitions to prosecutors in Erzurum and the Turkish capital of Ankara, saying that his testimonies were false. 

He said that he had fabricated his confessions as he had had medical problems and therefore had wanted to avoid going to jail.

The chief prosecutor’s office issued an arrest warrant for Demirtaş after receiving his petition, and also opened a case into the couple over membership to a terrorist organisation.