In Turkey Govt frees PM advisor detained over Gulen links

Birol Erdem, a former senior justice ministry official, was released under judicial supervision which means he should still face trial, a date for which has yet to be set.

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim play

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim

(AFP)
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Turkish authorities on Saturday freed the top advisor to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim detained on suspicion of links to the movement of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen blamed for last year's failed coup, state media reported.

Birol Erdem, a former senior justice ministry official, was released under judicial supervision which means he should still face trial, a date for which has yet to be set.

He had been taken into custody in Ankara earlier this month along with his wife Gulumser Erdem.

Unlike her husband, she was, however, placed under arrest by an Ankara court ahead of trial, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Erdem, who was questioned for three days, had been accused of seeking to violate the constitution and being a leader of "an armed terror group".

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to wipe out Gulen's influence in Turkey after the failed July 15 coup seeking to oust him from power. Gulen denies any involvement in the coup.

A state of emergency declared days after the coup has since seen about 50,000 people arrested and over 100,000 lose their jobs, the biggest purge in the country's modern history.

But there has been criticism the purge has touched few at the heart of power and Erdem was one of very few top civilian officials to have been detained.

Reports at the time said Erdem was detained after other suspects had named him in their testimonies.

In a separate development, the son-in-law of Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbas, Omer Faruk Kavurmaci, was detained again by police on suspicion of business links to Gulen.

Kavurmaci had been detained in October but was released in May on health grounds as he suffers from epilepsy. This had sparked angry claims he had benefited from nepotistic and preferential treatment.

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