Ankara – As the trials of the suspects linked to the failed July 2016 coup, Turkish security forces arrested on Saturday Birol Erdem, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim’s chief adviser and a former senior justice ministry official, on charges of belonging to the movement of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen has been blamed for the coup.
Birol Erdem, a former senior justice ministry official, was taken into custody in Ankara along with his wife Gulumser Erdem, Anadolu news agency said.
They had previously been summoned for questioning as part of the investigation in the coup.
Republican People’s Party chief Kemal Kılıcdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party chairman Devlet Bahceli announced last week that Gulen followers have infiltrated the ruling Justice and Development Party.
They said that some government officials also support the exiled cleric.
Yildirim condemned these claims however, saying that there are no Gulen supporters in the government or the political field.
Commenting on the trials of the coup suspects, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said that they are taking place according to the law.
He said in a televised interview on Friday that the presidency is monitoring the trials that had kicked off only days ago in Ankara and Istanbul.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s permanent ambassador to the European Union Fark Kaymakci reiterated accusations that the Gulen movement was linked to the failed coup.
He said that the movement is the greatest danger Ankara is facing because it has been infiltrating state institutions for several years.
He also criticized the stances of some European countries on the coup, saying in an interview: “We have unfortunately not heard many statements of solidarity from our western friends in wake of the coup.”
“We have strived to understand this. This traitorous attempt has cast a dark shadow on Turkish-European ties,” Kaymakci stated.