Süleyman Mutlu, the mayor of the Bucak Municipality in the southern province of Burdur, who is from the Justice and Development Party (AKP), was arrested on Tuesday over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, while his wife was released on probation as part of the same investigation.
Police teams detained Mutlu at the municipal building in Bucak, and his wife Mine was detained at the couple’s home on Monday.
The mayor was arrested by a court after his interrogation by a prosecutor, while the prosecutor released Mine Mutlu on probation.
As he was being taken to Burdur Prison, Mutlu told those waiting for him outside the police station: “I performed my job with honor. I was also in the streets after July 15 [referring to people protesting a failed coup attempt]. I fought against terrorism until the very end. … But I have seen that there are some traitors among us. I will not bow to them. … This country has a valuable party in the AKP. We will stand up for this valuable organization together.”
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
More than 110,000 people have been purged from state bodies, 82,000 detained and 35,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors, housewives and even a comedian.
Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.