The trial of a US based Muslim cleric has opened in Istanbul.
Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is one of 69 accused of attempting to overthrow the government.
Also in the dock are dozens of former police officers and members of the judiciary who launched corruption allegations against the president’s inner circle including his son Bilal.
Supporters of Gulen claim the charges are trumped up.
Nurullah Albayrak is the lawyer for Fethullah Gulen:
“The only concrete evidence presented in court regarding the charges is the investigation files into a corruption case of December 2013. There is nothing regarding force or violence. The weapons presented to prove the formation of a terrorist group belonged to the police.’‘
Fethullah Gulen, who still wields influence in Turkey, was not present in court because Washington refused an extradition request from Ankara.
Euronews correspondent Bora Bayraktar is in Istanbul.
“There was a heavy security presence outside the court, but members of the Gulen movement failed to show up. So the trial in which the president is a complainant got off to an understated start.’‘