A denaturalization process for U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, two lawmakers of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and 127 others has officially come into effect, according to a notice by the Interior Ministry published in the Official Gazette on June 5.
The ministry’s notice stated that a total of 130 people abroad, who had been probed over terror charges and crimes against the constitutional order, will be denaturalized unless they return and apply to the relevant institutions in the country within a three-month period starting from June 5.
Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, is accused of masterminding the failed July 2016 coup attempt and is in 91st place in the list.
Ankara has accused the Fetullahist Terror Organization (FETO) of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
According to state-run Anadolu Agency, the list also included Osman Hilmi Özdil, the alleged “police imam” of the Gülen network codenamed Kozanlı Ömer, and he is reported to be in Thailand. An extradition request had previously been filed on him.
Separately, HDP Şırnak deputy Faysal Sarıyıldız and Van deputy Fatma Hezer Öztürk were also named on the list alongside the party’s former Van deputy Özdal Üçer.
The lawmakers are accused of “providing arms to a terror organization” and “engaging in terror organization propaganda,” with an arrest warrant already issued for them. Parliament is also reviewing dossiers to strip their parliamentary status due to absence.
Some 10 lawmakers from the HDP, including its co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were arrested on Nov. 4, 2016 and are currently in jail, facing hundreds of years inside for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
According to Article 29/2 of the Turkish Citizenship Law, citizens who are abroad and probed over aforementioned charges are reported to the Interior Ministry by the prosecutor or the court to strip them of citizenship within a month. The ministry then publishes the notice and they are ultimately denaturalized unless they return within three months upon the request of the ministry and the cabinet decision.
The 11th criminal court in the southern province of Adana made an official application to the Justice Ministry to withdraw Gülen’s citizenship on May 26.