Istanbul, September 6, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
A former deputy mayor from Gebze, a district in Kocaeli province bordering Istanbul, was detained over his suspected links to the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) early on Sept. 5. Orhan Sipahioğlu was detained at his house in Istanbul’s Beykoz district.
Sipahioğlu was allegedly the “imam” of the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen in the Naval Forces and was detained in the probe launched by the Gebze Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office after the July 15 failed coup attempt.
Sipahioğlu hit the headlines after former Gülenist-turned-confessor and writer Nurettin Veren named him as an “imam” during a live TV program. Sipahioğlu was brought to police headquarters after being detained.
“Imam,” which traditionally refers to a religious public worker, is a term used by the Gülenist organization to mark local leadership.
Once a lieutenant commander, Sipahioğlu was sacked from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) with a decision from the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) over allegations of him being “reactionary.”
He then worked in the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and started his duty as deputy mayor in Gebze Municipality in 2011. He retired in September 2015. Adnan Köşker, the Gebze mayor from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), gave a painting to Sipahioğlu when the latter retired, Doğan News Agency reported.