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Turkish Cypriot mufti released

Grand Mufti Dr Talip Atalay (right) with Archbishop Chrysostomos

Turkish Cypriot Mufti Talip Atalay who was arrested four days ago in connection with investigations into the Fethullah Gulen movement, was reportedly released on Tuesday.

According to reports, the mufti, arrested in Diyarbakir, Turkey, was released on Tuesday.

His deputy, Fahrettin Ogdu, who had announced on Monday that Atalay was called to the police headquarters in Mersin for unknown reasons, said on Tuesday that the mufti was released under certain terms.

He said that Atalay had gone to Turkey to visit his father in hospital in Mersin and then went to Diyarbakir where he was arrested in connection with investigations into the Fethullah Gulen movement.

Ogdu, according to daily Kibris, said the reasons behind Atalay’s arrest were a number of accusations against him from the foreign affairs ‘ministry’ in the north and for meetings he had with other religious leaders of the island as part of the interreligious dialogue that runs in parallel with the peace talks at political level.

Ogdu said he doesn’t believe that Atalay is involved in any activities concerning the overthrow of Erdogan. On the contrary, he said, on the night of the coup attempt on July 15 last year, Atalay had called on religious organisations in the north to gather in front of the Turkish Embassy in Nicosia in the north to show their opposition to the act.

Following the failed coup attempt last July against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, thousands of people have been arrested on the suspicion that they are linked with the Fethullah Gulen movement.

Gulen, a Turkish cleric who is in self-exile in the US, is sought by the Turkish government for alleged involvement in last year’s coup.


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