25 members of anti-government Furkan Foundation face investigation for revealing police mistreatment

A Turkish prosecutor in the southern Turkish province of Adana has launched an investigation into 25 members of the Furkan Foundation, an anti-government religious group, for social media posts revealing police mistreatment during a protest in March 2022, local media reported.

The foundation members were accused by the Adana Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of “targeting security forces involved in the fight against terrorism by revealing their identities.”

The foundation members wanted to protest the arrest of their leader, Alparslan Kuytul, who was put in pretrial detention in connection to the abduction of a businessman in Adana. However, the police intervened with tear gas and beat protestors with batons.

Images on social media showed people sitting in the park with bleeding head wounds and heavily bruised faces.

According to Bilal İpek, a lawyer for foundation members under investigation, the probe is an attempt to cover up the mistreatment by the police.

The Furkan Foundation is known for being critical of the Turkish government and for ardently advocating that religion and politics should not mix.

Kuytul was arrested in 2018 for criticizing Turkey’s military involvement in northern Syria. He publicly opposed the government’s decision to send Turkish soldiers to the northern Syrian city of Afrin, after which he was detained along with 28 other people from the foundation.

They were charged with “abusing their religious power” and “organizing a terrorist organization.” Kuytul was acquitted in 2020, but raids on members’ homes and offices in various cities have repeatedly taken place since then.

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