29-year-old teacher with MS detained for the second time on Gülen charges

Teacher Meryem Karateke, a 29-year-old multiple sclerosis (MS) patient who was previously detained for alleged membership in the Gülen movement, was detained again on Tuesday in Turkey’s western Manisa province, Bold Medya reported.

Karateke was taken into custody along with other women and students for alleged membership in the movement, part of an investigation launched on Monday by the Manisa Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Due to a confidentiality order on her file, Karateke is not currently allowed to see her lawyer, nor did authorities allow her to take her medications and belongings with her when she was detained.

Karateke’s older sister said: “My sister was diagnosed in 2013, and since then her illness has worsened. Her illness was triggered when she was first detained because of stress. At that time they allowed her to take her medication, but this time they didn’t. We are worried about my sister’s condition.”

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said, in an attempt to draw attention to Karateke’s situation: “This is a classic Turkish story now, but we will never get used to it! Karateke was not allowed to see her lawyer because her file is confidential. She has MS. She was not even allowed to bring extra clothes when she was detained. The police ransacked the house, even searching her underwear and scattering it everywhere.”

 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, of masterminding.

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