30 students detained over alleged Gulen links denied right to consult a lawyer: report

Thirty university students detained by Turkish police over alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement entered the fourth day of detention on Thursday without being allowed to contact their families or a lawyer, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Bold Medya news website.

According to a report by Sevinç Özarslan, the students, all of them women, were taken to the western city of Uşak after police detained them in simultaneous raids in nearby cities and are being held in custody there.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, a religious group inspired by US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, of masterminding an abortive putsch on July 15, 2016 and labels it a terrorist organization. The movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity. Following the allegations, Gülen called on the Turkish government to allow for an international investigation.

Parents of the students have reportedly camped outside the police station and are waiting to speak with their daughters. Lawyers are also present, but they have not been allowed to meet with the detainees.

“I am informed that [police] have not allowed the students to contact a lawyer for three days. They have encroached on all kinds of freedoms, and now they are usurping the right to a defense,” Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, an MP from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a rights advocate, said on Twitter.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. Over 540,000 people were detained on terrorism-related charges, more than 80,000 were arrested or imprisoned and over 150,000 public servants were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership to or relationship with “terrorist organizations.” The purge mainly targeted people who were allegedly affiliated with the Gülen movement but included other people from a wide variety of backgrounds as well.

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