4 members of Turkish family killed in traffic accident after visiting jailed relative in Erzurum

Four members of the Aydın family were killed in a traffic accident on Wednesday evening while driving from Turkey’s Erzurum province to their hometown in Giresun after visiting a family member incarcerated in Erzurum Prison, part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch-hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

The arrestee’s mother Ayşe Aydın and his brother İbrahim Aydın, İbrahim’s wife Gülyeter Aydın and 8-year-old son Muhammed Aydın were killed in the accident, according to social media accounts that have been following the suffering of victims of the Turkish government’s persecution led by autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Kevser Aydın Kara, wife of the jailed member of the Aydın family, was also seriously injured in the accident in the vicinity of Küçükgeçit on the road between Erzurum and Giresun’s Aşkale district, reports say.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants since July 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested. On December 13, 2017, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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