Mustafa Hikmet Kayapalı, 59-year-old theologian and author targeted by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government under the rule of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as part of a post-coup witch hunt campaign against the Gülen movement, died after allegedly falling from the balcony of an apartment’s third floor, as he was allegedly attempting to escape from a police raid in Turkey’s western city of Balıkesir on Wednesday.
Turkish police launched a raid against alleged members of Gülen movement who were allegedly conducting a meeting in a flat in the western province of Balıkesir on Wednesday. As the police raided the apartment, Mustafa Hikmet Kayapalı, 59, allegedly tried to flee the scene from the balcony. However, allegedly he was holding the handgrip, the iron metal broke off, leading to Kayapalı’s fall from the third floor.
Author of four books on religion and family issues, Kayapalı, who was being sought by the police on charges of being a member of Gülen movement died at the scene before he was taken to the hospital.
Kayapalı’s death came as the second suspicious death in a week where victims died in the same way, raising allegations that police may have been deliberately involved in the incident. In a similar and suspicious incident earlier in the week, Gültekin Payat, a 41-year-old teacher with an outstanding arrest warrant issued against him as part of a post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the Gülen movement, died after allegedly falling 10 meters from a balcony, as he was attempting to escape from police officers looking for him.
Denizli police raided a home where Payat had been in hiding for some time. He is accused of having been involved with an association that was closed over alleged affiliation with Gülen movement under one of the post-coup emergency decrees.
Payat allegedly jumped into the balcony of the next apartment after he saw police knocking at his door. When he attempted to leap to a third balcony, the iron bar he was holding was bent down and he fell straight to the ground from the third floor.
According to a striking report released by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) on March 22, 2017 with the title of “Suspicious Deaths And Suicides In Turkey” there has been an increase in the number of suicides and suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most of the 54 cases mentioned in the report, (which was later updated with the list of 64 cases on May 10) authorities concluded these as suicides without any effective, independent investigation. The suspicious death has also taken place beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before the detention.
Turkey survived a failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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.
According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.
May 10, 2017