8-year-old son of purge victims dies of cancer

Ahmet Burhan Ataç, an 8-year-old whose parents have been prosecuted over alleged links to the Gülen movement, died of cancer early on Thursday, according to Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a rights activist and member of parliament.

“Ahmet left us. He left his mother, his brother and his father, whom he wasn’t able to see enough of. We did everything we could to bring his [imprisoned] father to him. But the prosecutor said he could only release [the father] in the morning. The father missed his son,” Gergerlioğlu tweeted.

Who was Ahmet Burhan Ataç? How did he come to public attention? Why did he die?

Ahmet was an eight-year-old boy who had been suffering for more than a year from osteoid cancer, which eventually spread to his lungs. His parents face prosecution in Turkey for having worked at a dormitory that had links to the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016. The group denies any involvement.

His father, Harun Ataç, has been in pretrial detention since March 2018 on charges of alleged membership in the group. His mother, Zekiye Ataç, had been subject to a travel ban due to a coup-related investigation.


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