86-year-old Turkish philanthropist arrested over Gülen links

Eighty-six-year-old Turkish businessman Celal Afşar was arrested on Thursday along with his daughter, son-in-law and two others in Niğde province as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, the tr724 news website reported.

He is known as a philanthropist in his town, with public broadcaster TRT in 2011 depicting his life as an example of dedication to charity. Afşar was accused of providing financial support to a “terrorist organization.” Among the arrestees was also the head of the now-closed Kimse Yok Mu charity organization’s Niğde branch.

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 Recep Tayyip 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 civil servants since July 15. 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.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

Take a second to support SCF on Patreon!