Academic arrested by Turkish gov’t over alleged Gülen links denied prescribed medication for 11 months

İbrahim Yakut, an associate professor who was arrested in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016 due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement, has not been given his medications for the 11 months he has spent in jail, the aktifhaber news website reported on Tuesday.

Yakut, a computer engineer, was removed from his post at the computer sciences department of Anadolu University by a government decree and was subsequently arrested and sent to Silivri Prison in İstanbul.

Yakut was suffering from bipolar disorder at the time of his arrest, and the lack of his prescribed medication has reportedly caused his condition to worsen, leading to fears that he might try to commit suicide in prison.

The torture, ill-treatment, abusive, inhuman and degrading treatment of people who are deprived of their liberties in Turkey’s detention centers and prisons have become a norm rather than an exception under increased nationalistic euphoria and religious zealotry in the country in wake of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

In a report titled “Tortured to Death”, SCF investigators exposed on Nov. 21, 2017 the case of 42-year-old history teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu, who died after enduring 13 days of torture and abuse in police detention in İstanbul.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported in one of its studies titled “Suspicious Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most cases, authorities concluded these as suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

Suspicious deaths have also taken place beyond prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before their detention. SCF has compiled 107 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list as of February 27, 2018 in a searchable database format.

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 autocratic Turkish 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 other civil servants since July 15, 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. On December 13 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 Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2017. “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.” (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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