Academic Gülmen and friends detained by police, tortured in detention

Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça

Dismissed with government’s executive decrees academicians and teacher Nuriye Gülmen, Semih Özakça and Acun Karadağ, who have been staging a protest for 120 days for “asking their jobs back” in Ankara’s Yüksel Street, have been detained following making a statement to the press on their plan to go on a hunger strike starting from March 11, 2017

According to a report by bianet.org, activists lawyer Engin Gökoğlu said that the three activists were told there were detention warrants for them and then taken into custody. So, Gülmen and Özakça have already started the hunger strike. Gökoğlu also said that tha detention warrant was “arbitrary”.

“The detention warrant reads ‘(illegal) organization membership and propagandizing for it’, however, we don’t know what organization or what charge [it refers to]. They have been staging protests for 120 days. Normally, detention warrants are issued for those who cannot be reached or do not  comply with the summoning but whereabouts of these people are known.”

Conveying the information that the attorneys visited the three activists on Thursday, lawyer Gökoğlu stated all three were beaten by police in detention. “Acun Karadağ underwent a heart surgery, he has a cardiac pacemaker. He was beaten and in a critical condition. Semih Özakça was handcuffed from behind and taken to a sports hall, which is the supplementary building of the police station. There were around 50 people other than himself. The police told them ‘You’ll bow your head and take off your shoes’, hurting his pride. He was beaten more and his hands and feet were tied when he refused to do as they said.”

Gökoğlu also said that “There is something wrong with academic Nuriye Gülmen’s arm. We don’t know yet whether it is broken or not, but there is a limitation of movement ability. They hadn’t taken her to an orthopedist until we arrived, they told us they would do that after we wrote a minute”.

Academician Nuriye Gülmen was employed at Eskişehir Osmangazi University. After her contract was not renewed, she brought a lawsuit and won. Seven months later, she started to work at Selçuk University. A day after she started her job, she was suspended from her duty based on alleged links with the Gülen movement. She was dismissed on January 6, 2017 via the Statutory Decree No. 679.

Semih Özakça was a classroom teacher at Mazıdağı Cumhuriyet Primary School in Mardin. He was discharged via the Statutory Decree No. 675 over “being linked with terror organizations”.

Acun Karadağ, who is a member of Education Union, was discharged via the Statutory Decree No. 675. He was arrested numerous times due to the protests he staged in front the school where he worked. Karadağ was calling out “I want my students back” during the protests. He continues the protest “I want my job back” with Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça on Yüksel street.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.

A total of 7,316 academics were dismissed, and 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links.

March 10, 2017

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