Turkish authorities have found the body of Aslı Doğan, a Turkish woman who went missing after a refugee boat carrying eight people capsized in the river that marks the border of Turkey and Greece on Feb. 13, 2018.
Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government against the alleged members of the Gülen movement in the wake of a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
In a bid to escape the post-coup crackdown, on the night of Feb. 13, Doğan and seven other Gülen movement supporters were trying to cross the Maritsa/Evros River in a rubber dinghy. However, three of them reportedly drowned when their boat capsized in the middle of the river, while Doğan and two others went missing. Only one of them made it to Greece.
Many have tried to escape Turkey by illegal means as the government has cancelled thousands of passports. In November 2017 Hüseyin Maden, a 40-year-old Kastamonu teacher, dismissed in the aftermath of the failed coup, drowned along with his wife and three children while seeking to escape to the Greek island of Lesvos.
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 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 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, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said 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 turkey purge.com)