Brothers convicted over Gülen links not allowed to attend sister’s funeral

Three brothers – İbrahim Emre, Muhammed Emre and Üsame Emre — imprisoned on conviction of alleged links to the Gülen movement, were not allowed to attend the funeral of their younger sister, Sümeyra Emre, who died on April 25 from injuries sustained in a car accident, TR724 reported.

Sümeyra, 36, had been visiting brothers Muhammed and Üsame at Kepsut Prison in Balıkesir shortly before the accident. She spent 15 days in the hospital before she succumbed to her injuries.

Both İbrahim Emre, a former police chief, and Muhammed Emre, a former public servant, were removed from their jobs by emergency decrees issued in the aftermath of an attempted coup in 2016.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

The brothers’ older sister, Ayşe Emre, expressed frustration over the authorities’ refusal to grant them leave for the funeral. “We tried everything, but permission was not granted. We even agreed to cover the travel expenses of İbrahim; yet it remains uncertain if he will be able to attend. The prosecutor’s office denied permission for our other brothers,” she said.

In a video message published on X, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, human rights defender and an MP from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party), pleaded with Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç to allow the Emre brothers to attend their sister’s funeral.

“Please take action in this matter as soon as possible and allow the grieving brothers to attend the funeral,” Gergerlioğlu said.

The Emre family has faced similar restrictions before. Last year, the brothers were not allowed to attend their father’s funeral.

Following the abortive putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

More than 130,000 public servants were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

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