Dismissed Turkish police officer dies of heart attack in German refugee camp

Ali Ünlü, a 42-year-old former police officer who was earlier dismissed from his job as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown, died of heart attack in a refugee camp in Stuttgart, according to media and people with knowledge of the incident.

Ünlü, one of over 150,000 people who have lost their jobs over alleged ties to the Gülen movement, escaped a further crackdown in Turkey to Germany, Aktif Haber online news portal said Tuesday.

Several Twitter accounts claimed that Ünlü ended up in a refugee camp in Stuttgart where he later passed away following a heart attack.

Ünlü was buried in his hometown of Kaymaklı district of Turkey’s Niğde province. Relatives covered his coffin with a Turkish flag and police uniforms.

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 Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, 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.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “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 turkeypurge.com)

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