Family-wide persecution: Turkish gov’t keeps 7 members of Demir Family in prison over alleged Gülen links

A Turkish building contractor, who live in Fethiye district of Muğla province and was denaturalized as part of the government’s post-coup witch hunt of the alleged members of the Gülen movement, has been kept in prison with his family members including his wife, daughter, son and two bridegrooms, according to a report by Aktif Haber news portal.

Having hyper-tension and diabetes, father Mevlüt Demir (54), who was hiding from the security officers for about two years. He was eventually detained and put behind the bars on January 23, 2018. Mevlüt Demir has been one of the 130 people who have been denaturalized from the citizenship with a government decree. Therefore, even though having severe health issues, he could not even go to the doctor.

Since all members of the family have been kept in prison, children are away from their parents and they have severe illnesses.

“He loved his homeland so much that had denaturalized him, but he always prayed Allah. Then, for the rest of his life everything turned upside down since he lost all of his capital possession. Again, patiently, he said Allah is great,” told a relative of Mevlüt Demir.

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.

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, 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.”

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