Former judge, dismissed after 2016 coup attempt, dies of cancer

Abdurrahman Sakar, a former judge who was summarily dismissed from his job by a government decree in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, died of cancer on Saturday, the Tr724 news website reported.

Sakar, 42, had fallen seriously ill shortly after he was dismissed and was later diagnosed with testicular cancer. He was undergoing treatment at a hospital in southeastern Diyarbakır province.

Sakar was accused of alleged links to the Gülen movement and sent to prison for six months in 2016. Although he was acquitted of all charges, he was not reinstated to his job.

His plight was shared on Twitter by Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu two years ago. Gergerlioğlu had demanded justice for Sakar, emphasizing that he had not been reinstated despite being acquitted.

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. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following the abortive putsch on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding.

Following the failed coup, 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, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces 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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