Former teacher arrested to serve sentence for Gülen links after rescue from earthquake rubble

A former public servant who went into hiding after receiving a sentence of more than six years in prison for links to the Gülen movement was arrested after being rescued from the rubble of a building in southeastern Turkey, the Tr724 news website reported.

M.A., a former teacher, was saved by rescuers from the rubble of her building after massive earthquakes hit Turkey in early February. She was badly injured and taken to the closest hospital, where M.A. gave her identity number to the healthcare providers. When they logged her number into the system, the hospital discovered an outstanding arrest warrant for M.A.

Police officers detained M.A. shortly after doctors tended to her injuries, despite outrage from the former teacher’s relatives and other earthquake victims in the hospital. M.A. was sent to prison to serve her sentence shortly after she was taken into custody.

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 an abortive putsch that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The government’s crackdown on the movement has continued amid the devastation caused by twin earthquakes in southeastern Turkey, claiming the lives of more than 44,000 people.

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