HDP deputy says students detained for Gülen links mistreated at Istanbul police headquarters

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy and human rights activist Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu on Saturday said on Twitter that 41 students who were detained at Istanbul police headquarters were subject to mistreatment.

The students, who were detained for alleged links to the Gülen movement on the night of March 3, were not allowed to use the toilet and were forced to relieve themselves in plastic bottles. In the first 24 hours of their detention the students were not allowed to see their lawyers.

The students’ lawyer, Çiğdem Koç, tweeted that the prosecutor had interrogated the students without a lawyer.

 

Gergerlioğlu added that although the students were not subject to any physical harm, they were intimidated during interrogation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish 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 a 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.

After the abortive putsch, ill-treatment and torture became widespread and systematic in Turkish detention centers. Lack of condemnation from higher officials and a readiness to cover up allegations rather than investigate them have resulted in widespread impunity for the security forces.

According to a statement by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, as of November 15, 2021 a total of 319,587 people had been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt.

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