Inmate convicted of Gülen links not allowed to attend funerals of wife, children who died in quakes

Ebubekir Ertuğrul, a prisoner convicted of alleged links to the Gülen movement, was not allowed to attend the funerals of his wife and two children, who died in devastating earthquakes in southern Turkey on February 6, the Bold Medya news website reported.

His wife, Fatmanur Ertuğrul (38), was found under their collapsed house three days after the earthquakes with the dead bodies of their children Mahir (12) and Bahar (6) hugging each other in Adıyaman, one of the provinces in southern Turkey most affected by the earthquakes.

Ertuğrul, who is currently incarcerated in Sincan Prison in Ankara, asked for permission to attend their funerals, but the request was denied by the prison administration due to “security concerns.”

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. Erdoğan 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.

Turkey’s most powerful earthquake in almost 100 years struck near the city of Gaziantep, which is home to around 2 million people and on the border with Syria, on February 6, killing more than 43,500 people in Turkey and neighboring Syria as of Tuesday.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which hit as people were still sleeping, was followed by dozens of aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude temblor that jolted the region in the middle of search and rescue operations the same day.

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