Jailed Brigadier Arslan dies at a military hospital in Ankara

Jailed brigadier general Yavuz Ekrem Arslan, who was former commander of Manisa 1st Infantry Private Training Brigade, has lost his life in Gülhane Military Hospital (GATA), where he has been treated, on Monday.

Brigadier Arslan was detained in wake of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. He was later arrested by a court and put behind the bars. He was transferred to GATA following he has been sick after staying 259 days in the prison. He received 219-day treatment for labored breathing and digestive disorders at GATA.

Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) deputy Tur Yıldız Biçer confirmed Arslan’s death on Nov. 5 by tweeting: “He passed away even before the indictment is prepared during 478 days he spend in prison and GATA.”

In a press statement on July 31, 2016, Arslan’s son Bilal Can said his father is among those who resisted the coup order back on July 15. “My father took his annual leave on July 2, we left Manisa to İzmir on July 6 on a family vacation. We were told about the ‘so-called coup’ only at 22:38 p.m. the same night and started the follow up the happenings on TV. …He returned to his brigade at 01:00 a.m. in the morning and defied the coup order as a nonsense,” Bilal Can earlier said.

The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has reported in one of its studies titled “Suspicious Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most cases, authorities concluded these as suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

The suspicious death has also taken place beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before the detention. SCF has compiled 92 cases of suspicious death and suicides in Turkey in a list as of November 2, 2017 in a searchable database format.

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 Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah 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 Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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