Jailed media executive’s son kept in custody for 3 days for receiving donation from Gülen followers

Jailed journalist Hidayet Karaca and his son, Sıdkı Karaca

The son of a media executive who has been jailed since 2014 was held in police custody for three days after he was detained in an operation targeting more than 700 people allegedly affiliated with a faith-based group, , the Turkish Minute reported, citing the Kronos news website reported.

Sıdkı Karaca, a 26-year-old lawyer and the son of Hidayet Karaca, the former chief executive of the Samanyolu Media Group, was among the more than 650 people detained in a massive operation targeting alleged followers of the Gülen movement for accepting assistance from other Gülen followers or for distributing donations from Gülen members overseas to the families of people jailed by the Turkish government or purged from their jobs over links to the movement.

The Turkish government has been cracking down on the real and assumed followers of the Gülen movement for more than six years. The government’s crackdown on the movement intensified following a coup attempt in 2016 because it accuses the movement of masterminding the failed coup and terrorism. The Gülen movement strongly denies any involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

Hidayet Karaca was arrested two years before the coup and was sentenced by an İstanbul court to 18 years’ imprisonment over the scenario of a TV series that was broadcast by Samanyolu TV. Karaca was convicted on charges of leading a terrorist organization for his alleged ties to the Gülen movement and for allegedly slandering the al-Qaeda-affiliated radical Islamist group Tahşiyeciler.

The mass detention of so many people for distributing or receiving donations has attracted widespread criticism from politicians and human rights activists from within and without Turkey.

The pro-government Sabah daily targeted Sıdkı Karaca on Sunday, publishing secretly taken photos showing him in a shopping center in İstanbul where he allegedly received money from a Gülen follower.

Sıdkı Karaca was reportedly released from police detention following his interrogation on Friday.

At least 50 of the people detained in the operation last week have been arrested, according to media reports, although the exact number of arrestees is not yet known.

Following the coup attempt, 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.

Victims of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown say they and their families experience severe financial and psychological problems due to what they call hate speech employed by the government and its supporters against them, which prevents them from leading normal lives, finding jobs and supporting their families.

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