Kavurmacı and Çapkın re-arrested; 11 lawyers, 20 teachers detained in Turkey over alleged ties to Gülen movement

Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı

Following an arrest warrant issued by an İstanbul court on Friday İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş’s son-in-law Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı was re-arrested on Saturday and sent to Metris Prison over his alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Former İstanbul police chief Hüseyin Çapkın, who went to İstanbul Police Department together with his lawyer on Friday night and surrendered following an arrest warrant issued by an İstanbul 30th High Criminal Court, was also re-arrested and sent to prison by the same court on Saturday.

Kavurmacı had been arrested as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement. Kavurmacı was detained during a police operation against the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), which was affiliated with the Gülen movement.

He was released by the İstanbul 5th Criminal Court of Peace on May 4, 2017 on the grounds that prison conditions were having a negative effect on the suspect, who was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005. However, the court accepted the indictment against TUSKON regarding 86 suspects on Friday and issued the arrest warrant for Kavurmacı.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu criticized a decision to re-arrest Ömer Faruk Kavurmacı, the son-in-law of İstanbul Mayor Kadir Topbaş, before starting the third day of a “March of Justice” on Saturday “I don’t find the verdict to re-arrest Kavurmacı right. There should be no double standards in the judiciary. He should be released pending trial,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.

Separately, the İstanbul 30th High Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for former İstanbul police chief Hüseyin Çapkın and former Denizli Governor Abdülkadir Demir over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Çapkın went to İstanbul Police Department together with his lawyer on Friday night to surrender.

The 309-page indictment accepted by the court on Firday sought three aggravated life imprisonments for 15 suspects, including Çapkın and former İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Thirteen people have been already been jailed in the same witch hunt probe. The first hearing will be held on Aug. 23 at a court in Silivri Prison.

They had been charged over “violation of the constitution,” “attempt to destroy the Turkish Republic and the Turkish parliament by using physical violence” and “membership to a terrorist organization.”  Çapkın was previously arrested in September 2016 but released two months later.

Meanwhile, at least 11 lawyers were detained as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown in the eastern province of Mardin on Friday. The detainees are accused of having used ByLock, a smartphone application. Also, 20 more teachers were detained in an Adana-based investigation into the Gülen movement. These detainees are accused of using ByLock mobile application. It was reported that the detained teachers include five female teachers.

Also on Saturday, 11 women were detained by police on Turkey’s 10 different provinces including Bayburt, Trabzon, İstanbul, Diyarbakır, Hatay, Mersin, Karaman, Kayseri, Gümüşhane and Batman following Bayburt Chief Prosecutor Office has issued arrest warrants over their alleged links to Gülen movement. It was reported that detained women were accused of using ByLock.

Turkish authorities consider ByLock to be the top communication tool among the followers of the movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

On Friday, 11 women were also detained by Turkish police in an Erzincan-based investigation as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement. It was reported that 11 women were detained in 8 different provinces of Turkey including Ankara, Sivas, Muğla, Hatay, Tokat, Ordu, Şanlıurfa and Burdur.

On the orther hand, Birol Erdem, the top advisor to Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, was released by a Turkish court under judicial supervision on Friday. He had been detained in Ankara earlier this month along with his wife Gülümser Erdem over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Unlike her husband, Gülümser Erdem was arrested by an Ankara court ahead of trial.

Erdem, who was questioned for three days, had been accused of seeking to violate the constitution and being a leader of “an armed terror group.” Earlier reports had said Erdem was detained after other detainees had named him in their testimonies.

A controversial military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 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.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13.

June 17, 2017

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