Lawyer Taner Kılıç, the founder of the Amnesty International’s Turkey branch, was detained by Turkish police together with 17 lawyers in İzmir over their alleged links with the Gülen movement on Tuesday.
It was reported that İzmir Chief Prosecutor Office has started an investigation in the framework of Turkish government’s post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement and issued detention warrants for 23 lawyers in İzmir. Police could have detained 18 of them on Tuesday.
Turkish government have issued sweeping arrest warrants against more than 1000 lawyers within last 10 months on what is believed to be a part of crackdown on critics and opponents of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government. So far almost 440 lawyers including prominent criminal law attorneys and heads of provincial Bar Associations were formally arrested while many were forced to self-exile to avoid torture and ill treatment in jails. The government also purged 108 academics including famous law professors from law schools of public universities and fired dozens of government lawyers en masse.
What is more, the authorities also ordered the seizure of all assets of lawyers who faced an arrest although they were not convicted of any crime and there was no indictment filed and no trial hearing held yet. The seizure of assets has deprived family members of their livelihood while lawyers are left languishing behind bars in long pre-trial detentions.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that 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.
According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.
June 6, 2017