Number of detainees who wear ‘Hero’ t-shirts increases to seven in Turkey

The number of people who were detained by Turkish police for they wear T-shirt with “Hero” sign has increased to seven in Turkey, according to a report by BirGün daily on Thursday.

According to BirGün daily’s report, since a coup suspect, Gşkhan Güçlü, of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 appeared before the court in Muğla province as wearing a t-shirt with ‘Hero’ sign, Turkish police have been running after people across the country and randomly detain those who are wearing T-shirts with the same sign.

After the hearing of Gökhan Güçlü in a Muğla court on July 13, when the suspect’s attire caused officials to react, a relative of another coup suspect came to the court in Ankara with the same t-shirt on. Shortly after, it was reported that the production and sale of the ‘Hero t-shirts’ were stopped with a ban.

On Wednesday (July 19), a relative of a suspect was arrested although he testified that ‘he did not know the meaning of the word ‘Hero’.

It was reported that in a week following the incident at the court in Muğla province, 7 people have been taken into custody in 5 different provinces of Turkey.

BirGün reported that, in Bilecik province, a college student was approached by police officers from counter-terrorism unit while he was walking around at a mall with his friends. The young man’s father reacted to it, saying they had nothing to do with the Gülen movement and did not know that these t-shirts were banned. The young man was released after his testimony at the police station.

In Eskişehir province, a teenager and a 24 year old man were detained with the same reason as they were trying to enter a site in Eskişehir’s downtown, where July 15 commemorations were taking place.

On Tuesday (July 18), two college students at Atatürk University of Erzurum were detained by police as they walked out from a supermarket on their school campus. They were released on Wednesday according to reports.

On Wednesday (July 19), a 25 year old young man was also stopped by police while he was walking on the streets of Efeler district in Aydın province with the same t-shirt on. He was reportedly detained and taken to the police department.

The police department in Elazığ province has also released a statement on Wednesday to announce that ‘an individual walking around with a ‘Hero t-shirt’ on has been detained and legal action against him has been taken.’

BirGün daily reported that it is still unknown whether the people detained in Eskişehir, Aydın, and Elazığ privinces have been released or not.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 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.

July 20, 2017

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