A police officer who guards Turkish Parliament committs suicide after dismissal

A police officer working at Turkish Parliament as a security officer committed suicide using his service pistol late on Wednesday in Ankara, shortly after finding out that his name was among the thousands of police officers suspended as part of a post-coup witch hunt targeting faith-based Gülen movement.

The police officer, identified only by the initials H.A., reportedly phoned his relatives before committing suicide, according to information received from police units. He also posted a message on his social media account reading: “I am not a traitor. I have never betrayed my homeland.”

As part of witch-hunt launched against the Gülen movement following a failed coup on July 15, the Turkish government has suspended 9,103 police officers on Wednesday. Early on Wednesday, Turkish prosecutors also issued detention warrants for 4,900 members of the police force due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, with 1,120 of them having been taken into custody in hours. 10,732 police officers have been jailed since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to a statement from Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 2, 2017

According to a striking report released by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) on Mach 22, 2017 with the title of “Suspicious Deaths And Suicides In Turkey” there has been an increase in the number of suicides and suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most of the 54 cases mentioned in the report, (which was later updated with the list of 60 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.

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 despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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.

Soylu said that a total of 113,260 people have been detained as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, while 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention.

April 27, 2017

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