Bekir Görmez, who has lost both his wife and son since he has been in prison, was arrested in 2016 for a tweet he did not post, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a prominent human rights activist and lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has revealed.
Gergerlioğlu said on Twitter that Görmez, who was working at Mevlana University at the time, was arrested for a tweet critical of the government that was posted by the university’s account. According to Gergerlioğlu, Görmez was not the one who posted the tweet.
Fatma Görmez büyük dramlar yaşayarak öldü. Ailenin dramı bitmedi, Bekir Görmez halen cezaevinde. Davası Yargıtay'da, suçlama tweet atmak ama tweeti de kendisi atmamış. Üniversite hesabından atılan tweet üstüne yıkılmış.
En azından temyizden bu yanlışlık dönse, vebal büyümese
— Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu (@gergerliogluof) January 14, 2021
Mevlana University in central Turkey’s Konya province was one of 15 universities shut down by the Turkish government without any due process after an abortive putsch on July 15, 2016 due to alleged links to the Gülen movement.
Görmez was arrested immediately after the coup attempt for alleged membership in the Gülen movement and has been in prison ever since.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following the coup attempt that he accused Gülen of masterminding.
Görmez’s son, Berk, succumbed to cancer in January 2018, and his father was only able to attend the funeral in handcuffs, surrounded by gendarmes. Images from the funeral were widely circulated on social media and caused an outcry from rights activists.
His wife, Fatma, died last week after suffering from multiple health problems and dropping to 29 kilos. She was in intensive care in the final days of her life. Görmez was unable to attend the funeral because his wife was buried in a haste due, supposedly to COVID-19 regulations. Fatma Görmez’s dying wish was to see her husband one last time.
According to a statement from the Turkish interior minister, a total of 292,000 people have been detained while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. Human Rights Watch says people alleged to have links with the Gülen movement is the largest group targeted by Erdoğan.