Qatar repotedly deports 45 Turkish nationals over alleged links to Gülen movement

Pro-government Sabah daily claimed on Saturday that 45 Turkish nationals were deported from Qatar for having alleged links to the Gülen movement. The daily said two of those 45 people, academic Zekeriya Özşevik and his wife Derya Özşevik, were detained upon their arrival to İstanbul, giving no detail about the whereabouts of the others.

A lecturer at Qatar University’s Department of English Literature and Linguistics, Zekeriya Özşevik was put in pre-trial detention on accusation of membership to a “terrorist organization” while his wife was released on judicial control.

Turkish government labels the Gülen movement as a “terrorist organization” and Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan earlier called on foreign governments to punish the followers of the Gülen movement in their own countries.

This is not the first time a foreign country has detained or deported people over their links to the Gülen movement as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch-hunt targeted the alleged members of the movement. In May Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Myanmar handed over academics, businessmen and school principals upon the Turkish government’s request despite the fact that some of those victims already had refugee status with the UN.

Turkey has sided with its long-time ally Qatar since the Gulf country broke away with major Arab countries on June 5, 2016.

Turkey survived a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President 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 participants of the Gülen movement in jails.

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. (SCF with June 24, 2017

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