Sociologist Uğur Kömeçoğlu taken under custody in Turkey’s post-coup witch hunt

Sociologist Uğur Kömeçoğlu

Uğur Kömeçoğlu, an associate professor at the sociology department of the government-closed Süleyman Şah University, has joined the ranks of intellectuals imprisoned in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

Political scientist Umut Özkırımlı announced on his Twitter account that Kömeçoğlu was taken under custody a week ago.

Author of several articles and books on public space, social movements, gender studies, Islamic identities, modernity and Turkey’s Kurdish issue, Kömeçoğlu wrote Op-Ed articles for Zaman daily until it was closed down by the government over links to the Gülen movement. He also gave lectures at the İstanbul-based Bilgi University’s Sociology Department.

According to a report by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), over 4,800 academics were dismissed from 112 universities across the country through decrees issued during the state of emergency following a failed coup on July 15, 2016. However, a compilation of Turkey Purge shows the number of dismissed academics in Turkey following the coup attempt is over  8,270.

Meanwhile, a detention warrant was reportedly issued for 60-year-old construction worker, named H.S., after police failed to locate his two children, wanted for their alleged use of ByLock mobile application.

According to Aktif Haber online news portal, H.S.’s son and daughter, both teachers by profession, along with their spouses were caught up in Turkey’s post-coup dragnet as they are accused by an Ankara prosecutor of having used ByLock, connecting to an Internet network registered on their father’s name. While police conducted a search on H.S.’s house, Ankara-based man is now wanted over Gülen links.

ByLock is a controversial mobile app that Turkish authorities claim to be the top communication tool among the alleged followers of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

Critics often blast the government for a massive purge it is carrying out violating the principle of individual criminal responsibility, let alone the question marks raised over the government narrative that the movement was involved in the coup attempt. (SCF with May 16, 2017

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