Teacher jailed on Gülen links suffering from vision loss, heart disease

Family members and human rights activists have campaigned on social media for the release of Mustafa Seçkin, a history teacher jailed on accusations of links to the faith-based Gülen movement who is reportedly suffering from almost total vision loss as well as cardiac disease and hypertension.

“My father has lost 90 percent of his vision, and the doctor has said he’ll go totally blind in five years,” said İrem Seçkin, the teacher’s daughter.

Seçkin is suffering from a rare eye condition called macular dystrophy, which causes vision loss.

Incarcerated in the eastern province of Elazığ, he is unable to take proper care of himself in prison or perform even the most basic functions without help from others.

Seçkin has been in pretrial detention since October 2023 and is facing terrorism-related charges due to his work for tutoring centers affiliated with the Gülen movement and sending his children to Gülen-linked private schools.

The social media campaign was organized in anticipation of a hearing in Seçkin’s trial on Thursday. Activists following the case later announced that the court hearing the trial had ruled for the continuation of Seçkin’s pretrial detention.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Gülen, since the 2013 corruption investigations, 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. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

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