Turkey Purge: 1,895 people detained, 992 people jailed in past 15 days over coup charges

Turkish government has continued its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement and the citizens from Turkey’s Kurdish minority as Turkish police has detained at least 1,895 people and Turkish courts have arrested at least 992 people across Turkey between June 15, 2017 and July 1, 2017, according to the data compiled by turkeypurge.com on Sunday.

A huge cleansing of Turkey’s state and other institutions is continuing as people from all walks of life find themselves being hunted down and taken into custody.

On June 15, Turkish actor Barış Atay was detained in Dalyan district of Muğla due to an outstanding warrant for his detention. Atay, a leftist activist and actor, is known for his critical stance against the Turkish government and Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Also on the same day, a Turkish prosecutor issued detention warrants for a total of 101 teachers and principals in İstanbul province as part of an investigation into the alleged followers of Gülen movement.

Akın İpek

Moreover, an indictment prepared by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office as a result of an investigation into Koza-İpek Holding sought a jail sentence of 77 years for businessman Akın İpek due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement.

On June 16, Altan Tan, a deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was given a suspended sentence of 24 months for “inciting hatred and hostility among the people. The 4th Penal Court of First Instance in Şanlıurfa province based its ruling on a speech delivered by Tan during a spring festival gathering in Şanlıurfa on March 21, 2012.

Also on June 16, the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 78 senior executives of Bank Asya, which was firts confiscated by the Turkish government and then closed by the government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 due to its links to the Gülen movement.

Moreover, at least 11 lawyers were detained as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown in the eastern province of Mardin. The detainees are accused of having used ByLock, a smartphone application that Turkish prosecutors claim to be the top communication tool among the alleged foolowers of the Gülen movement.

Hüseyin Çapkın

On June 17, former İstanbul Police Chief Hüseyin Çapkın surrendered himself to police after a court issued arrest warrant against him as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement. Çapkın, who served as İstanbul chief of police between 2009 and 2013, was detained in the western province of İzmir on Aug. 31, 2016 as part of an investigation launched by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the attempted coup. He was released in November. The indictment seeks three consecutive life sentences for Çapkın along with former İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, who are charged with “violating the Constitution, membership in a terrorist organization and attempting to abolish the government of the Republic of Turkey and the Parliament through violence.”

On the same day, a total of 26 people were detained in Diyarbakır province as part of operations against the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that encompasses the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Moreover, Hasan Günay, a teacher at the now-defunct İzmir-based Yamanlar College was given 11-year jail sentence over his alleged links to the Gülen movement. During his first appearance before the court since he was detained on Sept 12, 2016, Günay was accused of membership to a “terrorist organization.” Among the evidences against him in the indictment are his employment at Yamanlar College, his alleged use of ByLock mobilephone application, his payroll account at Bank Asya and the fact that he sent his children to the schools allegedly linked with the Gülen movement.

Zehra Elbir, a former court clerk who was earlier dismissed from her job in the government’s post-coup purge of state institutions, was detained only 40 days after she gave birth to her second child during a visit to her husband in prison on June 17. Eril Elbir, her husband and a former police officer who was also dismissed over his alleged links to the Gülen movement, has been under arrest for 9 months.

On June 17, twenty teachers were also detained in an Adana-based investigation into the Gülen movement. The detainees are accused of using ByLock mobilephone messaging application.

Konakçı family

On June 18, Yeniçağ columnist Ahmet Takan reported that Özlem Konakçı, the wife of former bomb disposal expert Bilal Konakçı, was detained over her alleged links to the Gülen movement. Bilal Konakçı was retired from his position at İzmir Police Department after he lost his right hand and both eyes while trying to dispose of a bomb in 2009.

Also on the same day, Turkeypurge.com reported that Fatih Altınay, owner of now-closed Merzifon Ottoman Kitchen Restaurant and famed Topuz Kebab, has been kept at an Amasya prison for almost 10 months over his alleged links to the Gülen movement. According to several local media outlets based in Merzifon, Altınay was arrested in early August 2016 on charges of membership in a “terrorist organization.” He is the patent owner of “Topuz Kebab”, a type of Turkish kebab, made of meat and cooked on a mace, a war tool used since ancient ages. The Topuz Kebab is said to have been invented by Ottoman Kitchen cooks inspired by medieval Turkish soldiers who pierced meat with their swords and grilled it over an open flame.

Tuba Kaya

On June 18, Tuba Kaya, a 27-year-old reporter from the now-closed Zaman daily, was arrested on Sept. 19 after her ex-husband lodged a complaint claiming that she was a member of Turkey’s Gülen group. Kronos.news news portal published a letter sent by Kaya to Sevinç Özarslan, one of the portal’s reporters, in which she said she is allowed to see her daughter only once in a month.

On June 18, Sözcu columnist Emin Çölaşan revealed that Fatma Çetin, an Erzurum teacher who was earlier dismissed from public school as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown against the Gülen movement, has been under arrest along with her premature baby.

Moroever, another post-coup victim was forced into a black van in broad daylight in Turkey’s capital province of Ankara on June 18, according to a family member. Cemil Koçak, an engineer who was dismissed from a government position over his alleged links to the Gülen movement, was followed by four cars (a black and a white Ford Focus, a VW Transporter van and a Fiat Doblo) at around 5.30 pm near his home in Ankara’s Altındag district on June 15, a Twitter account claiming to be belonged to his wife said. One of those cars hit Koçak’s own car to stop him in the middle of the day and he was forced into the black van just before the eyes of his 8-year-old son, the Twitter account said. The abduction took place in a blind spot not covered by any of the four CCTV cameras around, according to the account. It is unknown whether the footages were provided by police or not.

On June 19, four people were detained in the Keşan district of Edirne province while attempting to flee to Greece in a bid to escape a post-coup witch-hunt currently ongoing in Turkey.

On June 20, Turkey’s Interior Ministry said in a written statement a total of 930 people were detained across Turkey as part of investigations into the Gülen movement between June 12-19. The ministry also said another 49 were detained on charges of terrorist propaganda on social media.

On the same day, at least 13 people were detained as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement followers in Kahramanmaras.

Moreover, Murat Taşhan, a Çorum judge who sent 517 people from 21 different occupations to prison over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, was detained as part of a separate investigation into the movement. Taşhan was taken into custody along with his 5 colleagues in Samsun province where they had come for a judicial panel discussion. While he and his two other colleagues were released on judicial control, the remaining three were put in pre-trial arrest.

Also on June 20, an indictment drafted by an İstanbul prosecutor sought a jail sentence of four years, eight months for journalist Levent Gültekin, a columnist for the Diken news website, on charges of insulting President Erdoğan. Gültekin is accused of insulting Erdoğan in comments he made on Medyascope, an online TV station, on Dec.12, 2016.

On June 21, Alper Ertürk, an Aydın-based teacher who reported himself to a prosecutor for his affiliation to the Gülen movement, was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison. Ertürk said in a petition to the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office, dated Dec 18, 2014, “I have been involved in Hizmet movement which is also called as camia or cemaat for 20 years. If the camia is a [terror] organization, if watching Samanyolu TV channel is a crime, I am reporting myself. I kindly request you to take necessary action.”

On June 22, the ruling AKP’s former deputy Şükrü Önder was detained as part of an investigation into the Gülen Movement. Police detained Önder in Yalova province.

At least 21 people were detained as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement followers in Zonguldak province on June 22. Police carried out operations to detain the suspects in Kozlu, Kilimli and Ereğli districts. Detainees included 10 females, among them several housewives and university students.

Also on June 22, six academics including a rector were detained at Namık Kemal University in Tekirdağ due to alleged links to the Gülen movement.

On June 23, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy provincial chairman of Batman province Hüseyin Yaşar was handed down a suspended prison sentence of 11 months, 20 days on charges of insulting President Erdoğan.

Hatice Avan

Hatice Avan was detained on June 23 just hours after giving birth to a baby in the western province of Denizli over alleged links to the Gülen movement. Avan, who used to work at a student dormitory affiliated with the Gülen movement until three years ago, was taken to the prosecutor’s office although her doctor warned that she had just had surgery and was suffering from poor health. Police officers wanted to handcuff Avan in her hospital room, but upon a request from her family they instead locked her in the room with her baby before detaining her.

On June 23, a total of 52 teachers were given varying jails sentences of between 3 years and 10.5 years in Eskisehir. Accused of having links to the Gülen movement, 4 teachers received 10.5 years, 19 teachers got 9 years, 14 of them were sentenced to 7.5 years and the remaining 15 were given 3 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison.

An İstanbul court ruled for a continuation of the pretrial detention of journalists including Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, who are being held as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement on June 23.

On June 24, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 56 lawyers as part of an investigation targeting people linked to the Gülen movement.

On the same day, pro-government Sabah daily claimed that 45 Turkish nationals were deported from Qatar for having alleged links to the Gülen movement.

On June 25, at least 35 LGBT activists were detained for attempting to hold a pride march in İstanbul’s famed Taksim square to mark one of the largest organized gay festivals in Turkey. Turkish media outlets and several pro-LGBT twitter accounts reported that police fired plastic bullets at a group of around 40 activists and heavy police presence stopped people from entering İstiklal Avenue, where the rally was scheduled to start.

On June 27, a Turkish daily reported that an extensive investigation is ongoing within the Turkish military targeting thousands of soldiers over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. According to HaberTürk’s report, in addition to 9,000 military officers already dismissed from the Turkish armed forces, “thousands of more staff” might be purged as part of investigations that were launched following the failed coup on July 15, 2016.

On the same day, Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said that at least 102,000 alleged Gülen followers had used ByLock, a mobile application claimed to be the once-top communication tool among Gülen sympathizers.

Cumhuriyet daily reported on June 27 that a total of 1,080 people were convicted of insulting President Erdoğan in 2016, according to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry. Data from the Justice Ministry showed that 4,936 cases were launched against people on charges of insult in 2016. The report indicated that 4,750 people over the age of 18, 36 foreign nationals and two legal entities were accused of insult, leading to the conviction of 1,080 people on insult charges, of whom 867 received suspended sentences. A total of 679 people were acquitted.

On June 29, a teacher, identified with his/her initials M.P., was detained while on a visit to his/her relatives in Tatar village in Sivas province on the very first day of the Muslim festival Eid al-Fitr.

42-year-old Özen Alkan was detained while she was visiting her husband, already under arrest over his alleged links to the Gülen movement on the same day. Also, at least 30 people were detained as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement followers in Hatay.

On June 30, thirty people, including dismissed policemen, military officers, court clerks and Hatay Metropolitan Municipality staff, were detained for their alleged use of a smart phone application called ByLock.

Jiyar Gol

On June 30, Jiyar Gol, BBC World Bilingual correspondent and filmmaker, tweeted that he was detained by police at İstanbul’s Atatürk Airport and then deported because of his reports on Turkey. According to the tweets posted by Gol, he was kept under custody for five hours.

On June 30, twelve people including people from İzmir’s Ege University were detained as part of an investigation against the Gülen movement.

On June 30, at least 30 people including housewives and former public servants who were dismissed from their jobs over links to the Gülen movement.

On June 30, 14 people including journalist Hakan Gülseven detained for alleged terrorist propaganda and allegedly insulting President Erdogan on social media. The suspects taken under custody as part of an İzmir-based operation with Gülseven rounded up in the neighboring province of Balıkesir.

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 Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip 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.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. 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 turkeypurge.com) July 2, 2017

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