Turkey sentences 52 teachers to years of jail terms over alleged Gülen links

A Turkish court gives prison sentences to 52 teachers between 3 years and 10.5 years in Eskisehir porvince of Turkey on Thursday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Four 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.

Meanwhile, 2 people, identified as S.G. and O.A., have been rounded up for having alleged links to the Gülen movement in Lefkoşa, the capital city of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC). While O.A. is accused of having books and brochures affiliated with the movement at his/her home, S.G. reportedly downloaded ByLock mobilephone messaging application on his computer.

Turkish authorities consider ByLock to be the top communication tool among the alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for allegedly using ByLock since a failed and controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Critics say the use of a technological application is not a criminal activity nor is it evidence of membership in a terrorist organization.

A letter sent by Turkey’s Security Directorate General to all police units in the country last October told police officers to obtain confessions from individuals who had been detained due to their use of ByLock because mere use of the application is not considered a crime.

Turkey survived a military 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 turkeypurge.com) June 24, 2017



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