Turkey to seek INTERPOL Red Notice for teacher over social media commentary, Gülen links

Turkey’s justice ministry has asked prosecutors to prepare INTERPOL Red Notice request documentation for a former public school teacher sought over a social media post and conviction of links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the Kronos news website reported on Tuesday.

In a leaked memo, an official at the ministry’s directorate general for foreign relations said the defendant is believed to be based in the Netherlands, asking local prosecutors in Manisa to draft extradition papers as well as a Red Notice request form.

The teacher, identified only by the initials H.İ.B., is accused of fomenting hatred and enmity among the public in a post published on X, formerly known as Twitter, and was previously sentenced to six years, three months in prison on conviction of links to the Gülen movement.

The tweet contained commentary about a group of former police officers who were dismissed and imprisoned after carrying out a graft probe in 2013 against high-ranking government officials.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah 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.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 civil servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 24,706 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown, which coincided with a notable increase in the number of Turkish nationals granted asylum in Europe since 2016.

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