Turkey’s Erdoğan regime makes eid al-fitr as an occasion of persecution for alleged Gülen followers

Betül Seda Özcan, who ise a 10-year-old daughter of an imprisoned man named Ali Osman Özcan, died in a traffic accident while on her way to visit the father in an Elazığ prison on Monday.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government, which has launched a massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged followers of the Gülen movement, has made Muslim holiday eid al-fitr as an occasion to increase its persecution against the movement’s alleged symphatizers.

10-years-old Betül Seda Özcan

Betül Seda Özcan, who ise a 10-year-old daughter of an imprisoned man named Ali Osman Özcan, died in a traffic accident while on her way to visit the father in an Elazığ prison on Monday. Betül Seda hit the road along with her mother from Kocaeli province to visit her father in a closed prison in Elazığ province during eid al-fitr holiday.

When they reached the intersection near the prison in Elazığ, Betül Seda let her mother’s hand go in excitement to see her father. She was struck by a car trying to cross the road. Betül Seda was taken in an ambulance to Fırat University Hospital where she later died.

According to Turkish media, the father Ali Osman Özcan has been under arrest for 6 months over his alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, 42-year-old Özen Alkan was detained while she was visiting her husband, who has already been under arrest over his alleged links to the Gülen movement on June 26. It was the second day of  eid al-fitr holiday on Monday.

Özen Alkan took some 900 kilometers along with her two children from western province Bursa to southern province Osmaniye where her husband, Mehmet Alkan, has been held over alleged ties with the Gülen movement since early this month.

Özen Alkan

Özen Alkan was detained during their visit to her husband and was taken to the Police Department’s Organized Crime Unit in the neighboring province of Adana. The charges raised against her are still unknown. It was reported that as a sociology graduate and a 42-year-old mother of two, Özen Alkan has been working as a family counselor from 2012 to 2017.

Also, during eid al-fitr holiday, a teacher, identified with his/her initials M.P., was detained while on a visit to his/her relatives in Tatar village of Sivas province. It is a tradition that Muslims visit their elderly relatives at their homes as part of Eid celebrations in Turkey.

It was reported that M.P. was earlier dismissed from job over his/her alleged ties to the Gülen movement as part of an executive decree of the government under the rule of emergency in the aftermath of the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Gendarmerie forces caught M.P. upon an arrest warrant issued as part of a Van-based investigation into the alleged followers of the Gülen movement. M.P. is accused of having used ByLock.

On Thursday, 30 people, including dismissed police and military officers, court clerks and municipality workers, were also detained by police over their alleged use of ByLock.

Turkish authorities consider ByLock to be the top communication tool among the followers of the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.

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 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 29, 2017

 

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