Turkish academic Çalışkan sentenced to 18 months in prison over Gülen propaganda

Koray Çalışkan

Associate Professor Koray Çalışkan, who was detained on July 10, 2017 as part of an investigation into 20 university academics and later released under house arrest, was sentenced to one year, six months and 22 days in prison for disseminating the propaganda of the faith-based Gülen movement on social media, the pro-government Sabah daily reported.

The ruling was made by the İstanbul 24th High Criminal Court.

Koray Çalışkan tweeted under a hashtag translated as “Do not smear Gülen” in 2015, when the movement’s media outlets and bank were coming under attack by the Turkish government.

He also tweeted in response to a critic that Gülen was not a terrorist, and refused to call the movement the Fethullahist Terror Organisation (FETÖ). “FETÖ” is a derogatory term coined by ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refer to the Gülen movement.

President Erdoğan and his government pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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 them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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