A Turkish endocrinology and metabolism expert who was included on Stanford University’s World’s Top 2% Scientists’ List in 2020, 2021 and 2022 is serving a sentence on conviction of links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the Kronos news website reported.
Professor Cihangir Erem was sentenced to seven years, six months in prison on terrorism-related charges due to his ties to the Gülen movement and was arrested in Trabzon in September after the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the sentence.
Evidence justifying his conviction included transactions at the Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya, involvement in the group’s religious conversations and certain books found in his home, which were used to prove his membership in the movement.
Erem was one of the thousands of academics dismissed by executive decree-laws in a sweeping purge that followed a coup attempt in July 2016.
He is the 69th most cited endocrinology expert in the world according to Google Scholar data, the report said.
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 the 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.