Turkish captain suspended over links to Gülen movement allegedly commits suicide

Yet one more suspicious death has been added to the long list of suicides and suspicious deaths witnessed following a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 in Turkey. This time a suspended military officer was alleged to have committed suicide in front of a military facility in the Ödemiş district of İzmir province on Tuesday evening.

Fatih Uğur Koştan

According to online news outlet TR724, Capt. Fatih Uğur Koştan, who was suspended from his job 2.5 months ago and taken under investigation over his alleged links to the Gülen movement, reportedly committed suicide by grabbing the gun of a private security officer who was guarding the Military Recruitment Office, where Capt. Koştan used to serve as director, in Ödemiş.

Police and medical teams were immediately dispatched to the scene. where they pronounced him dead. His body was taken to the İzmir Institute of Forensic Medicine for autopsy.

In a similar development, a police officer identified as Erdem G. also committed suicide on Wednesday morning at his home in the eastern province of Bitlis. Erdem G. was dismissed from his job due to alleged links to the Gülen movement in February but was recently reinstated. He was 25 years old, married with one child. An investigation has been launched into the incident.

There have been dozens of suspicious deaths in jail and suicides among post-coup victims in Turkey. Suspicious deaths have taken place in prison and also beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before their detention. SCF has compiled 111 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format.

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 autocratic President Recep Tayyip 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 them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants since July 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested. On December 13, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 2, 2017. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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