Turkish couple in detention over Gülen links allegedly pressured to become informers

Adem and Birsen Erdoğdu, a couple who both suffer from heart problems, have been kept in detention for nine days in Sakarya province and are being pressured to become informers against followers of the Gülen movement, the aktifhaber news portal reported on Thursday.

The couple was reportedly jailed in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement and was released after spending months in jail.

However, they were detained again nine days ago in Balıkesir’s Edremit district. The couple has three children.

According to aktifhaber, police officers used force to detain Adem Erdoğan in front of his children. The children are now being taken care of by their grandparents.

Both Adem and Birsen Erdoğdu suffer from heart problems and regularly take medication for their condition but have been unable to get their medicine since the day they were detained.

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.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported on March 15, 2018 that at least 402,000 people have been the subject of legal proceedings initiated by the Turkish government over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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.” (SCF with turkisminute.com)

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