Turkish government detains lawyers of jailed hunger striking educators

The lawyers for jailed hunger strikin educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça — Ayşegül Çağatay, Ebru Timtik, Didem Ünsal and Naim Eminoğlu — were detained on Thursday as they went to apply to a state of emergency (OHAL) commission on behalf of their clients.

Turkish police detained the lawyers, who were calling for a press release to demand the return of the teachers to their jobs after applying to the OHAL commission on behalf of Gülmen and Özakça, who have been on a hunger strike for 169 days protesting their dismissal under state decrees.

The OHAL commission was established to investigate applications directly related to the loss of state jobs through the issuance of government decrees.

The educators were on the 76th day of a hunger strike to protest their dismissal by a statutory decree when they were arrested on terror charges on May 23 in Ankara.

Gülmen and Özakça said their strike aims to draw attention to the situation of more than 150,000 dismissed state employees.

According to data compiled by The Arrested Lawyers’ Initiative, 522 lawyers have been arrested and 1,315 lawyers have been under Turkish government’s prosecution after the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The Turkish government has arrested a total of 2,431 judges and prosecutors since the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and dismissed 4,424 others from their jobs, a Constitutional Court general assembly ruling revealed on July 26.

A comprehensive report by Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) titled “Turkey’s descent into arbitrariness: The end of rule of law” provides detailed information on how the rule of law has lost meaning in Turkish context, confirming the effective collapse of all domestic judicial and administrative remedies available for Turkish citizens who lodge complaints on rights violations.

The Turkish government started a crackdown on the opposition in the wake of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and arrested more than 50,000, dismissing or suspending around 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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