Turkish government launches probe into dismissed protestor Veli Saçılık

Veli Şaçılık, a public servant, whose arm was amputated because of injury led by security forces's operation previously.

Turkish government has launched an investigation into sociologist and activist Veli Saçılık who has been carrying out a protest demanding to be returned to his job in the capital Ankara.

Veli Saçılık, a sociologist who was dismissed from his post with a state of emergency decree following the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, has been carrying out a protest to demand that he be returned to his job and that two jailed educators on hunger strike be released. Educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who were among those dismissed with decrees, have been on a hunger strike for over 110 days and were arrested on terror charges.

Saçılık, who lost his arm in a military operation known as “Operation Return to Life” conducted in December 2000 in 20 prisons across Turkey to end hunger strikes staged by inmates in protest of newly built prisons with solitary confinement cells, said the investigation was launched over “being a member of a terrorist organization and making propaganda of it.”

Saçılık said he examined the file opened against him, adding that there was no specification on the organization which he was alleged to have been a member of.

“They see the investigation as a method to remove the protest’s symbols. After Nuriye and Semih’s arrest, we came to view and this investigation is a part of that. There is a probe not because of the existence of a crime, but of a voice,” Saçılık told news website Duvar on June 26, adding that he is expecting to be arrested after Eid al-Fitr.

“They are giving a message to the public by beating, torturing and arresting us. We are trying to inflict courage not fear into people,” he said.

Turkey declared a state of emergency after the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and thousands have been suspended or dismissed with decrees since then. Turkey survived a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s 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 participants of the Gülen movement in jails.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13.

June 27, 2017

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