Turkish gov’t detains 18 people as military students, families teargassed during Ankara march

Turkish government has detained at least 18 people on Saturday after police intervened into a group of dismissed military academy students and their families by using teargas during a scheduled march in Turkey’s capital city Ankara.

Women and children have been severely affected by teargas used by Turkish police.

Dozens of students who were removed from military academies after the government shuttered them in its post-coup crackdown marched along with their family members to the Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkey, on Saturday.

The banners announcing the event on social media highlighted that “all required permissions were taken in advance.” However, Ankara police intervened into the group and detained 18 people, among them the students and family members.

“My son has been under arrest for 20 months,” woman was heard yelling in a video clipping, reportedly recorded following the intervention.

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 Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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 civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, 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, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “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 turkeypurge.com)

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