Turkish gov’t detains İstanbul lawyer over her social media posts

Lawyer Sibel Sevinç Deveci has been detained due to social media posts deemed to be propaganda on behalf of the faith-based Gülen movement.

Deveci was detained on Tuesday at her Istanbul home as part of an ongoing investigation.

Her detention came three days after she tweeted: “As a lawyer, I know they will try to pretend not to be Justice and Development Party [AKP] supporters. The future is near. Don’t forget,” in reference to current AKP supporters, drawing a harsh reaction from pro-government social media accounts.

Deveci is accused of disseminating propaganda for the Gülen movement. The pro-government Hürriyet daily reported that Deveci also posted the following tweets on the night of the coup: “We have no business in the streets. The soldiers are ours!”; ”Soldiers, do what is best”; “Someone is trying to pit soldiers against Turkish citizens”; and “Everyone, including the president, interior minister and AKP İstanbul branch chair, is calling on people to take to the streets. Don’t do that!”

The Turkish government has prosecuted 1,539 lawyers, arrested 580 and sentenced 103 lawyers to long prison terms since a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to a report released by The Arrested Lawyers Initiative.

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 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 civil servants since July 15. 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.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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