Turkish man released pending trial pictured sitting near graves of 4 family members killed in traffic accident after visiting him in jail

A photo showing Burak Aydın, a teacher who was jailed for alleged Gülen links, visiting the graves of four of his family members who died in a car accident after visiting him in prison, has once again revealed the extent of damage to people’s lives caused by an ongoing government crackdown on real or alleged Gülen movement followers.

Burak Aydın, 27, is one of thousands of teachers who were suspended from their jobs and jailed in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 due to alleged links to the movement.

Four members of a Turkish family were killed in a car crash on March 2, 2018, while driving back from a prison in Erzurum where another member of the family was being held as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

The prisoner, Burak Aydın, was released pending trial, and the first thing he did was to pay a visit to the graves of his family members on Saturday. He was photographed by his relatives in obvious despair.

Four members of the Aydın family were killed in a traffic accident on the evening of March 1 while driving from Turkey’s Erzurum province to their hometown in Giresun after visiting a family member incarcerated in Erzurum Prison.

Four members of the Aydın family died while a woman from the same family, identified as Kevser Aydın, was seriously injured in the traffic accident on the Erzurum-Giresun highway. The family was returning from a visit to Kevser Aydın’s husband, jailed over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The arrestee’s mother Ayşe Aydın and his brother İbrahim Aydın, İbrahim’s wife Gülyeter Aydın and their 8-year-old son Muhammed Aydın were killed in the accident, according to social media accounts that have been following the suffering of victims of the Turkish government’s persecution led by autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

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 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 turkeypurge.com)

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