Turkish municipal worker commits suicide following investigation over Gülen links

İrfan Bayar with his children.

İrfan Bayar, a municipal worker in Kastamonu province and a former soldier who was wounded in a clash with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in 1997, committed suicide after an investigation was launched against him for sending his kid to a private school affiliated with the Gülen movement.

According to a report by Kronos online news outlet, Turkey’s main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) member Yıldırım Kaya said on Thursday during a press conference that Bayar shot himself dead in a car parked in front of his workplace on October 27.

Bayar tried to register his son Efe to a private school in downtown Kastamonu but was denied request due to overcapacity, and Efe ended up in a Gülen movement-affiliated school in 2011, Kaya said.

“İrfan Kaya was summoned to Ankara for interrogation as part of an investigation two weeks ago. He told the inspector overseeing the interrogation: ‘I sent my son to that school with the help of the government quota [for veteran soldiers]. I have no links and affiliation [ to the movement].” Kaya said Bayar killed himself over disappointment that the government considered himself linked to the movement.

Turkish government accuses the movement of instigating a failed coup on July 15, 2016, a claim the movement strongly denies.

Nearly 130,000 people have passed through custody and 60,000 were remanded in prison over alleged links to the Gülen movement since the summer of 2016. Prosecutors claim that sending children to Gülen-linked schools, depositing money into the now-defunct Bank Asya, subscribing to Zaman newspaper and similar outlets, and using ByLock mobile app are signs of affiliation to the movement.

Nearly 40 people who or whose relatives have been affected by the post-coup purge against the movement, either by losing their jobs or by being arrested, due to their alleged links to the movement, have committed suicide so far.

Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has reported in one of its studies titled “Suspicous Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, most in Turkish jails and detention centers where a torture and ill-treatment is being practiced. In most cases, authorities concluded these as suicides without any effective, independent investigation.

The suspicious death has also taken place beyond the prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before the detention. SCF has compiled 92 cases of suspicious death and suicides in Turkey in a list as of November 2, 2017 in a searchable database format.(SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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