Turkish police torture two university personnel for weeks in Antalya over their alleged links to Gülen movement

Sedat Göçen and Ahmet Gödük, two former staff members of the International Antalya University, which was closed by a government decree issued under emergency rule over its alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement, have reportedly been subject to heavy torture and maltreatment for weeks under police custody in Turkey’s Antalya province.

According to information shared by a @Turkeydeiskence , a Twitter account focused on torture and maltreatment cases in Turkey under the state of emergency, because of the severe torture at the Antalya Police Department Gödük has become unable to walk. @Turkeydeiskence reported that Göçen and Gödük have been subjected to physical torture, maltreatment and psychological pressure to oblige them to make “confessions.”

It was reported that Göçen and Gödük were detained on January 16, 2018 at Antalya Terra City Shopping Mall by a group of civil police officers. Police officers applied physical violence to Göçen and Gödük even during the process of their detentions. Because of the violence applied to him, herniated disc problem of Göçen has reemerged and he has experienced a severe loss in his hearing capability and he lost his balance. He has bruises and swelling in different parts of his body.

Ahmed Gödük, who has also herniated disc problem, has started to experience serious problem as he walks because of the heavy violence he has been a target.

It was also reported that the police have prevented Göçen and Gödük from getting doctor reports in order to prevent the exposure of torture and maltreatments they applied. Therefore, the custody periods of Göçen and Gödük were arbitrarily extended to 15 days so that the traces of torture that they had imposed on them to vanish.

Also during this long detention period, Göçen and Gödük were subjected to maltreatments including threats, insults, starvation, deprivation of bathing, interfering with their worship. At the end of the detention period with torture and maltreatments, Gökçen and Gödük were arrested by a local court and sent to Döşemealtı Prison in Antalya.

The Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) said on errant December 2017 that 2,278 people were tortured and 11 abducted in Turkey during the first 11 months of 2017.

In a report titled “Tortured to Death”, SCF investigators has exposed on Nov. 21, 2017 the case of 42-year-old history teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu, who died after enduring 13 days of torture and abuse in police detention in İstanbul.

The torture, ill-treatment, abusive, inhuman and degrading treatment of people who are deprived of their liberties in Turkey’s detention centers and prisons have become the norm rather than the exception under increased nationalistic euphoria and religious zealotry in the country in the wake of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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

Suspicious deaths have also taken place beyond prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment and torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before their detention. SCF has compiled 107 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format.

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.

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. On December 13, 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, 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.”

Take a second to support SCF on Patreon!