Turkish prosecutors have found that a doctor who was removed from his job at a public hospital in İzmir in 2017 due to alleged links to the Gülen movement and subsequently committed suicide did not actually use the ByLock mobile phone application, which is considered to be the top communication tool among Gülen followers according to Turkish authorities, the Evrensel daily reported on Thursday.
Shortly after he was fired from his job at the İzmir-based Katip Çelebi University Hospital in February 2017 as part of an ongoing crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement, Dr. Hasan Orhan Çetin committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of the hospital.
Çetin, 30, was an assistant in the biochemistry department of Katip Çelebi University Atatürk Teaching and Research Hospital. Çetin sustained critical injuries in the fall and could not be saved despite doctors’ efforts.
In an investigation into Çetin, the İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office recently decided on non-prosecution of the late doctor because it was found out that Çetin did not use ByLock, Evrensel said.
The İzmir branch of SES, a labor union representing healthcare workers, has issued a statement regarding Çetin’s ordeal and said an investigation on suspicion of causing death should be launched into the Turkish authorities who removed him from his job.
Dozens of people have committed suicide either after they were imprisoned over ties to the movement or after being linked to the movement outside prison. Some of these suicides have been found to be suspicious. Suspicious deaths have taken place in prison and also beyond the 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 110 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 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, 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 turkishminute.com)