Turkish teachers, doctor sentenced for years of prison term over alleged links with Gülen movement

Numbers of teachers and a doctor have been sentenced for years of prison terms by Turkish courts over their alleged links with the Gülen movement.

Two teachers in the province of Bartın have given jail terms of 7 years plus 9 months and 22 days, and 7 years and 6 months respectively, as part of a post-coup witch hunt investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement. The government accuses the movement of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt and labels it as a terrorist organization.

S.S., a former teacher at a government-closed preparatory school, is accused of using ByLock, a mobile phone app that Turkish authorities claim to be the top communication tool among alleged Gülen followers. He is also accused of having an account at the Gülen-linked Bank Asya. S.S. said the school management asked him to open a payroll account at Bank Asya. S.S. was sentenced to 7 years, 9 months and 22 days in prison on Apr 25.

M.E., also a Bartın-based teacher, was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in jail on charges of membership to an armed terrorist organization, the same day.

Meanwhile, a Kırşehir court sentenced Bekir C., a teacher and the former local representative of the government-closed educators’ union, Aktif-Sen, to 6 years and three months in prison, on Apr. 25. He was accused of sending his children to preparatory schools affiliated with the Gülen movement, taking loans from Bank Asya and acting as an executive at Aktif-Sen. Bank Asya and thousands of preparatory schools were shuttered by the government over links to the Gülen movement, accused of masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The movement strongly denies charges.

Moreover, a Kayseri physician, identified as H.H.Y., has given a jail sentence of 3 years and 45 days on accusation of membership to the Gülen movement. H.H.Y. was accused of using ByLock.

Also, at least 13 people including teachers and company executives were detained as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement on Friday. Police carried out operations in Ordu, Şanlıurfa, Kahramanmaraş, Ankara, Karaman and İzmir to detain 21 people with outstanding detention warrants. The detainees are accused of having used ByLock.

The military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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.

According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 2, a total of 113,260 people have been detained as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, while 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) April 28, 2017



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