Turkish woman, dismissed over alleged links to Gülen movement, dies of brain tumor

Rukiye Öztürk and her husband.

Rukiye Öztürk, a Turkish woman who was removed from her job as a Quran teacher over alleged links to the Gülen movement, part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt, has died of a brain tumor, Turkish media reported on Wednesday.

Öztürk was on the public payroll with her job as a Quran teacher registered with Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate until she was dismissed over alleged Gulen movement links a year after a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Shortly after she was sacked, her husband was put in pretrial detention over his alleged links to the movement. Öztürk left two children behind, the media said.

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 civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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