Eight lawyers, including two lawyers representing educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who have been on hunger strike for over 138 days, were detained by police on Sunday. Gülmen’s sister Beyza Gülmen, Arda Turan, Gülnaz Bozkurt and İlker Işık were also detained on Yüksel Street while preparing to protest.
Platform for Solidarity with Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça has called for demonstration in Ankara on Sunday on the 137th day of the two educators’ hunger strike. Those who took the bus to go to Ankara were stopped at the entrance of the city and their buses were seized by the police. Over 60 people who rallied at Güvenpark were also battered and detained by the police.
Lawyers Ebru Timtik, Barkın Timtik, Ayşegül Çağatay, Derviş Emre Aydın, Progressive Legists’ Association (ÇHD) İstanbul Branch Chair Gökmen Yeşil and ÇHD member Aytül Kaplan were detained during the police raid. Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered release of all lawyers except Ebru Timtik and Barkın Timtik.
Barkın Timtik and Ebru Timtik, who were brought to Ankara Security Directorate Anti-Terror Bureau, are still under police custody. With these detentions, the number of lawyers who are under prosecution raised to 1315 in Turkey. Turkish government has jailed at least 522 lawyers since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s 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 participants of the Gülen movement in jails.
Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.
July 24, 2017