Wife of former school principal jailed on Gülen links dies from illness

Sebahattin Kasap

A former school principal who has been incarcerated for seven years on Gülen charges lost his wife on Monday to chronic illness, the TR724 news website reported.

Sebahattin Kasap, who was the principal of the now-closed private Yamanlar College in Izmir, lost his 57-year-old wife Filiz Kasap to respiratory failure. The mother of two had been struggling with asthma and diabetes for several years and could not visit her husband due to her health problems.

Kasap was handed down a 13-year sentence for links to the Gülen movement and is currently in prison. The former educator lost his mother, father and sister during his time in prison and was not allowed to attend any of their funerals. It was unclear if authorities would allow him to attend his wife’s funeral, which was to be held on Tuesday afternoon.

The Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, is accused by the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of masterminding a failed coup in 2016 and is labeled a “terrorist organization,” although the movement denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Following the failed coup, the Turkish government carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 24,706 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

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