Wife of Turkish judge removed from post over alleged links to Gülen movement jumps to death from 9th floor

Adalet Betül Çağdır, the wife of a former judge who was removed from his post due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, on Monday jumped to her death from the ninth floor of an apartment building in İstanbul’s Başakşehir district, according to a tweet from a human rights activist.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, one of Turkey’s most renowned human rights activists and former president of the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (Mazlumder), tweeted on Tuesday: “Yet another suicide by the spouse of a KHK victim. Don’t overwhelm people like this. How many suicides of KHK victims have there been? English teacher Adalet Betül Çağdır, wife of a KHK victim and former judge, committed suicide yesterday by jumping from her 9th floor apartment in Başakşehir.”

KHK refers to government decrees issued by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. By means of these decrees, which go into effect without approval by Parliament because of an ongoing state of emergency in Turkey, more than 150,000 people have been removed from state jobs due to their alleged or real links to the Gülen movement.

There have been dozens of suspicious deaths in jail and suicides among post-coup victims in Turkey. 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)

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