Women with brain tumor and heart condition detained over Gülen links

Aslı Öztürk, 35, who suffers from a brain tumor and a serious heart condition, was detained on Tuesday in Uşak province for alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Öztürk was the director of a Gülen movement-affiliated private student dormitory that was shut down by an emergency decree in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July 2016. The accusations against her also include having an account at the now-closed Bank Asya, one of Turkey’s largest commercial banks at the time.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

In addition to a brain tumor, Öztürk also suffers from a heart condition known as tachycardia. Her heart beats 160 to 200 times a minute as opposed to the normal rate of 60 to 100. Öztürk’s family says they are very worried about her health due to poor conditions in detention centers.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on February 20, a total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 301,932 have been detained, while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,467 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed on alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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