Ebubekir Altay, a 34-year-old biology teacher from Turkey who sought refuge in Argentina in the face of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s post-coup crackdown, passed away following a traffic accident.
Altay picked up ice-cream from a store in Buenos Aires with his bike and was on his way to delivery it to his customers when he got a traffic accident, on Apr 25. He was taken to a nearby hospital for his injuries where he passed away on May 3.
Mr Altay and his wife Zeynep Altay, also a teacher by training, landed in Argentina in 2017 after a Gulen movement-linked school in Afghanistan they used to work at was put under pressure as part of Erdogan’s post-coup purge.
“My husband worked at grocery stores and a shawarma store. He worked even as a dishwasher. I baked cookies at home, and we sold them. Meanwhile, we were visiting private colleges to find some employment. But it did not turn out well. Three weeks ago, he borrowed some money to buy a bike. He would either delivery pizza or ice-cream. He unwillingly started working. Then, he got that accident while trying to deliver that two packs of ice-cream on Apr 25,” Zeynep told Kronos online news portal.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and an ensuing crackdown has left thousands of victims behind. More than 510,000 people have been detained and some 100,000 including academics, judges, doctors, teachers, lawyers, students, policemen and many from different backgrounds have been put in pre-trial detention since last summer.
Erdogan extended his crackdown to overseas as well and requested foreign governments to punish suspected Gulenists and confiscate the workplaces they work at. A number of countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Georgia and Myanmar deported academics, businessmen and school principals upon the Turkish government’s request and Gulen-linked schools in several countries like Afghanistan were shut down.
Thousands of people have fled Turkey and those conflicted countries as asylum seekers due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against Gulenists.