Two female doctors who have recently been dismissed from their posts at state-run hospitals in Ankara due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, have been arrested by the Turkish authorities in Edirne province while they were attempting to flee to Greece, a statement from the Edirne Governor’s Office said on Wednesday.
Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15.
The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup despite lack of any evidence to this effect.
The doctors, identified by their initials as F.D. and B.E., were arrested in Keşan as they were trying to flee to Greece through illegal ways. They reportedly made an agreement with human smugglers to take them to Greece.
Police found two passports, one was revoked, credit cards, some money and a note on the women. The note was written in English and saying: “100,000 people have been fired from their jobs in Turkey. Turkey is not a safe country, there is a lot of turmoil there.”
Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the AKP government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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.
More than 100,000 people have been purged from state bodies and 32,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.
This article originally appeared in Turkish Minute on October 5.