Zeki Güven, a former police intelligence chief who was fired from his job in 2015, was “found dead” in his prison cell in Sincan, Ankara, on Sunday, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Mr. Güven was dismissed from his latest position as assistant chief of police in Bolu over his alleged links to Turkey’s Gülen group. After a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, an Ankara court issued a detention warrant for him on accusiation of “membership in a terrorist organization.”
Güven and his wife, former judge Sevda Güven, were put in pre-trial detention in May 2018 after they were taken into custody while shopping at a mall in Eskişehir province.
He did not have a chance to appear in court to plead his case, which includes an accusation of involvement in the revelation of a sex scandal concerning the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) former leader, Deniz Baykal, in 2010.
According to an official statement, Zeki Güven died due to a heart attack; however, given previous incidents and deaths in Turkish prisons, his death is considered suspicious.
At least of 30 individuals, among which are police officers, prosecutors and teachers, have been found dead in Turkish prisons since a failed coup attempt on July 15,2016, causing serious concern about the fate of thousands of civilians who have been kept in jail in very poor conditions across the country.
The relatives of most of them claim that the detainees are not the kind of people to commit suicide, shedding doubt on the official narrative. Rumors also have it that some of the detainees were killed after being subjected to torture under custody.
Here are some of the most controversial deaths and related stories:
- Segvan Yaman – Pro-Kurdish DBP member – July 18
- Hasan Hayri Alp – Leftist activist – July 19
- Mutlu Çil – police officer – July 20
- Levent Önder – lieutenant colonel – July 22
- İsmail Çakmak – lieutenant colonel – July 23
- Mustafa Törer – BUsinessman -July 28
- Vedat Savlu – Businessman, August 2
- Gökhan Açıkkollu- Math teacher – August 5
- Ahmet Beşli – poliçe chief – August 10
- Ömer Çubuklu – prison guard – September 1
- Mustafa Güneyler – teacher – September 2
- Bedih Kurucan – civilian – September 9
- Seyfettin Yiğit – prosecutor – September 16
- Cigehun AKdeniz – civilian – September 2
- Seyit Rıza Şaban – civilian – September 28
- Önder Irmak – noncommissioned officer, October 10
- Dursun Kaynar – civilian — October 13
- Mehmet Ali İnal – civilian – October 20
- İrfan Kızılarslan – Gendarmerie Commander – November 5
- Zehra Epli – civilian – November 7
- Burak Açıkalın – engineer – November 8
- Muharrem Bahçivan – civilian – November 11
- Mehmet Emin Doğan – civilian – November 18
- Behçet Emdi – teacher – November 19
- Ünal Takmaklı – businessman – November 29
- Beytullah Akil – Kurdish civilian – December 11
- Hakan Ekinci – civilian – December 23
- Mehmet İnam – dentist – January 5