The lifeless body of a kindergarten principal, Ali Derebaşı, whose wife was among the thousands of teachers who have been suspended from their posts due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, was found hanging in his school in Kayseri province on Monday, the first day of the new academic year in Turkey.
The 42-year-old principal reportedly arrived at the Barbaros Kindergarten at 6:30 a.m. on Monday. He tied a rope to the ceiling rafter of his office and then hung himself. His body was later found by a janitor.
Police found a note left by Derebaşı at the scene that read: “Death is at the door. It is not known when it will come.”
Derebaşı’s wife Fatma was recently suspended from her job as a teacher as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement.
A decree issued in early September under emergency rule declared after an attempted coup in July has led to the dismissal of 50,589 civil servants and banned their employment at any state institution.
There have been several other cases of suicide, some of which are suspicious, of individuals who have been targeted by the ongoing witch-hunt against the Gülen movement.
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government which launched a war against the Gülen movement following the eruption of a corruption scandal in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated, carried its ongoing crackdown on the movement and its sympathizers to a new level after a failed coup attempt on July 15 which killed 240 people and injured a thousand of others.
Although the movement strongly denies having any role in the corruption probe and the coup attempt, the government accuses it of having masterminded both despite the lack of any tangible evidence.
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Recep Tayyip 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.