Sena Özcerit, the daughter of Ahmet Turan Özcerit, a computer science professor who died of cancer in Feb. 2018 after spending some 13 months under arrest on coup charges, has been released after spending three days in police custody.
However, according to tweets posted by Özcerit’s son, eight of Sena’s friends were arrested by a Sakarya court and sent to prison over their links to Turkey’s Gülen group, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016.
The movement denies any involvement.
Sena and her friends were arrested by the Turkish police for holding a fast-breaking iftar dinner last week. They are accused of working for a terrorist organization. The arrestees are university students aged from 19 to 21.
Hayata zar zor tutunmuş bir kızın hayallerini çalmak istiyorlar. Bu kızın şu an finallerine çalışıyor olması lazım, nezarethanenin sert ve rahatsız banklarında uyumaya çalışıyor olması değil. Senanur daha 19 yaşında bir öğrenci, lütfen hep bir ağızdan söyleyin #SenanuraÖzgürlük.
— Sinan Özcerit (@sinan_ozcerit) May 22, 2019
Who is Sena Özcerit? Why is the Turkish government going after Özcerit family? Everything you need to know about the purge-victim family:
Ahmet Turan Özcerit was an associate professor at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science of Turkey’s Sakarya University. He was arrested on August 8, 2016 as part of a Sakarya-based investigation into the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15 2016. On September 1, 2016, Mr. Özcerit was then fired from his job at the Sakarya University with a post-coup emergency decree, numbered 672.
Soon after his arrest, he was diagnosed with cancer in his liver and intestines. According to statements by his family members, the pain in Özcerit’s stomach became worse and worse with each passing month and he thus submitted a petition to the prison management, asking to see a doctor. By September 2017, Mr. Özcerit’s pain was so intense and his body was so weak that he no longer had the physical stamina to fulfil his daily needs. In less than ten months in prison, he reportedly lost some 30 kilograms.
Despite the visible deterioration of his health, two committee reports that were prepared by legal experts advised in favor of the continuation of his imprisonment. When he was finally transferred to a hospital in September 2017, he was in the fourth stage of cancer. Mr. Özcerit died on February 12, 2018 and laid to rest in Ankara’s Karşıyaka cemetery a day later.
Upon his death, a follow-up investigation was launched by a Turkish prosecutor against Mr. Özcerit’s older son over tweets posted on Twitter that revealed the gross injustice done to the purge-victim academic. The investigation continued for a year and then the charges were dropped.
In the wee hours of May 21, Sakarya police this time detained the wife (Esra Özcerit) and daughter (Sena Özcerit) of Mr. Özcerit. Among the reasons of the detention are said to be a fast-breaking iftar dinner organized by Sena for his classmates. Sena, a journalism student at a Turkish university, is accused by the police of organizing this event on behalf of a terrorist organization. Her mother was released upon a brief interrogation, yet she is still in police custody in Sakarya.
Annem ve kız kardeşim sabah saatlerinde gözaltına alındı. Yaşadıklarımızın üstüne daha ne yaşatılmak isteniyor bilmiyorum ama artık çok yorulduk. Dualarınızı bekliyorum.
— Sinan Özcerit (@sinan_ozcerit) May 21, 2019
Esra, Senanur Özcerit , anne kız Sakarya'da gözaltına alınmış. Bu kişiler C.evinde KHK sonrası kanser olup, ölen Doç Ahmet Turan Özcerit'in eşi ve kızı. Aile boyu çile nasıl çektirilir göstermeye mi çalışıyorlar, bilmiyorum ama umarım tutuklama olmadan serbest kalırlar pic.twitter.com/JhQWDCd0yK
— Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu (@gergerliogluof) May 21, 2019