The number of people who die in suspicious circumstances after being linked to the July 15 coup attempt has been rising with every passing day, a systematic occurrence that is casting a shadow over official statements pointing to suicide.
The government accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating the coup attempt, while the movement denies involvement, condemning any intervention into democratically elected administrations. The government has detained 43,000 people and arrested 24,000 over their alleged links to the movement.
At least 14 people have reportedly committed suicide either after they were imprisoned over ties to the movement or after being linked to the movement outside prison. 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. Rumours also have it that some of the detainees were killed after being subjected to torture under custody.
Below are details of suspicious deaths in the aftermath of the coup attempt.
- Ömer Ç. a prison guard who was arrested over alleged links to the Gülen movement, was found dead in a jail in the western province of İzmir on Sept. 1. No statement was released regarding the cause of Ömer Ç.’s death.
- A 47-year-old public prosecutor who was recently put behind bars in the western province of Bursa as part of an ongoing witch-hunt against the Gülen movement was found hanging in the prison bathroom on Sept. 16. Seyfettin Yiğit was among those prosecutors who oversaw an investigation into allegations of irregularities within the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKI) in late 2013, a landmark year when widespread graft allegations implicating four Cabinet ministers and a son of then-PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan were revealed.
- Gökhan Açıkkollu, a history teacher detained as part of operations against the movement, died after he reportedly felt faint in İstanbul’s Ümraniye Prison, on Aug. 5.
- Col. İsmail Çakmak, who was arrested in the aftermath of the coup attempt, was found dead in Silivri Prison on July 23. Çakmak was discovered hanging by his bed covers in the stairwell of the prison.
- Necmi Akman, the provincial governor of Manisa’s Ahmetli district, committed suicide two days after he was suspended over links to the movement, on July 18.
- Ferhat Daş reportedly committed suicide in a military tank after he realized that the tank had been involved in the coup attempt, on July 15.
- An assistant professor at Aydın Adnan Menderes University, Emin Kömürcüler was denied a request for a meeting with Rector Cavit Bircan after the former was implicated in an anti-Gülen operation within the university. Kömürcüler jumped from the fourth floor of a university building.
- Col. Levent Önder shot himself at the command building in Siirt on July 20. A written statement from the Siirt Governor’s Office said Önder was suffering from depression as he felt guilty for failing to prevent the coup plotters.
- Fifty-year-old Mustafa Güneyler, who was working as an electrical and electronics engineering teacher at a public school in the Osmaneli district of Bilecik province, committed suicide at home by leaving the natural gas on before he went to bed, late on Sept 6. Güneyler was one of thousands of teachers dismissed from their jobs.
- Deputy Police Chief in Kırklareli Baki Pekiyi shot and killed himself after he allegedly found out that he would be detained in anti-coup probes, on July 18.
- The lifeless body of a kindergarten principal, Ali Derebaşı, whose wife was among 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.
- Deputy Chief of Police in Ankara’s Güdül district Mutlu Çil fatally shot himself after he was suspended as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement, on July 20.
- Col. Hasan Yücel shot and killed himself at the General Staff building on July 20. Media reported that Yücel was suffering from depression for his alleged failure in preventing the coup attempt.
- Deputy Chief of Police in Bartın’s Ulus district Muhammet Mertoğlu fatally shot himself after a warrant was issued for his detention over his alleged links to the movement, on July 21.