A teacher couple, identified as Serdar A. and Merve A., were detained after Turkish authorities found out that they had spoken against the government’s post-coup crackdown during an interview by the Finland’s state broadcaster YLE, according to Haberturk newspaper.
Finland’s national broadcaster YLE aired a documentary, titled Pako Turkista [Getting out of Turkey] on the recent refugee exodus from Turkey to Europe, on Jan 4, this year.
“When we get out of our home, we are sure if we would be able to come back. We are living a prison-like routine. We are not living at the locations registered on our names. I keep a pack of smoking and a lighter in my car [to hide my lifestyle] even though I don’t smoke. When we go out, we always think whether the building is safe, whether there is camera at the park we plan to visit, or whether there are any police at the park we plan to go for a picnic,” Serdar A. is heard as speaking during the documentary.
Serdar A. also states that he hanged a Turkish flag at his car’s rear windshield to pretend like he is a supporter of the ruling party.
Haberturk said Thursday that Istanbul anti-terror police examined the video clips from the documentary and located the couple’s address as Esenyurt where they later found the car, described by Serdar A.
Even though the YLE kept the couple’s names anonymous with their faces darkened in the documentary, police reportedly identified them as Serdar A and his wife Merve A, according to Haberturk.
The couple is reported to have worked as teachers at schools that the government has shut down over ties to the Gulen movement.
While there was no outstanding arrest warrant for the couple before the documentary, Haberturk said, they were detained for interrogation.
Serdar A. was put in pretrial detention on charges of “membership to the Gulen movement and making propaganda on behalf of it” his wife was released.
Finland’s state broadcaster published the documentary in the wake of the recent refugee exodus from Turkey to Europe.
More than 50,000 people have been arrested and about 150,000 have lost their jobs in the aftermath of the 2016 botched coup, the documentary said.
“Fear grows in Turkey,” the broadcaster highlighted interviewing people from different walks of life.
Menderes Obay, a pro-government shopkeeper in Cengelkoy, Istanbul was revealed to have threatened suspected Gulenists in the district with brutal methods.
At the very beginning of the documentary, local dealer Obay is heard threatening supporters of the Gulen movement: “We don’t want them and their money in Cengelkoy, Istanbul. We know and believe that officials will do something about it. If they leave this task to us, we will punish them in a different way. We will punish them with the God’s justice. And it may do no good to them.”
When the YLE reporter asks what he means by “different punishment,” Obay responds: “We will execute them. We will wash them with their own blood. We will hang them to the flagpoles.”
The Istanbul man adds further during the interview: “We will never let this flag touch the ground and never let Tayyip Erdogan get hurt. If a hair on Tayyip Erdogan’s head is harmed, we will burn down the entire world.”
Turkish government blames Gulenists for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt while the group denies involvement.
Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the government against sympathizers of the movement since then. Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.