A huge cleansing of Turkey’s state and other institutions is continuing as people from all walks of life find themselves being hunted down and taken into custody.
At least 1895 people were detained, with 992 of them put under arrest, in operations targeting Turkey’s Kurdish minority, and the Gülen group, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, in the second 15 days of June, according to data compiled by Turkeypurge.com.
The detentions, arrests and dismissals took place between June 15 and July 1.
On June 15, Turkish actor Barış Atay was detained in Dalyan district of Muğla due to an outstanding warrant for his detention. Atay, a leftist activist and actor, is known for his critical stance against the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
On June 15, a Turkish prosecutor issued detention warrants for a total of 101 teachers and principals in İstanbul as part of an investigation into the alleged and real followers of Turkey’s Gülen group, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016.
On June 15, an indictment prepared by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office as a result of an investigation into Koza-İpek Holding sought a jail sentence of 77 years for businessman Akın İpek due to his links to Turkey’s Gülen group.
On June 16, a deputy from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was given a suspended sentence of 24 months for “inciting hatred and hostility among the people,” the DHA news agency reported. The 4th Penal Court of First Instance in Şanlıurfa province based its ruling on a speech delivered by Altan Tan during a spring festival gathering in Şanlıurfa on March 21, 2012.
On June 16, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 78 senior executives of Bank Asya, which was confiscated by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 due to its links to the Gülen movement, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
On June 16, at least eleven lawyers were detained as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown in the eastern province of Mardin. The detainees are accused of having used ByLock, a smartphone application that Turkish prosecutors claim to be the top communication tool among the Gülenists.
On June 16, a Turkish court banned access to 18 web pages, including Twitter accounts, news websites and blogs that reveal facts about a failed coup in Turkey last summer, at the request of the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (BTK). According to the decision by the Ankara 6th Penal Court of Peace on June 14, access to the Twitter accounts of emreuslu, jhhturkey, dersimkal, bakurpepule, JiyanNews1, _Belirtisiz_, ilim2amel3ihlas and tup_okuzu7, the Facebook account of rojevamedya, the websites of www.demokrasi26com,www.sendika45.org, www.gundemnews2biz, www.jiyannews.com, www.vengma.com,www.aryenhaber.xyz and www.rojvideo.org, and the web blogs of https://jhhturkey.blogspot.com.trand https://15temmuzgercekleri.wordpress.com were blocked.
On June 17, former Istanbul Police Chief Hüseyin Çapkın surrendered himself to police after a court issued arrest warrant against him as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement. Çapkın, who served as İstanbul chief of police between 2009 and 2013, was detained in the western province of İzmir on Aug. 31, 2016 as part of an investigation launched by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the attempted coup. He was released in November. The indictment seeks three consecutive life sentences for Çapkın along with former İstanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, who are charged with “violating the Constitution, membership in a terrorist organization and attempting to abolish the government of the Republic of Turkey and the Parliament through violence.”
On June 17, a total of 26 people were detained in Diyarbakır province as part of operations against the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that encompasses the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Sendika48.org news portal reported.
On June 17, Hasan Günay, a teacher at the now-defunct, Izmir-based Yamanlar College was given 11-year jail sentence over his links to the Gulen movement. During his first appearance before court since he was first detained on Sept 12, 2016, Gunay was accused of membership to a terrorist organization. Among the evidences against him in the indictment are his employment at Yamanlar College, his alleged use of ByLock mobile application, his payroll account at Bank Asya and the fact that he sent his children to the schools allegedly linked with the movement.
On June 17, Zehra Elbir, a former court clerk who was earlier dismissed from her job in the government’s post-coup purge of state institutions, was detained only 40 days after she gave birth to her second child during a visit to her husband in prison. Eril Elbir, Zehra’s husband and a former police officer who was also dismissed over his alleged links to the Gulen movement, has been under arrest for 9 months.
On June 17, twenty teachers were detained in an Adana-based investigation into the Gulen movement. The detainees are accused of using ByLock mobile application.
On June 18, Yeniçağ columnist Ahmet Takan reported that Özlem Konakçı, the wife of former bomb disposal expert Bilal Konakçı, was detained over her alleged links to the Gülen movement. Bilal was retired from his position at İzmir Police Department after he lost his right hand and both eyes while trying to dispose of a bomb in 2009.
On June 18, Turkeypurge.com learned that Fatih Altınay, owner of now-closed Merzifon Ottoman Kitchen Restaurant and famed Topuz Kebab, has been kept at an Amasya prison for almost 10 months over his alleged links to Turkey’s Gülen group. According to several local media outlets based in Merzifon, Altınay was arrested in early August 2016 on charges of membership in a “terrorist organization.” He is the patent owner of Topuz Kebab, a type of Turkish kebab, made of meat and cooked on a mace, a war tool used since ancient ages. The Topuz Kebab is said to have been invented by Ottoman Kitchen cooks inspired by medieval Turkish soldiers who pierced meat with their swords and grilled it over an open flame.
On June 18, Turkeypurge.com learned that Tuba Kaya, a 27-year-old reporter from the now-closed Zaman daily, was arrested on Sept. 19 after her ex-husband lodged a complaint claiming that she was a member of Turkey’s Gülen group. Kronos.news news portal published a letter sent by Kaya to Sevinç Özarslan, one of the portal’s reporters, in which she said she is allowed to see her daughter only once in a month.
On June 18, Sözcu columnist Emin Çölaşan revealed that Fatma Cetin, an Erzurum teacher who was earlier dismissed from public school as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown against the Gülen movement, has been under arrest along with her premature baby.
On June 18, another post-coup victim was forced into a black van in broad daylight in Turkey’s capital province of Ankara, according to a family member. Cemil Koçak, an engineer who was dismissed from a government position over his alleged links to the Gülen movement, was followed by four cars (a black and a white Ford Focus, a VW Transporter van and a Fiat Doblo) at around 5.30 pm near his home in Ankara’s Altindag district on June 15, a Twitter account claiming to be his wife said. One of those cars hit Koçak’s own car to stop him in the middle of the day and he was forced into the black van just before the eyes of his 8-year-old son, the Twitter account said.
The abduction took place in a blind spot not covered by any of the four CCTV cameras around, according to the account. It is unknown whether the footages were provided by police or not.
On June 19, four people were detained in the Keşan district of Edirne province while attempting to flee to Greece in a bid to escape a post-coup witch-hunt currently ongoing in Turkey, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.
On June 20, Turkey’s Interior Ministry said in a written statement a total of 930 people were detained across Turkey as part of investigations into the Gülen movement between June 12-19. The ministry also said another 49 were detained on charges of terrorist propaganda on social media.
On June 20, at least 13 people were detained as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement followers in Kahramanmaras.
On June 20, Murat Taşhan, a Çorum judge who sent 517 people from 21 different occupations to prison over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, was detained as part of a separate investigation into the group. Tashan was taken into custody along with his 5 colleagues in Samsun where they had come for a judicial panel discussion. While he and his two other colleagues were released on judicial control, the remaining three were put in pre-trial arrest.
On June 20, an indictment drafted by an İstanbul prosecutor sought a jail sentence of four years, eight months for journalist Levent Gültekin, an outspoken government critic and a columnist for the diken news website, on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Gültekin is accused of insulting Erdoğan in comments he made on Medyascope, an online TV station, on Dec.12, 2016.
On June 20, three people accused of attacking police headquarters and tortured under detention in the eastern Turkish province of Van turned out to be civilians who were collecting mushrooms on a mountainside, the Hürriyet daily reported. According to the report, they were held hostage by outlawed the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants who seized their identity cards and phones and used their vehicle to attack a local police station in Gevaş district of Van.
On June 21, Alper Ertürk, an Aydin-based teacher who reported himself to a prosecutor for his affiliation to the Gulen movement, was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison. According to state-run Anadolu news agency, Erturk said in a petition to the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office, dated Dec 18, 2014: “I have been involved in Hizmet movement which is also called as camia or cemaat for 20 years. If the camia is a [terror] organization, if watching Samanyolu TV channel is a crime, I am reporting myself. I kindly request you to take necessary action.”
On June 22, former deputy of the ruling AK Party Şükrü Önder was detained as part of an investigation into the Gulen Movement. Police detained Onder in Yalova.
On June 22, at least 21 people were detained as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement followers in Zonguldak. Police carried out operations to detain the suspects in Kozlu, Kilimli and Ereğli districts. Detainees included 10 females, among them several housewives and university students.
On June 22, six academics including a rector were detained at Namık Kemal University in Tekirdağ due to alleged links to the Gülen movement.
On June 23, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy provincial chairman of Batman province Hüseyin Yaşar was handed down a suspended prison sentence of 11 months, 20 days on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Birgün daily reported.
On June 23, Hatice Avan was detained hours after giving birth to a baby in the western Turkish province of Denizli over alleged links to the Gülen movement. Avan, who used to work at a student dormitory affiliated with the Gülen movement until three years ago, was taken to the prosecutor’s office although her doctor warned that she had just had surgery and was suffering from poor health.
Police officers wanted to handcuff Avan in her hospital room, but upon a request from her family they instead locked her in the room with her baby before detaining her.
On June 23, a total of 52 teachers were given varying jails sentences of between 3 years and 10.5 years, in Eskisehir. Accused of having links to the Gülen movement, 4 teachers received 10.5 years, 19 teachers got 9 years, 14 of them were sentenced to 7.5 years and the remaining 15 were given 3 years, 1 month and 15 days in prison.
On June 23, an İstanbul court ruled for a continuation of the pretrial detention of media members including Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan and Nazlı Ilıcak, who are being held as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement.
On June 24, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 56 lawyers as part of an investigation targeting people linked to Turkey’s Gülen group, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
On June 24, pro-government Sabah daily newspaper claimed that 45 Turkish nationals were deported from Qatar for having links to the Gulen movement.
On June 25, at least 35 LGBT activists were detained for attempting to hold a pride march in İstanbul’s famed Taksim square to mark one of the largest organized gay festivals in Turkey. Turkish media outlets and several pro-LGBT twitter accounts reported that police fired plastic bullets at a group of around 40 activists and heavy police presence stopped people from entering Istiklal Street, where the rally was scheduled to start. According to the Hürriyet daily, at least 35 people have been detained and among them was Bram Janssen, an AP reporter covering the attempted march. This number, according to Sözcü, is 44.
On June 27, a Turkish daily reported on Tuesday that an extensive investigation is ongoing within the Turkish military targeting thousands of soldiers over their alleged links to Turkey’s Gülen group.
According to HaberTürk’s report, in addition to 9,000 already dismissed from the Turkish armed forces, “thousands of more staff” might be purged as part of investigations that were launched following the failed coup on July 15, 2016.
On June 27, Turkey’s Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) said that at least 102,000 Gülenists had used ByLock, a mobile application claimed to be the once-top communication tool among Gülen sympathizers.
“A list of 102,000 people has been sent to us from courts. We have prepared reports and met the demands of the courts one by one, whichever court has the investigation files of these people on the list,” Ömer Fatih Sayan, the head of BTK, told the pro-government Sabah daily. ByLock is considered by Turkish authorities to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen group.
On June 27, Cumhuriyet daily reported that a total of 1,080 people were convicted of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2016, according to data from Turkey’s Justice Ministry. Data from the Justice Ministry showed that 4,936 cases were launched against people on charges of insult in 2016. The report indicated that 4,750 people over the age of 18, 36 foreign nationals and two legal entities were accused of insult, leading to the conviction of 1,080 people on insult charges, of whom 867 received suspended sentences. A total of 679 people were acquitted.
On June 29, a teacher, identified with his/her initials M.P., was detained while on a visit to his/her relatives in Tatar village, Sivas on the very first day of the Muslim festival, Eid al-Fitr.
On June 29, 42-year-old Ozen Alkan was detained while she was visiting her husband, already under arrest over his alleged links to the Gulen movement.
On June 29, at least 30 people were detained as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement followers in Hatay.
On June 30, thirty people, including dismissed policemen, military officers, clerks and Hatay Metropolitan Municipality staff, were detained for their use of a smart phone application called ByLock, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
On June 30, Jiyar Gol, BBC World Bilingual correspondent and filmmaker, tweeted that he was detained by police at İstanbul’s Atatürk Airport and then deported because of his reports on Turkey.
According to the tweets posted by Gol, he was kept under custody for five hours.
“Yesterday, I was detained in Istanbul airport, searched, interrogated then deported, reasons my reports for the BBC,” Gol said in a tweet.
“Arrested in Istanbul airport, detained 5hes, deported. Reason, my reports,” Gol said in another tweet before adding: “I should correct this, detained for 5 hrs.”
Gol later announced that he landed in Erbil.
On June 30, twelve people including people from Izmir’s Ege University were detained as part of an investigation against the Gülen movement.
On June 30, at least 30 people including housewives and former public servants who were dismissed from their jobs over links to the Gülen movement.
On June 30, 14 people including journalist Hakan Gülseven detained for alleged terrorist propaganda and allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on social media. The suspects taken under custody as part of an Izmir-based operation with Gulseven rounded up in the neighboring province of Balikesir.
Editor-in-chief of the leftist news website Redaktif, Gulseven tweeted early Friday: “They are taking me too. Ayvalik Police Station [in Balikesir].”
On July 1, fourteen people in İzmir and the chief editor of the Redaktif website, Hakan Gülseven, in Balıkesir were detained on grounds of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Diken news portal reported.