A total of 20 people, among which are police officers, prosecutors and teachers, have been found dead in Turkish prisons since the failed coup attempt of July 15, causing serious concern about the fate of thousands of civilians who have been kept in jail in very poor conditions across the country.

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. Rumors also have it that some of the detainees were killed after being subjected to torture under custody.

Here are some of the most controversial deaths and related stories:

  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. A 50-year-old man who was arrested following a failed coup on July 15 on charges of alleged involvement in the attempt was found dead on Tuesday in a prison in Turkey’s Kırıkkale province, the pro-gov’t daily Yeni Şafak reported.


Here is the full list:


Necmi Akman: District Governor, July 20

Mutlu Çil: Police Officer, July 20

Muhammet Mertoğlu: Police Officer, July 21

Halil Gök: Police Officer, July 22

Levent Önder: Lieutenant Colonel, July 22

İsmail Çakmak: Lieutenant Colonel, June 23

Mithat Aynacı: Police Officer, June 25

Vedat Savlu: Businessman, August 2

Ahmet Beşli: Chief Police Officer, August 10

Ömer Çubuklu: Warden, September 1

Mustafa Güneyler: Teacher, September 6

Ali Derebeşı: Principal, September 19

Seyfettin Yiğit: Prosecutor, September 25

Emrah Oğuz: Police Officer, October 3

Adem Tıraş, Police Officer, October 4

Önder Irmak: Sergeant, October 10

Enver Şentürk: Warden, October, 20

Hakkı Topal: Police Officer, October 20

İrfan Kızılarslan: Staff Colonel, October 5

A 50-year-old man, November 9