Police officers in Turkey’s Muğla province on Sunday detained the son of an academic who is suspected of having links to the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup in July, and forced him to ask his father to surrender himself.
The son of S.T., a professor at Selçuk University’s medical faculty, was stopped by police in Muğla’s Bodrum district on Sunday. After his car was searched, the man was forced to tell his father that he needs to turn himself in.
S.T. reportedly left Turkey for the UK on July 16, a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame for the July 15 coup attempt on the Gülen movement. Prosecutors subsequently issued an arrest warrant for him as part of an investigation into the movement.
In a video recording published by pro-government media on Sunday, a police officer told the son: “Tell him!” while S.T. was on the line with his father on a loudspeaker.
“Well, they stopped me. They found books in the car. They already know the car belongs to you,” the son, under pressure, tells his father.
At the same moment, another police officer is indistinctly heard saying “They will detain me,” leading the son repeat the same words.
The video shows that police confiscated some copies of books written by Fethullah Gülen, by whom the movement is inspired.
S.T. told his son that the latter has nothing to do with the books and that he would return to Turkey when the rule of law is ensured in the country. However, the son was detained according to Sabah daily.
Turkey’s law enforcement authorities have detained and even arrested relatives of suspects in post-coup Gülen investigations on multiple occasions.
Both the mother and father-in-law of Adil Öksüz, one of the main suspects wanted for his alleged role in the attempted coup, were arrested in August.
In a separate investigation in late July, police also arrested the wife of critical Turkish journalist Bülent Korucu and vowed to hold her hostage until her husband surrenders to police.
Gülen’s own brothers, nieces, nephews and other relatives have already been arrested on the grounds that they are members of a ‘terrorist organization.’
Critics have lambasted the government for a massive purge it is carrying out that violates the principle of individual criminal responsibility.
Turkey has detained more than 74,000 people and arrested some 35,000 over their alleged links to the movement.