Turkey cancels visiting hours for post-coup purge prisoners

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Zaman daily journalist Hanım Büşra Erdal

As part of a massive purge following the failed July 15 coup in Turkey, the government has canceled without due process the visiting rights of families of inmates who were arrested on charges of alleged ties to “FETÖ” (Fethullah Terrorist Organization), a term coined by the government.  

According to information provided to Turkish Minute by families and relatives of inmates, individuals who have been arrested on charges of “terrorist links” without any credible evidence in the post-coup purge have been deprived of their legal right to meet with their loved ones. Under normal conditions, inmates are entitled to have open visits once a month and visits behind windows every other week.

Following the foiled coup attempt of July 15, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government quickly began to undertake a purge targeting journalists, academics, businesspeople, schoolteachers and regular citizens from all walks of life with alleged links to the Gülen (Hizmet) Movement, which the government accuses of plotting the coup despite a lack of credible or substantiated evidence.

Fethullah Gülen, a peaceful Islamic scholar who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, is accused by the Turkish state of leading a terrorist organization. Despite Turkish requests for his extradition from the US, Turkey has not been able to provide any solid evidence of criminal or terrorist activity on the part of the movement, which is known for its educational work around the world.

According to the Turkey Purge website, which monitors human rights violations in Turkey in the wake of the coup attempt, the regime in Turkey has so far purged 81,494 people, detained 40,029 and arrested 20,355 while shutting down 1,284 universities, schools, dormitories and other educational institutions.

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