Deputy PM: No victims among Gülen movement

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Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

Rejecting claims of rights violations and torture, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş on Thursday said there were no victims of actions taken by the government following a coup attempt on July 15, the Diken news website reported.

“FETÖ [a derogatory term coined by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government to refer to members of the Gülen movement] victims — there is no such thing. It is a product of a FETÖ perception operation,” said Kurtulmuş.

Underlining that all people having links to the Gülen movement will be brought to justice, Kurtulmuş added that “no one should expect mercy from us in this matter. Coping with FETÖ cannot be done by the softhearted.”

Kurtulmuş announced on Wednesday that prosecutors have taken legal action based on coup charges against a total of 115,000 people who are allegedly connected to the Gülen movement since the failed coup.

People imprisoned as part of a government crackdown on the Gülen movement are being systematically tortured in the most barbaric ways including rape, removal of nails and the insertion of objects into their anuses, Selçuk Kozağaçlı, the president of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), said during the Ankara Bar Association’s general assembly on Oct. 16.

Global human rights organizations as well as press freedom associations on Wednesday urged the Turkish government to end its abuses against perceived critics committed under emergency rule.

In a joint statement released on Oct. 19, the first day of the second state of emergency declared by the government since the July 15 coup attempt, the groups said Turkish authorities abused emergency provisions to stifle dissent through the detention of large numbers of individuals, during the first state of emergency.

“The removal of fair trial protections and crucial safeguards against torture and other ill treatment exceed permissible, justified derogations and risk violating the absolute prohibition in international law against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” the statement said.urged the Turkish government to end its abuses against perceived critics committed under emergency rule on Wednesday.

In a joint statement released on Oct. 19, the first day of the second state of emergency declared by the government since a July 15 coup attempt, the groups said Turkish authorities abused emergency provisions to stifle dissent through the detention of large numbers of individuals, during the first state of emergency.

“The removal of fair trial protections and crucial safeguards against torture and other ill treatment exceed permissible, justified derogations and risk violating the absolute prohibition in international law against torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” the statement said.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the movement having denied the accusation and calling for an international investigation, Erdoğan — calling the     coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

More than 110,000 people have been purged from state bodies and 34,000 arrested since the failed coup. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

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