Teacher arrested over Gülen links found hanged in Karabük prison

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A middle school teacher who was expelled from his job and subsequently arrested over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement was found hanged in prison in the northwestern province of Karabük on Saturday morning.

Forty-three-year-old Behçet Emdi was one of thousands of teachers who were fired by the Education Ministry in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15 due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding the failed coup attempt.

Emdi was arrested by a court on Thursday and put in a prison in Karabük. He was found hanged in the bathroom of the prison at 7 a.m. on Saturday. His body was taken to the Ankara Council of Forensic Medicine for an autopsy.

Emdi was reportedly receiving psychological treatment after he was fired. His wife, a nurse, was also reportedly removed from her job for the same reason.

Apart from relatives, at least 22 people have reportedly committed suicide either after they were imprisoned over ties to the movement or after being linked to the movement outside prison. Some of these suicides are found to be suspicious.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated 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 over 36,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

 

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