Ministry warns jails of revolts amid fears of staged prison breaks

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Amid increasing fears of staged prison breaks to kill political prisoners in Turkey, the Ministry of Justice sent a memo to prisons across country on Saturday to warn administrations about possible revolts by prisoners arrested over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

According to Turkish media the official memo from the Ministry of Justice sent on behalf of Minister Bekir Bozdağ, revolts are expected on Nov 21-23 and hostage situations could emerge. The ministry ordered all prison administrations to increase security measures and to monitor intra-prison intelligence.

In October, Bozdağ had rejected claims by a pro-government news channel that jailed members of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, were planning to break out of prison, accompanied by a prison break map that turned out to be a sketch of electrical circuitry.

Despite the fact that NTV’s story was considered scandalous by many social media users for endangering the lives of hundreds of people in prison, Bozdağ said in Ankara on Friday that he believes the sketches were publicized in order to motivate prisoners who are on the verge of a psychological breakdown to remain strong.

Ömer Turanlı, a lawyer representing a former police chief imprisoned as part of a crackdown against the movement, claimed on Nov. 6 that the Turkish government is headed for mass killings of people jailed over alleged or real links to the Gülen movement, in a staged riot in Silivri Prison.

“According to unconfirmed information my clients received from their families, officials will open the gates [of holding cells] in order for prisoners to escape as if in a prison break. And then soldiers will be ordered to shoot them,” Turanlı tweeted.

 

In September a pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) Twitter troll named Ahmet Üstün (@ustunn_ahmet) called on the government to make plans for the massacre of all Gülen sympathizers who are currently behind bars.

“There should be no other inmates in the prisons where FETÖ members are jailed. Special execution teams should be deployed there. FETÖ and its jailed members should know that only the dead bodies of FETÖ members who make escape plans can be taken out of jail. The guns of prison guards should be taken away, FETÖ members including military members, police officers, prosecutors and judges should be collected in one or two prisons. PÖH [special police units] should operate with the authority to kill 24/7,“ wrote Üstün in a series of tweets.

Since the failed coup on July 15, as part of a massive purge Turkey has arrested tens of thousands of citizens for their alleged ties to the Gülen movement based on guilt by association only. Following the arrests, the pro-government media has been running stories of possible uprisings in prisons although not a single act of resistance against detentions or arrests has taken place. Such stories raise concerns of mass killings of inmates in an effort to exterminate Gülen movement followers in prisons as the final step of the massive purge

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