EP’s Piri: Questions about July 15 persist

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Kati Piri

Kati Piri, Turkey rapporteur for the European Parliament, said despite the passage of four months since a July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, questions about the attempt still persist.

“We don’t clearly know what happened and who was really behind it. Questions about July 15 are still there despite the fact that four months have passed. Investigative journalists do not have a chance to investigate and write about what happened,” said Piri, upon a question as to whether the Gülen movement was behind the coup attempt, during a press meeting in Strasbourg.

Piri also underlined that European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans’s remarks on July 15 were misinterpreted. Knack, a Belgian magazine, published an interview last week with Timmermans saying that the Turkish government’s argument that Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen is behind the coup is not complete nonsense.

Concerned about news on prisons

Concerning claims that the Turkish government is planning to stage riots in prisons to eliminate political prisoners, Piri said they are aware of the claims and are concerned.

Underlining that due to restrictions it is difficult to obtain information about what is going on in prisons in Turkey, Piri recalled that a report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) is still been awaiting Turkish approval for publication.

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.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, 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.

A report published by the German Focus magazine in August claimed that Turkish government members decided to put the blame for the coup attempt on Gülen half an hour after the uprising and agreed to begin a purge of Gülen followers the next day.

About 126,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 92,000 detained and over 39,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.

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