Teacher commits suicide on Teachers’ Day after being expelled from job

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A 57-year-old teacher who was recently dismissed from his job over alleged links to the Gülen movement was found hanged in his home in the central province of Çorum on Nov. 24, which is marked in Turkey as Teachers Day.

Ergülü Yıldız was serving as deputy principal in a middle school in the Sungurlu district when he was fired by the Education Ministry along with thousands of other teachers as part of a post-coup crackdown on alleged followers of the Gülen movement.

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.

Yıldız was also briefly detained. When his relatives failed to get any news from him for some time, they went to the police. Police teams went to Yıldız’s house and found his body hanging from the ceiling of his house. His body was taken to Sungurlu State Hospital for an autopsy.

Apart from relatives, around 25 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.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan 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 115,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 90,000 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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