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Engineering professor, family detained near Greek border while fleeing witch-hunt in Turkey

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Former assistant professor at Istanbul University’s faculty of engineering E.Ö. was detained along with his family in Turkey’s border town of Meriç as they were attempting to flee to Greece on Saturday.

E.Ö. was an engineering professor at Istanbul University until he was dismissed as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement, which the government considers to be behind a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Gendarmerie forces in Meriç stopped a car upon information earlier provided by an informant and detained E.Ö., his wife T.Ö. and his children A.K.Ö. and İ.Ö. as well as a driver identified as G.A.

A.K.Ö is reported to be 11 years old while his brother is only 8.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Recep Tayyip 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.

In a currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention.

A report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that although President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government immediately put the blame for the July 15 failed coup on the faith-based Gülen movement, the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge, according to a report by The Times newspaper on Jan. 17. (Turkey Purge)

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