Assistant professor investigated due to Gülen links commits suicide

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Mustafa Sadık Akdağ

A 34-year old assistant professor in the faculty of dentistry at Ordu University in Turkey’s Black Sea region, Mustafa Sadık Akdağ, has committed suicide, apparently because of the psychological trauma he experienced from being investigated due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

Akdağ shot himself to death at the house of one of his friends in the Black Sea province of Trabzon on Monday.

Leaving a suicide note behind, he wrote: “Nobody is responsible for my death. An accusation was directed at me. I am referring those who directed this accusation at me to God.”

Turkish media reports said Akdağ was recently interrogated by prosecutors due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement and released.

Akdağ’s body was taken to the Trabzon Council of Forensic Medicine for an autopsy, while an investigation has been launched into his death.

More than 30 people have 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 have been 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 (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. 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.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, 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 due to their alleged links to the movement.

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