Professor Gözaydın faces 10-year jail sentence on terror charges

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Professor İştar Gözaydın

An indictment prepared by an İzmir prosecutor seeks a jail sentence of between five and 10 years for prominent professor and social scientist İştar Gözaydın on terror charges.

Gözaydın was arrested on Dec. 27 due to her alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which has been declared a terrorist organization by the Turkish government despite the lack of any evidence to this effect.

Gözaydın was a faculty member at İzmir Gediz University, which was shut down by government decree along with thousands of other educational institutions.  A former Fulbright scholar, Gözaydın had worked as a research fellow at Birkbeck, University of London, and is also among the founders of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, a Turkish-based human rights organization.

The indictment cites her job at Gediz University, her appearance on TV programs on the now-closed-down Samanyolu TV and Can Erzincan TV and her having a bank account at Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya as evidence of her membership to a terror organization.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 which 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.

In the 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 March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.

A total of 7,316 academics were dismissed, and 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links.

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