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Mother, wife of Özakça detained after starting hunger strike

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Sultan Özakça and Esra Özakça, the mother and wife of Semih Özakça, a fired educator who was detained early on Monday morning along with Nuriye Gülmen in the 75th day of a hunger strike protesting the loss of their jobs, were also detained on Monday in Ankara after they announced they were starting a hunger strike to protest the detentions, the t24 news website reported.

According to the report, Sultan and Esra Özakça were detained with others who had gathered on Kızılay’s Yüksel Avenue, where Özakça and Gülmen had been on a hunger strike until they were taken into custody, to protest the detention of the two educators. Esra Özakça was taken to a hospital after suffering adverse effects from tear gas used by police.

In the meantime, 25 people who were detained in Istanbul’s Kadıköy, Kartal and Üsküdar districts while demonstrating support for Özakça and Gülmen were taken to the Istanbul Courthouse to testify to a prosecutor.

Semih Özakça and Nuriye Gülmen, educators who went on a hunger strike after they were fired by government decree in the aftermath of a July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, were detained on the 75th day of their protest.

Gülmen was fired from Konya Selçuk University for her alleged ties to the Gülen movement. Özakça was a teacher at a primary school in Turkey’s eastern province of Mardin before he was purged over ties to a terrorist organization.

The detentions took place in the early hours of Monday.

“The political police are breaking our door,” Nuriye Gülmen tweeted.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has called on the government to allow Gülmen and Özakça to return to their jobs.

“By detaining two young people who have been on a hunger strike, the government has proven that it sees all those who claim their rights against unlawfulness as a threat. I hope Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who were dismissed by KHKs [government decrees], can return to their jobs before it is too late,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in a Twitter message on Monday.

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