2 educators on hunger strike ‘held responsible’ for coup attempt

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Turkish primary school teacher Semih Ozakca (C) and academic Nuriye Gulmen (3-L) demonstrate with fellow protestors during the 65th day of a hunger strike in protest to decree-law on May 12, 2017 in Ankara. / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

A court decision to arrest two educators who had been fired from their jobs lists the date of their crime as July 15, 2016, the same day a failed coup attempt took place in Turkey, according to their lawyer.

Selçuk Kozağaçlı, attorney for the educators, shared on his social media account on Tuesday that the Ankara 5th Criminal Court of Peace registered the “date of the crime” of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça, who were accused of membership in a terrorist organization, as July 15, 2016.

Do you know the ‘date of the crime’ of Nuriye and Semih? Here, learn it from this copy-paste court! Rejoice that you have found the real putschists!” wrote Kozağaçlı.

Gülmen and Özakça, currently incarcerated, have been on a hunger strike for 119 days to protest their dismissal under state of emergency decree-laws issued after a state of emergency was declared following the failed coup.

Gülmen was fired from Konya Selçuk University for her alleged ties to the faith-based 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 two protested for months in the same area of Ankara before they started their hunger strike. Both were detained several times due to their protests and arrested on terror charges in May.

Last month, Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected a petition for the release of Gülmen and Özakça, arguing that being in prison did not pose a threat to the lives and physical or moral integrity of the educators.

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