HDP deputy claims coup suspect made to wear ‘hero’ T-shirt to introduce identical uniforms

A picture taken on July 13, 2017 in Mugla, shows Turkish gendarmes escorting a former army special forces officer wearing a t-shirt bearing the word "Hero" and who is accused of attempting to kill Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the July 15, 2016 failed coup attempt. Turkish police have over the last week detained at least 15 people for wearing a T-shirt with a slogan the authorities argue is a veiled message backing the alleged mastermind of last year's failed coup. Police across the country have been detaining people wearing T-shirts with the word "Hero" in English in white capital letters against a black background, with the slogan underneath "Heroes are Immortal". / AFP PHOTO / DHA / STRINGER / Turkey OUT On Right: HDP deputy Ahmet Yıldrım (AFP)

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentary group deputy chairman Ahmet Yıldırım said on Thursday that the government made jailed noncommissioned officer Gökhan Güçlü, a suspect in a failed coup last year, wear a T-shirt bearing the word “hero” on it, which triggered the detention and arrest of people wearing similar shirts and the government seeking to force coup suspects to wear identical uniforms in court.

Speaking during an HDP gathering in İzmir on Thursday, part of nationwide HDP protests against jailed deputies from the party, Yıldırım said the hero T-shirts were a trap set by the government in order to impose identical uniforms on inmates.

It is a high security prison where Güçlü is being held. How is it possible that a T-shirt was easily was taken inside?” he asked.

Yıldırım also claimed that the government would force all terror suspects to wear the uniforms.

After Güçlü, one of the suspects on trial for an assassination attempt against President Erdoğan on the night of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, was thrown out of the courtroom on July 13 for wearing a T-shirt bearing the word “hero” on it, Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 31 that all suspects in ongoing failed coup trials were going to wear identical brown uniforms during court hearings.

More than a dozen people have been detained, with some of them arrested by the court, for wearing the T-shirts since July 13.

Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ said on Tuesday that identical uniforms may be enforced by a government decree that is to be announced in the coming days.

Last week, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said that if a proposed government regulation on uniforms for coup suspects were adopted, nearly 50,000 uniforms would be sewn by inmates and then sent to prisons holding suspects in cases involving followers of the Gülen movement.

Speaking on the issue in July, Turkish President Erdoğan said: “We recently spoke to Mr. Prime Minister. They should wear uniforms like they do at Guantanamo [prison] when going to court.”

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