Jailed Brig. Gen. Yavuz Ekrem Arslan, the former commander of the Manisa 1st Infantry Training Brigade, died on Monday at the Gülhane Military Hospital (GATA), where he was receiving treatment, the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported.
Arslan was detained in the wake of a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016. He was later arrested by a court and put in pretrial detention. He was transferred to GATA when he fell ill after spending 259 days in jail.
SCF reported in one of its studies titled “Suspicious Deaths and Suicides In Turkey” that there has been an increase in the number of suspicious deaths in Turkey, mostly in jails and detention centers where torture and ill-treatment are practiced. In most cases, authorities called these deaths suicides without any effective, independent investigation.
Suspicious deaths have also taken place beyond prison walls amid psychological pressure and threats of imminent imprisonment or torture, sometimes following the release of suspects or just before their detention. SCF has compiled 92 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list as of Nov. 2, 2017 in a searchable database format.
Turkey survived a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, 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.
Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.