Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has made a call to the international community, asking them to warn Turkish authorities to take the necessary measures to restore the rule of law and protect fundamental human rights in the country.
Gülen’s message came following the loss of two Turkish families, the Abdürrezzak and Doğan families, in the Maritsa River earlier this week while they were fleeing the Turkish government’s persecution of followers of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The Abdürrezzak family had two children, while the Doğan family had one.
Gülen and the movement strongly deny any involvement in the coup attempt.
The Islamic scholar said he was devastated upon learning of the deaths of the members of the two families in the Maritsa River.
“The unprecedented witch-hunt in Turkey continues in a way leaving no opportunity for innocent people to lead decent lives. As a result of human rights violations, which have been condemned by all human rights monitoring organizations, mainly by UN rapporteurs, citizens of this country who have not committed the slightest act of evil are being obliged to leave their homeland by taking many risks,” Gülen said in his message.
Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of the failed coup in July 2016.
Some 150,000 people have been detained, and nearly 60,000 including academics, judges, doctors, teachers, lawyers, students, policemen and others have been put in pretrial detention since the coup attempt. Meanwhile, 150,000 people have lost their jobs in the government’s post-coup purge of state institutions.
Gülen said the international community should carefully note that while Turkey boasts about hosting refugees from other countries, it puts the lives of its own citizens at risk by forcing them to take perilous journeys to leave the country.
“The international community …. should warn the Turkish authorities to ensure the restoration of law and the protection of fundamental human rights in the country,” added Gülen.
The Turkish government proudly talks about opening the country’s doors to Syrian refugees who have fled the civil war in their country, and Turkey is still hosting around 3 million refugees from Syria alone. However, thousands of Turkish people have been forced to become refugees in various countries due to the government’s ongoing witch-hunt against the Gülen movement.