Turkish prosecutors have found that a doctor who was removed from his job at a public hospital in İzmir in 2017 due to alleged links to the Gülen movement and subsequently committed suicide did not actually use the ByLock mobile phone application, which is considered to be the top communication tool among Gülen followers according to Turkish authorities, the Evrensel daily reported on Thursday.
Shortly after he was fired from his job at the İzmir-based Katip Çelebi University Hospital in February 2017 as part of an ongoing crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement, Dr. Hasan Orhan Çetin committed suicide by jumping from the 10th floor of the hospital.
Çetin, 30, was an assistant in the biochemistry department of Katip Çelebi University Atatürk Teaching and Research Hospital.
Çetin sustained critical injuries in the fall and could not be saved despite doctors’ efforts.
In an investigation into Çetin, the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office recently decided on non-prosecution of the late doctor because it was found out that Çetin did not use ByLock, Evrensel said.
The İzmir branch of SES, a labor union representing healthcare workers, has issued a statement regarding Çetin’s ordeal and said an investigation on suspicion of causing death should be launched into the Turkish authorities who removed him from his job.
Dozens of people have committed suicide either after they were imprisoned over ties to the movement or after being linked to the movement outside prison. Some of these suicides have been found to be suspicious.
Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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.
Over 150,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged by government decree from state jobs due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, while 50,000 others have been arrested.