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Research assistant kills 4 at Eskişehir university after accusing them of being Gülen followers

A research assistant at Osmangazi University in the central Turkish province of Eskişehir has shot and killed four university employees who he has been accusing of being members of the Gülen movement, Turkish media outlets reported on Thursday.

The research assistant, Volkan Bayer, killed Mikail Yalçın, the assistant dean of the education faculty; Fatih Özmutlu, secretary of the education faculty; research assistant Yasir Armağan; and associate professor Serdar Çağlak.

The assailant was captured by police teams still in possession of his gun following the attack.

University Rector Hasan Gönen said Bayer used to accuse the victims of being members of “FETÖ,” a derogatory term coined by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to refer to the Gülen movement, accused of mounting a botched coup attempt in July 2016.

The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed coup.

Gönen said education faculty dean Professor Cemil Yücel was the assailant’s primary target, but he wasn’t in his office at the time of the attack.

Professor Ayşe Aypay, from the same university, said many complaints had been filed against Bayer by the victims, but the authorities took no action to launch an investigation into him.

“Who will give an accounting of protecting Volkan Bayer for one-and-a-half years?” asked Aypay.

Eskişehir Governor Özdemir Çakacak said in a statement on Thursday that an extensive investigation has been launched into the incident to ascertain the motive for the attack.

The failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the 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 other civil servants since July 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on Dec. 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested. On Dec. 13, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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