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Ailing purge victim calls for release of husband from jail to help her survive

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Fatma Görmez, a former teacher who was removed from her job in the aftermath of a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, now weighs only 29 kilograms due to a series of health problems and is calling for the release of her husband to enable her to continue living, according to a video message posted on Twitter.

Following the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement, which it accuses of masterminding the failed coup, removing more than 150,000 public servants from their jobs and jailing 30,000 others on terrorism or coup charges.

The movement strongly denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

Görmez suffers from kidney and heart problems, undergoing several surgeries including a kidney transplant. Her husband, Bekir, is among the thousands who were jailed following the coup attempt due to links to the Gülen movement.

In the meantime, the woman lost her 14-year-old disabled son last year. Her husband was only able to attend the son’s funeral in handcuffs.

Talking about the tragedies she has undergone over the past three years, Görmez says in the video that she now weighs only 29 kilograms and needs the presence and support of her husband to be able to continue living. She also said her 14-year-old daughter needs her father.

Görmez’s call for the release of her husband attracted widespread attention on social media. Famous Turkish pop singer Haluk Levent tweeted: “I don’t know why her husband is in jail. I don’t want to know, either. My conscience won’t let me ignore this. If her 14-year-old daughter is without a family, I will do whatever I can to support her.”

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