Purge-victim teacher dies of cancer after spending 3 years in jail

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Tacettin Toprak

Tacettin Toprak, a 36-year-old teacher who was purged from his job by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016, died shortly after he was released from prison, according to Turkish media reports over the weekend.

Toprak was among the thousands of teachers who were removed from their posts and subsequently jailed due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding the coup attempt. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed putsch.

Toprak was suffering from bladder cancer when he was arrested in the western province of Manisa following the abortive putsch. During the three years he spent in prison, he reportedly did not receive proper treatment and the cancer spread to his lungs. Although he repeatedly asked for his release from prison due to his medical condition, all his requests were turned down by the courts until Aug. 3 of this year.

The former teacher died on Aug. 23 and was laid to rest in Manisa the following day. He is survived by his wife and two young children.

There have been many deaths in Turkey’s prison among the victims of a massive purge launched by the Turkish government against the followers of the Gülen movement as they have either been denied proper treatment or not released from jail to receive necessary treatment.

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