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30 students detained over alleged Gulen links denied right to consult a lawyer

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Thirty university students detained by Turkish police over alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement entered the fourth day of detention on Thursday without being allowed to contact their families or a lawyer, the Turkish Bold Medya news website reported.

According to a report by Sevinç Özarslan, the students, all of them women, were taken to the western city of Uşak after police detained them in simultaneous raids in nearby cities and are being held in custody there.

Parents of the students have reportedly camped outside the police station and are waiting to speak with their daughters. Lawyers are also present, but they have not been allowed to meet with the detainees.

“I am informed that [police] have not allowed the students to contact a lawyer for three days. They have encroached on all kinds of freedoms, and now they are usurping the right to a defense,” Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, an MP from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a rights advocate, said on Twitter.

Ankara has designated the Gülen movement, a faith-inspired group led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, as a terrorist organization.

Turkish authorities carried out a massive crackdown on the movement after a failed 2016 coup that targeted President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who accuses Gülen of orchestrating the coup attempt. Gülen denies the accusation, and the US has declined to extradite him to Turkey, saying that Ankara has not provided adequate evidence for extradition.

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