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Student jumps to his death from Galata Tower over father’s imprisonment

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Nahit Emre Güney, a 26-year-old university student, died on Wednesday after he jumped from the observation deck of Galata Tower, an İstanbul tourist destination, due to depression caused by the imprisonment of his father in a post-coup purge, the Bold Medya news website reported.

According to Bold Medya, Emre, who was studying law at İstanbul University, was the son of Haşim Güney, a former member of the Council of State who was imprisoned in July 2016 after a failed coup took place in Turkey. Emre began to receive psychological treatment following the arrest of his father.

Following the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces, were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

The Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, is accused by the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of masterminding the failed coup and is labeled a “terrorist organization,” although the movement denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Haşim Güney was convicted of membership in the Gülen movement and was sentenced to 10 years in prison, according to Bold Medya. He has been in prison for the past six years.

According to a statement by Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu a total of 319,587 people were detained and 99,962 were arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement.

A joint report by the Justice for Victims Platform and Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a human rights advocate and lawmaker from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said the two-year-long state of emergency declared after the failed putsch caused immense suffering among public servants who were dismissed from their jobs by the government as well as their families.

The dismissed civil servants lost 70 percent of their average monthly income, a circumstance that reduced them to dire financial straits, according to a survey conducted for the report.

According to the victims’ family members taking part in the survey, the biggest problem they have been facing is economic hardship (97.9 percent) followed by psychological problems (88.6 percent), loss of social prestige and social exclusion (83.7 percent), disintegration of social circles (83.1 percent), unemployment/lack of employment (80.4 percent) and lack of social security (73.2 percent).

Prior to Güney’s suicide, a total of 84 people in Turkey had died by suicide as a result of the post-coup purge since 2016, according to data released by the Brussels-based human rights monitor Solidarity with OTHERS.

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