Interior Minister Soylu accused jailed hunger strikers of 'militant' links

Interior Minister Soylu accused jailed hunger strikers of 'militant' links

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu accused hunger strikers Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca of being 'DHKP-C member'.

Turkey's Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said, literature professor Nuriye Gulmen and primary school teacher Semih Ozakca have links to the DHKP-C.

Nuriye Gulmen and Semih Ozakca were detained on Monday and jailed on Tuesday. They lost their jobs in a purge following a failed coup on July 16.

The teachers have been living on a liquid diet of lemon and saltwater and sugar solutions. Doctors say they have lost weight and their health is deteriorating.

Speaking in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the two teachers had participated in activities organised by the DHKP-C prior to their dismissal, and accused them to be members of DHKP-C since 2012.

But this accusation challenged by Gulmen and Ozakca's lawyer. Selcuk Kozagacli, a lawyer representing the teachers, told Reuters Gulmen and Ozakca had both been acquitted of the charges mentioned by the ministers in 2012.

Gulmen and Ozakca, said their hunger strike is aimed at highlighting the plight of 150,000 state employees suspended or sacked after the failed coup.

While Turkish officials say the purges are necessary due to the gravity of the coup attempt which killed 240 people, critics in Turkey and abroad say Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to muzzle dissent and purge opponents. (EVRENSEL DAILY)

Last update: 26 May 2017 00:23