Elderly woman whose husband is in jail over Gülen links forced to vacate home

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A district governor’s office in the western province of İzmir has ordered an elderly woman whose 80-year-old husband is in prison due to his links to the Gülen movement to vacate their family home, which was seized by the government, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Seventy-five-year-old Ayla Dönmez is the wife of Gürbüz Dönmez, who was known as an education volunteer in İzmir due to his support for the Gülen movement’s educational activities before the movement was branded a terrorist organization by the Turkish government.

The government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Gürbüz Dönmez, who has been behind bars for 22 months, was handed down a jail sentence of 10 years, six months on terrorism charges by the İzmir 2nd High Criminal Court.

The Gürbüz couple, who have no children, had donated the family home to a Gülen-linked foundation upon their death. All the property of the foundation was seized by the government in the aftermath of the failed coup, and it was closed down along with hundreds of other Gülen-linked organizations and businesses.

Following her husband’s arrest, Ayla Dönmez continued to live in their house in the Karabağlar district of İzmir; however, district governor Cemil Özgür Öneği has ordered the woman to vacate the house.

The ordeal of the Dönmez family was brought to public attention by Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a deputy from the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a human rights activist, from his social media account.

In a tweet Gergerlioğlu called on Turkish authorities to stop the eviction of the elderly woman from her house.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 30,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

Turkish Minute

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