A university student who was arrested for alleged links to the Gülen movement in a letter from prison said he had been deprived of his education and future opportunities and called for his immediate release.
In the letter was circulated On Twitter since Tuesday evening, Ibrahim Enes Gacar, 21, said he had been an honor student before his arrest. “Even the guards say I’m harmless and have a heart of gold. I ask you, have you ever seen a harmless terrorist? He asked. “I will be the first terrorist in history to have a heart of gold.”
After his arrest, Gacar was placed in solitary confinement for two weeks under quarantine rules. He said the cell was filthy and freezing and he had fallen ill during his time there.
Gacar was a student at Turkey’s prestigious Boğaziçi University. In March 2020, he returned with his family due to the COVID-19 pandemic and did his education online for eight months. He was arrested eight months after moving in with his family and has since been held in Silivri prison in Istanbul.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting supporters of the Gülen Movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since corruption probes from December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and those around him.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and a plot against his government, Erdoğan branded the movement a terrorist organization and began targeting its members. He stepped up the crackdown on the movement following a July 15, 2016 coup attempt that he accused Gülen of orchestrating. Gülen and the movement strongly deny any involvement in the failed putsch or any terrorist activity.
“I was 19 when I was arrested,” Gacar said. “I’ve been under arrest for almost 500 days, and I need the public to know that.”
Gacar said he was arrested after a man known only as LK accused him of being a member of the movement and authorities had no other evidence against him.
Human rights defenders and student groups at Boğaziçi University expressed their solidarity with Gacar on social media.
According to a statement from the Turkish Interior Minister, a total of 319,587 people have been arrested while another 99,962 have been imprisoned due to alleged links with the Gülen movement since the failed coup.