Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into a man on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization” after he tweeted Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s remarks previously aired on the now-closed Samanyolu TV, which was among the media organizations with close ties to the Gülen movement.
The man named Erdal Yılmaz initially faced charges of “insulting” Minister Soylu. As the investigation was ongoing, his house was raided by anti-terror police upon the accusations of being “a member of an armed terrorist organization” and a confidentiality order was imposed on the case file, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Oct. 23.
Yılmaz was released pending trial, but was detained once again a month later, this time with the court ruling for his house arrest. In the meantime, Yılmaz’s brother, serving as a police officer in the western province of İzmir, was relegated to a post in the eastern province of Ardahan. Yılmaz’s brother was looking after his father suffering from cancer in İzmir.
Moreover, information with regards to Yılmaz’s family was shared on various “fake” social media accounts by unidentified individuals. These “fake” social media accounts referred to Yılmaz as a “Gülenist” or “member of the DHKP-C,” the outlawed far-left Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).
Yılmaz gave an interview to Cumhuriyet about the injustices having been done to him. “My father was getting [cancer] treatment at [İzmir] 9 Eylül Hospital, but as my brother has been relegated to Ardahan, he can no longer go to hospital. My father had to give a break to his treatment, by signing a paper and going back to the village,” Yılmaz said.
“I am a diabetic patient and suffer from high blood pressure. I cannot leave the house and go and take care of them. I have only done criticism within the framework of freedom of expression. What has been done to me is inhumane,” he said.
Yılmaz’s lawyer Emin Uysal said that his client has been ordered to wear electronic bracelet, which is against the “principle of proportionality.” “There are European Court of Human Rights [ECHR] rulings with regards to this. Our appeal has been denied [at Turkish courts]. And the indictment has not been still prepared,” Uysal said.