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Turkey: protests after teachers jailed over anti-purge hunger strike


Turkey

Turkey: protests after teachers jailed over anti-purge hunger strike

Lawyers for two Turkish teachers who have been on hunger strike for two months in an anti-government protest said on Monday that they had been detained by police.

Literary professor Nuriye Gulmen and primary school teacher Semih Ozakca whose health is said to have deteriorated lost their jobs in the purge that followed last summer’s attempted coup.

They had been highlighting the plight of around 150,000 state employees who were suspended or sacked.

A court document seen by Reuters revealed that the prosecutor jailed the pair on the grounds that the act was committed in the name of DHKP-C, a leftist group deemed a terrorist organisation by Turkey.

One of their lawyers said the authorities feared their hunger strike could spark a wider protest.

The detention of the two led to protests on Tuesday in which police fired tear gas at pockets of demonstrators in Ankara and Istanbul and detained at least a dozen people.