Turkish Police Expel Alparslan Kuytul’s Followers from Three Mosques
Windowofworld.com – Turkish authorities forcibly evict followers of Muslim leader Alparslan Kuytul from three mosques in southern Turkey.
The police said their prayer meeting was a provocation against the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Footage showed police clashing with a group of people at a mosque in Gaziantep province on Sunday and forcibly taking them outside, while several people shouted, “We are reading the Koran.”
A police officer is seen using pepper spray.
Turkey has imposed a full lockdown until mid-May to try to cut the rate of COVID-19 infections that have spiked in recent weeks.
Prayers at mosques are not prohibited under the policy, but authorities in Gaziantep said the group attempted to be at the mosque during the last days of Ramadan without prior permission.
The governor’s office Gaziantep said on Monday that 76 people who entered the three mosques were related to a previous terrorism investigation against them.
It said police had detained them after they became involved in civil disobedience and began swearing.
The police added that the judicial proceedings were launched because the people were threatening and insulting and for violating the lockdown.
“The people who carried out this provocation were followers of (religious leader) Alparslan Kuytul who had been repeatedly investigated before on charges of terrorism and their aim was not to worship but civil disobedience,” said a statement from the governor’s office.
Kuytul was arrested in 2018 and tried on terrorism-related charges but was released last year.
He said on his Twitter account that members of his group are purely trying to worship and do not provoke.
The governor’s office said officers using pepper spray inside the mosque had been sanctioned.
Turkey has imposed a full lockdown from April 29 to May 17, as daily coronavirus cases soared to new record highs.