Turkish medical student commits suicide in cult-run dormitory after describing oppression

A young Turkish medical student has committed suicide after he described in a video about the oppressive environment in his student dormitory run by a religious sect. Enes Kara, 20, has said that the sect was forcing him to pray, to attend religious class, and read religious books.

Ardıl Batmaz / DUVAR

A Turkish medical student has ended his life after posting a video in which he detailed the oppressive environment in his student dormitory run by a religious sect.

In the video, Enes Kara (20), in his second year at the Medical Faculty of Fırat University in the eastern province of Elazığ, says that he is forced to pray and read the books the cult tells him to.

He says he is “very tired psychologically” and cannot endure this environment. He also says that he has “lost his enthusiasm for life” and that he is afraid to tell this to his family.

Kara left a note of suicide in which he said the cult was forcing him to pray and attend the religious classes although he was not a Muslim.

“In the cult-run dormitory I am staying at, it is obligatory to pray, to attend the cult's lessons and to read the books they give. I am not a Muslim, my family does not know this, when I said that I wanted to leave this place, I got an answer of 'no,'” he reportedly wrote in his suicide note.

Other residents of the apartment as well as students said that the dormitory belonged to the Nur Cult.

Meanwhile, Kara's friends gathered at the premises of Fırat University, observing a moment of silence. “How many more lives do we have to lose to take an action? We demand that this situation is tackled and that families, teachers, the management do something about this,” said their statement read out by one of the students.

They also said that the house in which Kaya was staying belonged to the Nur Cult, and demanded that the state provide enough number of housing opportunities for students. They pointed out that several students are being pushed to cult-run dormitories in the face of a lack of enough number of state-run dormitories.

After the students' statement, a person, who did not reveal his identity, told journalists not to ask any questions about the cult. A local newspaper's managing editor recounted the incident, saying the relevant person had “tried to pressure them not to make a news story of the incident.” “When we asked him who he was, he did not give an answer and claimed that he was a student. We don't know if he has a connection to the cult, but it was a suspicious incident,” Günışığı newspaper's managing editor Faik Akgün said.

The insufficient number of state-run dormitories in Turkey is pushing students to find accommodation at dormitories affiliated with religious cults. Experts have been for years calling on the government to expropriate these cult-run dormitories.

(English version by Didem Atakan)