Serkan Golge had been making dinner with his wife Kubra at his parent’s house when came a frantic knock at their front gate. The policemen at the door were in no mood to explain, summarily dragging Mr Golge away in handcuffs to a local station in the southern Turkish city of Antakya.
It was only eight days after last year’s failed coup attempt against Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but already the reprisals were in full swing.
The 37-year-old Nasa physicist, a Turkish-American citizen who was working on the manned mission to Mars programme, was one of tens of thousands of academics, police, military and journalists who were rounded up and detained as Mr Erdogan sought to re-establish his grip on power.
Mr Golge sat through several hours of questioning before being told of his alleged crime – supporting the organisation of Fethullah Gulen, a one-time friend of Mr Erdogan’s now living in …