Elif Akkuş, a correspondent for Turkish public broadcaster TRT, spent a day with mothers and children at Sincan Prison in Ankara and said that conditions in prison are “much more pleasant” than at home.
Akkuş said the prison provides humane conditions for most inmates and that, contrary to popular belief, all the needs of prisoners are taken into account. She stated that children who are staying in prison with their mothers until the age of six have the opportunity to go to kindergarten and that the conditions for children in prison are much better than those outside its walls.
”The state sees those children as its own and offers them every opportunity to live and grow up independently of the conditions there,” she added.
Akkuş, did not include political prisoners and their children in her report and also did not mention rights violations that human rights defenders and prisoners have been exposing in letters or through their lawyers.
Dr. Emre Turkut, a human rights lawyer based in Berlin, responded to the news, saying that it looks like propaganda and that TRT is distorting the facts about Turkish prisons.
In Turkey, over 1.900 children are jailed with their mothers.
The below propaganda video aims to give a false image of life at Turkish prisons and to deceive the outer world
as to what is really happening to incarcerated mothers and their children.https://t.co/CU7mvANqmX https://t.co/0LV2ZApW6W
— Emre Turkut (@emreturkut) November 13, 2022
The detention and arrest of pregnant women and mothers with young children have dramatically increased in Turkey in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt. As of December 2021 there were 548 children that are between 0-6 years of age in prison with their mothers.
Many woman referred to the mistreatment they were subjected to and talked about the poor conditions for babies and children in prison.
Human rights advocates have said children accompany their mothers in prison at very young ages, which are often critical periods in their mental and physical development. However, children are not provided basic needs such as crayons or toys. Some cells are not provided with a carpet for crawling babies, and inmates make makeshift rugs out of blankets. Many children do not have their own beds and share their mothers’ food.