Gendarmes escort father to son’s funeral in handcuffs

The imprisoned father of Bahadır Odabaşı, a 16-year-old who recently died by suicide in Turkey’s Diyarbakır province, was escorted to his son’s funeral yesterday in handcuffs by three gendarmes, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Images of Nureddin Odabaşı held by gendarmes and made to attend his son’s funeral prayer in handcuffs sparked public outrage. Exiled journalist Can Dündar said on Twitter nobody with a conscience could stand watching a father weeping at his son’s funeral in handcuffs.

Other journalists and lawyers expressed disbelief that a grieving father was a flight risk and therefore needed to be restrained.

Ali Babacan, leader of the opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), expressed his condolences on Twitter and said young Bahadır was a victim of injustice in Turkey.

The teenage boy died after he allegedly threw himself from the 10th story of his apartment building due to depression caused by the situation of his father, a former teacher who was fired from his job by an emergency decree and arrested on terrorism-related charges after a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The teenager, whose father has been in prison for the past four years, lapsed into depression and took his own life

Following the coup attempt in 2016, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions, summarily dismissing by means of emergency decree-laws more than 130,000 public servants including academics, teachers, military personnel, diplomats and police officers, for alleged membership in or relationships with the Gülen movement.

The Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, is accused by the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of masterminding the failed coup and is labeled a “terrorist organization,” although the movement denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The purge has damaged the unity of many families and left children to the care of relatives. Such separations have had a negative impact on the mental and physical well-being of the children.

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