Grand Unity Party’s women’s committee member detained after criticizing gov’t policies

Fatma Yümlü, a member of the right-wing Grand Unity Party’s (BBP) women’s committee, was detained on Friday in Ordu province after criticizing government policies, Turkish Media reported.

Yümlü shared images on Twitter of the police detaining her at her workplace. “I don’t know what my crime is,” she said.

Yümlü was released several hours later, after which she claimed she was not interrogated at the police station. “They paraded me in front of my friends and customers as if I were some kind of criminal,” she said.

During an interview with a local television channel on June 30 Yümlü had said there was widespread fear in the society since a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. “We are afraid to criticize anything,” she said. “It is as if we will be detained at any moment. We are all afraid of the government.”

Yümlü had also said she wanted to live in a country where there was justice, that was peaceful, where the economy was thriving and where gender-based violence was not rampant. “It is as if there is only one political party [the Justice and Development Party (AKP)],” she added. “They fear President Recep Tayyip Erdogan more than they fear God.”

Yümlü said there was no justice in the country but that people were afraid to talk publicly about it, fearing prosecution.

People who criticize the government publicly in Turkey are increasingly facing legal charges. Last month a teacher who was fired in the aftermath of the coup attempt was detained after she criticized the policies of the ruling AKP in a street interview.

In December an 80-year-old woman was detained for criticizing Erdogan’s communications director on Twitter.

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