Çiğdem Mater, a film producer and journalist serving an 18-year sentence in connection with the 2013 Gezi Park protests, said in an interview that an ordinary day around family members is what she misses the most.
Speaking to the T24 news website, Mater talked about her incarceration in a women’s prison in İstanbul and the Gezi Park trial that led to her conviction.
“I am not a naive person, but throughout the trial, I always thought our innocence would be understood at some point,” Mater said. “The country’s judiciary has performed poorly for 100 years. We are not the first. I would say that I hope we will be the last, but that would be naive.”
“My mother, my father, my partner, my friends — they were all drawn along with me into an absurd spiral that none of us deserved. I am both ashamed and grateful.”
Mater described the current situation of the country as the “dominance of mediocrity.”
Handed down on charges of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government for her alleged role in the Gezi Park protests, Mater’s sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals in September, along with those of civil society leader Osman Kavala, human rights lawyer and opposition lawmaker Can Atalay, city planner Tayfun Kahraman and filmmaker Mine Özerden.
Kavala, who has been behind bars since 2017 despite a European Court of Human Rights order for his release, was sentenced to life in prison, while the other defendants in the trial were sentenced to 18 years each.
The 2013 Gezi Park protests erupted over government plans to demolish Gezi Park in Taksim. They quickly turned into mass anti-government demonstrations that were violently suppressed by the government, leading to the death of 11 protestors due to the use of disproportionate force by the police.
Turkey was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in October, dropping one rank in comparison to last year.