Gülten Sayın, the mother of 6-year-old Yusuf Kerim Sayın, who is suffering from a type of bone cancer, was arrested on December 16 to serve a prison sentence on charges of links to the Gülen movement, the Kronos news website reported.
Peoples’ Democratic Party deputy and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a medical doctor by profession, said, “Ewing’s sarcoma, which Yusuf Kerim was diagnosed with, is one of the deadliest of cancers. The truth is that the mother might lose her son while she’s in prison. The child does not have much of a chance to survive. If they give the mother at least six months to be together with her son, she would be with her child before his death. Who knows how Sayın is feeling now in prison.”
Süleyman Sayın, father of Yusuf Kerim, said their request for postponement of his wife’s prison sentence was declined by a local court.
Speaking to Kronos, Gergerlioğlu said postponing a sentence of up to three years may be possible in special cases but that it’s not possible if the sentence is longer than three years or if a person is imprisoned on terrorism-related crimes.
Sayın was sentenced to six years, three months for working at a student dormitory in the northwestern province of Sakarya that the government subsequently closed down because of alleged ties to the Gülen movement. She was also accused of depositing money in Bank Asya, which was closed by the government after the coup attempt because of its links to the movement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.