Mother with 13-month-old detained in İstanbul over Gülen links

Elif Çadırcı, a mathematics teacher and mother of 13-month-old Melek Gül, was detained on Friday over alleged links to the Gülen movement and sent to Tokat for interrogation, a city located some 780 kilometers from where she was detained.

According to Bold Medya, Çadırcı was detained as part of an investigation launched by the Tokat Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and transferred there for further questioning.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement 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. Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

The detention and arrest of pregnant women and mothers with young children have dramatically increased in Turkey in the aftermath of the attempt.

According to a report released by Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a human rights activist and deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), there are currently 3,000 children locked up with their mothers, 800 of whom are below the age of three.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in a statement on February 20 that a total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 301,932 have been detained, while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,467 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed on alleged links to the movement.

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