Mothers of imprisoned cadets stage sit-ins at ruling party buildings

Mothers of military cadets who were imprisoned after a 2016 coup attempt have stated sit-in protests in front of several ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) buildings, Turkish media reported.

The women demand justice for their sons who were detained after the failed coup, tried on charges of terrorism and handed down lengthy prison sentences.

The women gathered in front of the AKP provincial building in İstanbul on Monday, only to be blocked by the police.

On Tuesday they took their protest to AKP headquarters in the capital city of Ankara.

They were joined by Cemal Yıldırım, a former civil servant who was dismissed from public service by a government decree. He was detained by the police when he tried hold up a banner.

One of the mothers, Melek Çetinkaya, said it was a double standard that their protest was not permitted while mothers whose children were allegedly kidnapped by the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were allowed to hold sit-ins in front of the Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) headquarters in Diyarbakır.

“If their children were kidnapped by the PKK, ours were kidnapped by the government,” Çetinkaya said.

A total of 259 military cadets are currently held behind bars, according to Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a deputy known for his advocacy for human rights.

Yıldırım, who was released from detention after being fined, said he would continue his protests at AKP headquarters.

“They want to bury us alive,” he told DW. “The AKP destroyed all of our potential career fields. We are unable to get jobs.”

Turkey dismissed some 140,000 civil servants after the coup attempt. The purge victims’ status is registered in social security databases, reducing their chances of obtaining new employment, and they are prevented from leaving the country. (

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