Opposition MP demands new parliamentary committee for children of imprisoned families

Babies accompanying their mothers in Konya Ereğli prison.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a lawmaker from Turkey’s Green Left Party (YSP) and a prominent human rights advocate, has demanded the establishment of a new parliamentary sub-committee to focus on problems of children whose fathers and mothers are behind bars, the ANKA news agency reported

According to Gergerlioğlu, the new sub-committee would be set up under the parliamentary Committee on Health, Family, Labor and Social Affairs. 

“Living in prison with their mothers or living outside without their parents causes serious psychological and other health problems in children. These children face regression in brain development and psychological distress,” Gergerlioğlu said.

According to the opposition MP, there are some 12,000 female inmates in Turkish detention facilities, some of whom are behind bars with their children.

Gergerlioğlu said he visited several prisons across Turkey and had the opportunity to observe the situation of children living with their mothers in prison wards. He also said children living outside prison without their parents are discriminated against and encounter difficulties in visiting their family. 

According to a report released by main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu in January, a total of 520 children under the age of six are accompanying their mothers in Turkish prisons, a number that skyrocketed in the aftermath of a coup attempt in July 2016.

Previous reports have also underlined that Turkish prisons do not accommodate the needs of children and infants. Most prisons do not provide crayons, toys or carpets for crawling babies. Many children do not have their own beds and share their mothers’ food.

Activists and opposition politicians have put the issues of lack of hygiene, overcrowding, lack of food and severe mistreatment on the agenda. However, the Turkish government has not responded to these problems or offered solutions. 

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!