Thousands of social media users in Turkey have called on authorities to release Gülten Sayın, the mother of Yusuf Kerim Sayın (6), who is suffering from bone cancer, after the child’s father posted a video of him crying and asking for his imprisoned mother.
”Yusuf Kerim needs his mother during the ongoing treatment. ‘I want my mother’ he cries… Let Yusuf be with his mother,” his father, Süleyman Sayın, tweeted Saturday.
Yusuf Kerim'in durumu ortada tedavinin iyi gidebilmesi için annesine ihtiyacı var "Annemi istiyorum" diyor. yetkililere ve vicdan sahiplerine bir kere daha seslenmek istiyorum,bu durumda siz olsaydınız ne yapardınız?
YusufAnnesiyle İyileşsin pic.twitter.com/MH27IzNwLa
— Süleyman sayın (@slymnsyn87) February 25, 2023
The video triggered reactions from Turkish politicians, lawyers, human rights advocates and others.
Gülten Sayın is currently serving a sentence on conviction of alleged links to the Gülen movement.
Peoples’ Democratic Party deputy and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a medical doctor by profession, recently 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.”
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 a coup attempt in 2016 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 the abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.