Turkish gov’t jails 108 babies and children more in past 3 months, bringing total to 668

The number of babies and children aged between 0 to 6, who are being held in Turkish prisons along with their parents, rose from 560 to 668, according to the most recent data given by the Turkish government.

As a reply to Turkey’s main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) deputy Gamze İlgezdi’s question motion, Turkish Justice Ministry has stated that the number of children staying along with their mothers behind bars has hit 668 as of July 4, 2017. The corresponding number was 560 in April.

Out of 668, 149 are aged between 0 and 12 months; 140 children are 1-year-old; 124 children are 2 years old; 117 children are 3 years old; 77 children are 4 years old; 44 children are 5 years old; 6 children are 6 years old; while age of the remaining 11 are unknown, the ministry said.

Children are taken into prison in the absence of family members to look after them outside. Turkish government has launched a sweeping crackdown across the country, detaining more than 120,000 and jailing some 55,000 over alleged links to a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

It has become a common occurrence very recently that both parents are arrested by Turkish courts leaving no one outside to care for children. Pregnant women, too, failed to avoid government persecution on many occasions.

Hundreds of women are in pretrial detention in jails across Turkey with their infants, some of them less than six months old, due to a state of emergency declared after a failed coup last year, a BBC Turkish report said on last Friday.

More than 17,000 women in Turkey, many with small children, have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown and subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention centers and prisons as part of the government’s systematic campaign of intimidation and persecution of critics and opponents, a report titled “Jailing Women In Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear released in April by SCF has revealed.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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