Turkish gov’t puts babies, mothers behind bars without slowing down

A 4-month old infant has been taken into prison by Turkish government along with her mother in Turkey’s Kahramanmaraş province. While the infant’s mother Arzu Aygün was being detained over alleged links to Gülen movement, its father has remained in prison since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Meanwhile, another mother Rabiye Durmaz was detained in the southern province of Adana on the basis of alleged link over Gülen movement as part of fear and intimidation campaign. Her three children became parentless because of their father was already being jailed over the same charges.

In the absence of their parents, three children are being taken care by their 55-year-old grandmother even though in a video footage in social media she told how she can take care of these children while she is patient with blood pressure along with leukemia. In the video footage, the old woman stated that she has no more strength to stand, and asked for help to fulfil children’s needs.

“I am a 55-year-old mother. I am a leukemia patient. Plus, I have high blood pressure. But, I have had a run of bad luck. At this age, I have seen everyting. After the coup attempt, they [police] took my son. Right after that, they took my daughter. They jailed them. She was held in prison [for some time] and then she was released. And one week later, police came to our door again. We have three kids at home. What will happen to those kids? No one cares about what will happen to these kids at home. They [police] came again at around 12 a.m. – 1 p.m and said: ‘Ms. Rabia [her daughter], we will take your testimony again. Come with us to the police station.’ And she never came back. I am sick. And I am now
responsible for three kids. Let alone looking after the kids, I hardly put one foot in front of the other. What am I supposed to do? Where am I supposed to go? They took the mother of these kids. What these kids are supposed to do without their mother and father? Help me. I do not know how I can take all these,” the woman said in a video recording recently shared on social media.

Rabiye Duymaz, the mother of three kids aged between 2-5, was imprisoned as part of an Adana-based investigation into the Gülen movement. After spending some three months in prison, she was released on pending trial, however; she was then re-arrested by the same court and sent to Adana Prison, where she is currenlty being held over alleged membership to the Gülen movement.

According to a report published by online news portal Aktif Haber, as of April 2017, the number of infant prisoners increased by 20 percent. Mostly younger than 2 years old, 700 children, aged between 0 to 6, are being held in Turkish jails along with their mothers since the state of emergency (OHAL).

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy and member of Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights, Gamze Akkuş İlgezdi, told the number of children staying along with their mothers behind bars hit 668 as of August 15, 2017.  In the report of “560 Infants being held with their Mothers!”, deputy İlgezdi announced the number of children in Turkish prisons hit 560, meaning each day at least one child was put in prison with its mother until today.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the  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’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. Turkish government has also suspended or dismissed more than 150,000  judges, teachers, police and civil servants after the coup attempt. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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