Turkish physics teacher detained over Gülen links, baby left to neighbor’s care

Derya Erkan, a physics teacher in the Black Sea province of Samsun, was detained on Monday for alleged membership in the Gülen movement and had to leave her infant son with a neighbor to be cared for, the aktifhaber news website has reported.

According to a Twitter account named Mağduriyetler, which reports about the ongoing rights violations in Turkey that escalated in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the baby, Semih, is being breast fed.

Erkan is one of the dozens of mothers who have been separated from their children due to a government-led crackdown on the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the couple of Muammer and Ebru Güler has been detained with their 2-month-old baby girl Sare in Çorlu district of Tekirdağ province on Sunday morning. Their 4 and 7-year-old two children have been abandoned. As the two children, Halil and Ömer, have been crying incessantly because of the trauma they have experienced, the couple have reportedly not been allowed to see their lawyer.

More than 17,000 women in Turkey, many with small children, have been jailed in the 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 last April by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) revealed.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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 Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.” (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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