Turkish police waiting at mother’s hospital room to detain her just after delivery

Turkish police have reportedly been waiting in a hospital room to detain a woman named as Merve A., who has delivered a baby at Sevgi Hospital in Balıkesir province on Saturday.

According to information shared by Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu, police have started to wait in the Merve A.’s room for detention after her delivery over her alleged links to the Gülen movement. Tanrıkulu has also called Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım to stop this policy.

According to the information posted by  on Twitter, the police officers have warned Merve A. that if her husband will not be surrendered the prosecutor has ordered them to detain her. Turkey has experienced more than 30 cases in the same type in recent months. 

Teacher Ü. Monos, who gave birth on Tuesday, had been detained shortly after delivery by police who were waiting outside her room at Ankara Ortadoğu Hospital. According to Turkish media, Monos is an English teacher and has been sought by police over her alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that detention of women on coup charges shortly after giving birth is unacceptable and called on Turkish authorities to stop “acting out of vengeance” in post-coup operations. Speaking during a live show on HaberTürk TV in September, Kılıçdaroğlu drew attention to the human tragedies caused by the ongoing purge carried out by the government. Noting that action should be taken only if there is concrete evidence, he said that mothers and newly born babies are being separated for no legal reason.

“The state does not act out of vengeance. The state does not act with anger, animosity. If there is evidence, you take it and do what is necessary. I have many examples. A woman gives birth. And her 5-day-old baby is taken away. And she is kept at a police station for three days. We object to this. This is wrong. How can something like this happen? Let’s say that woman is guilty. What is the child’s crime? Let him, at least, suckle at his mother’s breast. That baby needs milk. Believe me, we have highlighted similar incidents many times,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

In a similar reaction, a CHP deputy revealed the dimensions of the ongoing government crackdown on people affiliated with the Gülen movement by sharing the story of a dismissed teacher and his wife who are being held in different sections of the same prison. Speaking during a live show on Halk TV, Atila Sertel said he paid a visit to Şakran Women’s Prison in İzmir and witnessed the ongoing violations of even the most fundamental human rights.

According to Sertel, a housewife named Fadime and her teacher husband were arrested and put in different sections of the same prison, while their children were sent to Bitlis province. The couple is accused of involvement in the coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Sertel criticized the Turkish government for arresting hundreds of housewives on coup charges, saying that he does not understand “how a housewife can be seen as a coup perpetrator.”

The 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.

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, 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.

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