Seher Gök, a mother of three, was arrested on Wednesday to serve a sentence for conviction of links to the Gülen movement, leaving her three young children to the care of relatives.
Gök’s arrest was announced on Twitter by Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who called for her immediate release. “Gök has three children, aged 4, 6 and 10, and one of the children suffers from a chronic disease,” he added.
One of Gök’s children has Addison’s disease, a hormonal disorder that prevents the body from producing cortisol. According to Gergerlioğlu, the child needs to take medicine every four hours to manage the disease.
Gök was sentenced to three years, one month in prison. She was living in eastern Malatya province at the time of her arrest, but Gergerlioğlu did not disclose to which prison she was sent.
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government launched a war against the Gülen movement, a worldwide civic initiative inspired by the ideas of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, after the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013 that implicated then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family members and inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy, the AKP government designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. They intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that they accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.
The purge has damaged the unity of many families and left children to the care of relatives. Such separations have had a negative impact on the mental and physical well-being of children. In cases where grandparents are responsible of the child’s care, they cannot meet every need, especially in education.
According to a statement by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, as of November 15, 2021 a total of 319,587 people had been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt.