Woman arrested to serve sentence for conviction of Gülen links, leaving children to the care of relatives

A mother of three on Sunday was arrested to serve a sentence for conviction of links to the Gülen movement, leaving her children to the care of relatives, the Bold Medya news website reported.

Nagehan Yüksel reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 at the time of her arrest. She was sent to Istanbul’s Bakırköy Prison, where she will serve a nine-year sentence.

Before she was arrested Yüksel shared a video on social media in which she said she would stand strong against injustice.

Yüksel’s husband Ufuk Yüksel was arrested on similar charges and has been in Eskişehir Prison for the last six years. Their youngest child, 5-year-old Yiğit Yusuf, is in the care of by his aunt, while other the other children, aged 9 and 13, are with their grandmother.

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 Turkish government accepted such daily activities as having an account at or depositing money in a Gülen movement-affiliated bank, working at any institution linked to the movement or subscribing to certain newspapers and magazines as benchmarks for identifying and arresting tens of thousands alleged members of the movement on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

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.

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