Woman, child, accountant, groom are new victims of witch hunt under Turkey’s state of emergency

Büneyye Özmen and her baby.

Turkey has become a stage of enormous human rights violations under a state of emergency declared by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Islamist President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Büneyye Özmen, 29, the mother of a 7-month-old son, has been sentenced to 10 years, six months in prison over her alleged links to the Gülen movement. Özmen was initially detained in October 2017, hours after she gave birth to her son at a hospital in Niğde province. She and her baby were released pending trial after being kept in detention for a week.However, on Friday, a Niğde court reportedly sentenced Özmen to 10 years, six months in prison over alleged membership in the Gülen movement.

There are more than 17,000 women and over 700 children in Turkish prisons. In several cases, women were detained in the hospital immediately after the delivery of her baby and before they had a chance to recover. Many women were jailed as they were visiting their imprisoned husbands, leaving the children stranded in the ensuing chaos.

Savaş Uyar

Meanwhile, Savaş Uyar, a 41-year-old public accountant in Turkey’s Giresun province, has reportedly lost 41 kilograms during months-long pre-trial detention as he is suffering from various medical problems, according to several news sources.

Uyar was briefly jailed due to his accounting contract with some companies seized over their alleged links to the Gülen movement in June 2016. Having spent some time behind bars in pre-trial detention on charges of allegedly “abetting a terror group,” he was released under judicial control. A month after his release, Uyar was re-arrested once more to spend nearly two years in jail on similar charges this time around, according to a report by online news outlet Yeni Hamle in March of this year.

Several Twitter accounts also said Uyar has been suffering from four different medical problems including a brain tumour and valvular heart disease, all of which have caused him to lose 52 kilograms over the past 22 months in pre-trial detention in Giresun Prison.

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrikulu has constantly urged the Turkish government to release Uyar for medical treatment, to no avail. CHP’s Tanrıkulu also said that Uyar’s two children, aged 9 and 16, have been receiving psychological treatment over their father’s jailing.

Last month, Halime Gülsu, a teacher who was arrested on Feb. 20, 2018 for alleged links to the Gülen movement, died in prison due to deprivation of the medication she supposed to take for lupus erythematosus.

Moreover, Arin Rohani, a 4-year-old girl from Turkey’s Mersin province, who has been suffering from microcephaly, a rare medical condition in which the newborn’s skull is much smaller than expected, is unable to leave Turkey for critical treatment as her parents face a travel ban due to the post-coup emergency rule.

In addition microcephaly, Arin also has difficulty speaking and walking, all of which give her a 92-percent disability. One and a half years ago, she received an initial treatment at a private hospital in Germany.

“She stayed at the hospital for 25 days. She was only 1,5 years old. Following the treatment, we were asked to bring her to the hospital once she turns 3. She was supposed to go through related tests and surgery accordingly. Then, my wife and I were dismissed from our jobs. We were barred from going abroad,” Arin’s father Murat Karahan told the Evrensel daily.

Murat Karahan and his wife were working at the municipality of Mersin’s Akdeniz district before they were purged as part of the government’s post-coup crackdown. The administration of the Akdeniz Municipality had earlier been seized over the mayor’s alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), like dozens of other local administrations.

Both Murat Karahan and his wife were also briefly detained after their dismissal. “My travel ban was lifted a month ago. My wife’s ban was revoked as well. However, we are still being denied departure from Turkey after we were dismissed by an emergency decree,” Murat Karahan said.

Karahan couple’s plight is not limited only to a ban on their overseas trip. Now that they are unemployed, the father filed an application for the patient-care-support for their disabled child. “Even if a citizen is jailed, his/her spouse or child is entitled to get this support. … But we were told that we would not be provided this service since we were dismissed under an emergency decree,” Murat Karahan said.

In February 2017, a 12-year-old child died of brain cancer several months after Turkish border agents seized his and his parents’ passports at İstanbul Atatürk Airport over alleged links to the Gülen movement, causing the family to abandon their plans to receive cancer treatment in Cuba.

Another victim of the Erdoğan regime under the state of emergency is a groom-to-be from Samsun’s Bafra district, identified as D.S. He has been jailed since being sentenced to more than eight years in prison on accusations of alleged membership in the Gülen movement.

D.S. was an officer at a public hospital in Giresun province until he was dismissed from the job by an emergency decree in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 . A judicial investigation was launched into him following his dismissal. Having stood trial without arrest so far, D.S. appeared before the court for his final hearing on Friday.

The accusations against him include his alleged role of being responsible for alleged followers of the Gülen movement within the Turkish military. The Samsun court overseeing his case convicted him of membership in a “terror group” and sentenced him to eight years, one month and six days.

D.S. was to serve his sentence in Samsun Prison. Escorted from the courthouse following the hearing, he reacted to his conviction, posing for photojournalists with his handcuffs.

Media reported that he was preparing for his wedding, scheduled for Jan. 19, and that he had just printed invitations for the guests at his wedding.

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 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also pinned the blame on the Gülen 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 has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. 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.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkey purge.com)

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