Woman faces detention over alleged Gülen links immediately after giving birth: report

A woman who gave birth in the early hours of the new year in the Turkish capital city of Ankara faces detention due to her alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish Minute reported, citing her brother.

“My sister delivered a baby at the Ankara Keçiören Medical Park Hospital tonight. Her name is Hacer Yıldırım. The baby is in intensive care because of amniotic fluid in the lungs. Police officers are waiting at the door to detain her,” Yıldırım’s brother Ramazan Gözel tweeted.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a Turkish human rights activist, medical doctor and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy, on Friday tweeted a photo of Yıldırım’s hospital room where a police officer is seen waiting, “Turkey picture from the first day of 2021. There is a police officer in the hospital room of Hacer Yıldırım just after she gave birth. The baby has breathing problems and is in intensive care. Is there law, is there democracy in this country?”

The woman faces a detention warrant due to alleged use of ByLock, a smartphone application believed by Turkish authorities to have been popular among the movement’s followers, according to Gergerlioğlu.

Since the failed coup in July 2016, Turkey has been conducting a massive witch-hunt against people from all walks of life on charges of “coup involvement.”

Many women jailed with their young children immediately after delivery or while pregnant are believed to be linked to the Gülen movement, a faith based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen.

According to legal experts, the arrest of pregnant women or women with babies falls afoul of the Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures, which stipulates that “execution of the prison sentence is delayed for women who are pregnant or have given birth within the last year and a half.” But the detention and arrest of pregnant women and mothers with babies have been continuing unabated in Turkey.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on November 26, a total of 292,000 people have been detained while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,655 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed due to links to the Gülen movement.

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