Emrah Çelik had to leave her job as a teacher at a Quran school because of her postpartum problems. During August of 2016, a month after the failed coup attempt, her husband Halil Çelik was taken into custody for involvement in the coup attempt and being sympathizer of the Hizmet Movement. Emrah Çelik was also detained two weeks later for the same charges. Their three children was brought to the Child Protection Agency. The children’s uncle later became their guardian and takes cares of them now. The children are allowed to meet their parents who reside in two separate prisons for 10 minutes every two months. There are thousands of families like the Çelik family whose rights are violated and are imprisoned with no evidence.
Yakub Saygılı and his coworkers, who carried out the December 17 corruption investigation, were taken into custody in the Silivri Prison where they were detained and taken to Istanbul Security Directorate on Vatan Caddesi. Many social media users have raised concern of risk of torture for Saygılı and his coworkers in the Vatan police station. Journalist-writer Ergun Babahan also wrote in regards to allegations of torture.
Names close to the Hizmet Movement launched an anti-torture campaign on Twitter. Yakup Saygılı, Yasin Topçu, and Kazım Aksoy, who were brought to the Police Department from the prison due to the ongoing Reza Zarrab case in America, can be subject to heavy torture. Babahan noted that members of the Hizmet Movement, minority and opposition groups are extremely polarized and demonized. Babahan indicated that “No one takes care of these people”. He concluded by saying “Torture is a crime against humanity. Everyone needs to stand up for the mistreated people and condemn torture”.
Honory president of Court of Cassation of Turkey wrote on his latest piece for Cumhuriyet that the recent jurisdiction has made the reason for the existence of justice debatable. Sami Selçuk indicated that he is not optimistic, but wishes the legislative branch to prevent the judicial system from falling apart. Selçuk also stated “We have not experienced such significant interference with the judicial system for at least fifty years. It is a pity and very painful. As a former judge, these days are very lamenting and disgraceful.” He concluded by noting “those who hear and evaluate the cries of help are not doing anything…this can therefore only be solved by the parliament. We will see the resistance of the opposition, but I am not optimistic”.
Jailed father of Berk Görmez, a 14-year-old boy who died of intestinal cancer last week, could attend his son’s funeral only with his hands cuffed during the ceremony. 14-year-old Berk Görmez qualified for a 97 percent disability rating and had 80 percent hearing loss as well as several other severe health problems. It was reported that he experienced two operations on his intestinal knot last year. He has lost a kidney and his health situation did not improve since then. His mother Fatma filed, to no avail, several requests for Bekir’s release so that he could boost their son’s morale during Berk’s time at the hospital.
Both Fatma and Bekir were fired from their jobs with a post-coup emergency decree which was issued by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a coup attempt in June 2016. Bekir Görmez used to work for Konya-based Mevlana University. Meanwhile, Fatma, a dismissed primary school teacher, has not been able to do her job as a teacher for the past four years as she also suffers from kidney insufficiency. Bekir Görmez is still behind bars over his links to the Gülen group, which the government accuses of masterminding the failed coup attempt. The group denies involvement in the failed takeover.
On 12 December, four teachers from Afghan-Turk girls’ high schools disappeared in Kabul. Initially, the school (and even the Afghan interior ministry) had no information on the fate of these teachers. It was later revealed that the Afghan National Security Forces had detained and later released them. The attorney general’s office has not yet cited the reasons behind the detention. The intelligence agency’s decision to release the teachers of the Hizmet educational institution in Afghanistan was a result of strong social media reactions and vehement public opposition against the unlawful detection. Fazal Ahmad Manawi, a member of the school’s parents’ committee maintains that the government wants to hand over the teachers to Turkey’s President who is an archrival of the Turkish scholar, Fethullah Gülen, the founder of Hizmet’s educational, cross-cultural and multi-faith institutions across the world. There are many more detained Turkish teachers and scholars in Afghan jails who are yet to be released.
Remarkably, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Education is supposedly gratified with the activities of these schools and has previously stated that their fate depended on the decision of the Afghan President.
Prof. Izzet Özgenç, who is one of the founders of the Turkish Penal Code, emphasized that the Bylock arrests made without revealing any evidence are unlawful. Özgenç said, “Depriving thousands of people of their rights and sentencing them to punishment without properly researching if these people have actually used Bylock, how they have used it, whom they have communicated with, and collecting evidence that proves that they are guilty, is a situation that can never be passed by an excuse.” Recently, Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that close to 11 thousand people have been mistakenly investigated for use of ByLock.
Murat Akkoç, a lawyer who researches Bylock, said that “11 thousand people will be removed from the list, in a similar manner to how 113 thousand people were removed from the list of 215 thousand people on September 2016. Bylock user list, which was announced as 215 thousand on September 2016, 113 thousand people will be removed from the list of 11 thousand people from the same reasons. The 91 thousand people remaining on the list is as innocent as the 124 thousand people released in the 16 months period.”
The Justice Ministry announced that there are 624 children under the age of six staying in prisons with their mothers. There are 111 babies under age of one in prisons, and 157 children aged between one and two years old. This number increased by 20% compared to last year. It is also reported that 51 of the children in prison are non-Turkish nationals.
Ender Özkul, father of Muhammed Eray (13), was initially sacked from his deputy police chief position and then arrested with decree laws during the State of Emergency. Özkul’s son Eray was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer and his condition has exacerbated every day he is apart from his father. On January 10 Özkul was brought back to court for trial, but was not discharged. Eray’s mother, Oya Özkul, said on social media that Eray became ill because he was distressed with his father’s arrest. Several Fenerbahçe soccer players have visited Eray in Istanbul to give him morale.