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THE TORTURED MOTHERS UNDER ERDOGAN’S REGIME

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By AST Reporter, Nur Ozer

May 15, 2020

“I was so afraid to go to the hospital for delivery. I had planned to have the majority of my labor contractions at home so that I would not be taken into custody,” says Ayse Kaya in an interview she gave to an Advocates of Silenced Turkey reporter. Like many mothers of the Gulen movement, Ayse Kaya’s life took a radical turn after the so-called coup attempt in Turkey, in 2016. Mrs. Kaya, who is a Gulen movement supporter, used to work at a non-profit organization. Mrs. Kaya mentions in her interview that the organization was completely legal, operating under the appropriate government department that oversaw non-profit organizations, and subject to unannounced government audits.

The Turkish Justice Minister data indicates that there are more than 750 babies imprisoned with their mothers. According to the Turkish Criminal Code, Law No# 5275, Article 16, Section 4 the Implementation of Criminal and Security Measures prohibits the arrest of women with babies younger than six months and pregnant women. However, these regulations do not apply to Gulen movement supporters. This brutality is not limited to new moms, and newborns; it is also affecting the new generation of Turkey. There are more than 3000 children in the prisons of Turkey. This growing young generation has witnessed many tortures, and brutal practices in the jails, and at the courts. During this process, one can easily witness a child screaming, or crying uncontrollably as they see their parents in handcuffs.  Some of the mothers have to take their newborns to prison with them, while others have to leave them in tears to their parents.  Worst of all, there are many children whose mother and father were imprisoned and due to their relatives’ unwillingness to accept guardianship, these children were sent to the orphanages. The link below shows a short video of a little girl whose father is in jail, and whose mother was taken to court and arrested. After many hours of waiting, the little girl is talking to a dog asking where her mother is.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gni2GbSpoZA

As of now, there is no evidence that connects Gulen supporters to the attempted 2016 coup. However, for Erdogan, and the AKP regime, this does not mean anything. In his article, Tas (2017) states, “Having thwarted a coup attempt, one could plausibly assume that AKP would comb through the evidence gathered and reveal the truth of 15 July. Instead, AKP demonstrated an apparent disdain for facts and employed various means to obstruct the pursuit of truth and maintain its monopoly over the narrative of the abortive coup.” (p.6) Even if we consider that the Gulen movement followers organized the coup, there is no law that allows imprisoning new mothers and newborns. No matter what the truth is, there is one reality that is not changing; Turkey’s prisons are turning into the headquarters of torture for the new generations of Turkey.

Like Mrs. Kaya, there are many mothers living in brutal conditions in the prisons of Turkey without -knowing the exact reason for their imprisonment. They are living with the hope that all of this is a big misunderstanding, and that the authorities would eventually realize that they were making a big mistake. Even though we share the same hopes with these new mothers, the present status of the Erdogan regime has not made any attempt to release them despite the danger of the Covid-19 pandemic. Besides all the trauma and brutality, the mothers are facing, there is another crucial unforeseen fact, which is the psychological status of new mothers.  The delivery process brings many crucial identity, physiological, and physical shifts in a woman’s life. “These changes range from “baby blues” to a spectrum of feelings known as “postpartum mood disorders”. (“Emotions of Motherhood”, n.d, p.0). Besides the poor psychological and physical conditions in prisons, most mothers suffer from deprivations such as not having hygienic enough conditions, and the lack of baby diapers, baby formula, and attention to the nutritional needs of their newborns.

In addition to the mothers in jails, due to unforeseen conditions, many women are forced to live in secret locations with the fear of being taken into custody or imprisoned. Most of these women have been suffering from the lack of access to proper healthcare, and from starvation, and poverty. Today, many Gulen movement supporters are forced into civil death with their families, and many ended up with emigrating from Turkey via dangerous water crossing from Meric (Evros River) with the hope of finding new lives overseas.


References

All Things Baby . (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.unitypoint.org/waterloo/emotions.aspx

CEZA VE GÜVENLİK TEDBİRLERİNİN İNFAZI HAKKINDA KANUN. (2004, December 13). Retrieved from https://www.mevzuat.gov.tr/MevzuatMetin/1.5.5275.pdf

Tas , H. (2018, March 8). The 15 July abortive coup and post-truth politics in Turkey. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14683857.2018.1452374?needAccess=true

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gni2GbSpoZA


 

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PRESS RELEASE: CRUCIAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY AND VIGIL FOR DECEASED PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES BECAUSE OF THE PERSECUTION

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FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

CRUCIAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY AND VIGIL FOR DECEASED PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES BECAUSE OF THE PERSECUTION

On July 15, 2016, Turkey witnessed an attempted but failed coup which made an accelerating impact on Turkey’s already fraying democratic mechanisms and allowed the administration to launch a sweeping purge to cleanse public service and security bureaucracy of his political opponents and critics. More than 150,000 public workers, including generals, admirals, judges, prosecutors, doctors, teachers, police officers and etc., have been summarily sacked by emergency decrees without due process. For more than 3 years we have been facing ruthless human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people – from arbitrary deprivation of the right to work and to freedom of movement, to torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detentions and infringements of the rights to freedom of association and expression. As a result of those inhumane operations of the authorities and also during escapes through the Evros River and the Aegean Sea, so many deaths have occurred. Recently 7 people including 5 young children lost their lives while trying to flee the persecution by boats like other thousands of people did. Today we are gathered to commemorate those deceased people whether directly murdered by being tortured, denied medical treatment, or indirectly killed by being forced to dangerous ways of escapes. As we always do, today once more again, we call on the Turkish government to ensure human rights all over the country and follow the rule of law. We also urge the international community to take action to stop these crucial human rights violations in Turkey.

 

Hafza Y. GIRDAP
Spokesperson
directorhg@silencedturkey.org

 

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TAKE ACTION ; Vigil in remembrance of those who died in the Aegean Sea while fleeing from the persecution in Turkey.

On Friday, September 27, 2019, the boat carrying desperate people fleeing persecution in Turkey sank. Seven out of 19 people on the boat passed away.

Mustafa Said Zenbil, 12 years old
Meltem Zenbil, 40 years old
Kevser Sezer, 58 years old
Mahir Isik, 4 months old
Ibrahim Isik, 3 years old
Mustafa Kara, 6 years old
Gulsum Kara, 8 years old

Funerals were held and 2 of the deceased were buried on the slope of Chios with the help of Greek citizens.

While the Greek media published the news as, “The angels escaping from Erdogan lost their lives in the Aegean Sea,” about the unfortunate event, the Turkish media used inappropriate name-calling.

Please join us on Saturday, October 26, 11:00 am -1:00 pm in Bryant Park, New York in remembrance of those who died in the Aegean Sea.

After the collective prayer for those who passed away, flyers with information about this sad event will be distributed.  Cookies will be shared for the benefit of those who passed away.

In Turkey, 278 people have already died due to not being able to stand the persecution, having heart attacks and other serious medical conditions, from torture, while fleeing from persecution, after car accidents, or by the struggle for survival under difficult conditions.

Don’t be silent about this persecution! Take action and come to Bryant Park on Saturday, Oct. 26!

For more information and to find out about all of our activities, please follow us @silencedturkey

Send us an email if you want to participate

Willing contributions of any size are always accepted and appreciated.

 

 

 

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Turkish family missing in Evros river after trying to escape from Erdogan’s persecution

Victims of Erdogan’s regime are increasing every day, as there has not been an effective mechanism to prevent him. In Turkey, thousands of families and tens of thousands of people had to leave their country soon after the failed coup attempt on July, 15, 2016. 151,967 people were dismissed from their jobs, 136,995 people were detained, 77,524 were arrested.

A group of 11 people including the Akçabay family tried to escape from political persecution in Turkey on July 18, 2018. Their rubber dinghy boat crashed into something like a rock and it later overturned.

Murat Akcabay said “At the time my wife went adrift and then held on to a branch. I shouted to her, ‘Don’t let go of the branch, I will rescue you.’ While I was trying to fight the waves, I saw she wasn’t in the same place. I repeatedly shouted, but I never heard her voice again”. Murat Akcabay said his wife, Hatice Akcabay, and three sons (seven-year-old Ahmet Esat, five-year-old Mesut, and one-year-old Aras) were missing after their boat capsized in the Evros River on Wednesday night.

Early Friday, June 20, 2018, It was reported that 36 years old Hatice Akçabay and her 1-year-old Bekir Aras found dead, while search and rescue operation is still ongoing for 7-years-old Ahmet Esat, 5-years-old Mesut. Murat Akcabay had noted that 7-years-old Ahmet was wearing a life vest. Turkish villagers said that they saw a child in Greece coast. There is still hope that Ahmet and his brother Mesut may be still alive.

Turkish police also detained Yunus Akçabay, the uncle of the missing children, who was trying to find his lost nephews and their mother. No accusations against him were made by police. The Turkish police also prohibit civilians from searching for the missing two children.

Advocates of Silenced Turkey calls on all the international and non-governmental human rights organizations to raise awareness about the drowned Akcabay family and also to take immediate action as regards the problems in Turkey to prevent other families and children from suffering as such. We hope the situation in Turkey will get better for those in Turkey and abroad who are oppressed by the ruling government of Turkey.

Download sample statement as a word document:
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AST_Letter-Akcabay-Family..docx

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement to following addresses:

1) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

2) Human Rights Watch
Twitter: @hrw
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumanRightsWatch
NY Address:350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

Emma Daly, Communications Director
Tel: +1-212-216-1835
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

3) Human Rights Foundation
Twitter: @HRF
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humanrightsfoundation/
New York Address:350 5th Ave., #4515 New York, NY, 10001
Phone Number: (212) 246-8486

4) Freedom House
Twitter: @FreedomHouseDC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomHouseDC
info@freedomhouse.org
Phone: 202-296-5101
Fax: 202-293-2840

Annie Boyajian, Advocacy Manager
boyajian@freedomhouse.org

5) Amnesty International
Twitter: @amnestyusa
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amnestyusa
report@aiusa.org

6) International Federation for Houman Rights
Twitter: @fidh_en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FIDH.HumanRights
FIDH AT THE UN (NEW-YORK)
110 East 42nd street, Suite 1309 NY 10017 New-York
Phone Number: 001 646 395 7103

7) International Court of Justice
Email: information@icj-cij.org
Phone: (+31) 70 302 23 23
Fax: (+31) 70 364 99 28
Twitter: @CIJ_ICJ
Website: http://www.icj-cij.org/en

News articles on Akcabay Family:

http://www.euronews.com/2018/07/20/family-missing-after-boat-capsizes-on-the-evros-river

https://turkeypurge.com/bodies-of-turkish-mother-one-year-old-son-found-in-evros-river-report

https://turkey.theglobepost.com/mother-kids-missing-evros-river/

http://www.politurco.com/another-family-has-gone-missing-in-evros-river-trying-to-escape-from-erdogans-persecution.html

https://stockholmcf.org/4-people-trying-to-escape-persecution-in-turkey-missing-after-boat-capsizes-in-evros-river/

Tweets on Akcabay Family:

 

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