In the past, women of Turkey have always been discriminated, subjugated, and oppressed. Especially mothers have had to pay the price of conflicts and oppression more harshly. Kurdish mothers had to leave their kids’ dead bodies in freezers for days because of the curfews. Dead bodies of Kurdish mothers were left on the streets because of the curfews. Mothers were beaten on the streets just because they gather to call the government to find their forcibly disappeared children. Devastating experiences of mothers in Turkey, regardless of their ethnicity, ideological beliefs, or religion are indescribable. To top it all off, the failed coup attempt in July 2016 happened to be a watershed moment in Turkey’s modern history, which was followed by the persecution of thousands of people; among whom are thousands of women and mothers. Extraordinary measures taken by the government following the coup attempt, the political conflicts, and consequential persecution have doubled the burden on mothers. Due to the government’s propaganda, mothers are stigmatized and excluded from society. They are exposed to arbitrary detentions, their children/husbands become the victims of enforced disappearances, and they are forced to flee to survive. Mothers have either lost their own lives in these desperate circumstances, or their children in these hazardous journeys. We are extending our solidarity with:
⁃ Taybe Ana
⁃ Mother of Cemile Cagirga
⁃ Mother of Nurefsan
⁃ Mother of Berkin Elvan
⁃ Mothers incarcerated with their babies
⁃ Incarcerated mothers separated from their kids
⁃ Mother of Gulistan Doku
⁃ Mother of Sule Cet
⁃ Mothers whose professions taken from them
⁃ Mother of Ahmet Burhan
– Mother and grandmother of Hakan
⁃ Mothers of deceased Grup Yorum members
⁃ Esma Uludag
⁃ Unzile Araz
⁃ Hatice Akcabay
⁃ Emine Bulut
⁃ Sumeyya Avci
⁃ Nurhayat Yildiz
⁃ Fatma Gormez
We are also extending our sincere gratitude to Natali Avazyan, Eren Keskin, Huda Kaya, and many more courageous women who have cared for the persecuted children of Turkey, just like a mother would.
We want the voice of 5,000 innocent women and mothers to be heard by 5,000 female leaders in 1,000 cities around the world.
With each flower, the stories of 4-5 innocent mothers persecuted by the Erdogan regime will be told.
A Graphic Novel about the women who survived after the long journey in Turkey’s dictatorial regime.
After the alleged coup attempt of July 15, 2016, thousands of people lost their jobs and were subjected to court trials and proceedings on the grounds that they were Hizmet Movement followers. Hundreds of people, who do not have a hope to survive in this grueling atmosphere in Turkey, are striving to leave the country illegally by venturing into the risk of crossing the border and facing death in order to live freely. There were people who drowned in this difficult and harsh journey.
Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), as a non-governmental organization that runs its activities on a voluntary basis, has made it a mission to champion the rights of Silenced Turkey until universal human rights and democratic governance are established and sustained as the utmost priorities of the Republic of Turkey.
This graphic novel was created by a high school student with inspiration from real stories on the APH project.
“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.
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.
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
10 aralık insan hakları gününde yüzlerce insan hakları gönüllülerinin destekleriyle 17 Farklı yerde yapılan aktivitelerin bir özetini sunan bu kitapçıkta bir çok demokratik protesto aktivitesi yer almaktadır. İnsan hakları ihlallerinin bir an evvel dinmesi için gayret gösteren gönüllülerimize teşekkür ederiz.
The imprisonment of babies is just one element of the Turkish government’s crackdown on innocent people. Approximately 217,000 people have been detained and more than 82,000 people have been arrested on terrorism charges. Those prosecuted include journalists, civil servants, teachers, politicians, academics, human rights defenders, police officers, and military personnel. The prosecutions often lack compelling evidence of criminal activity. As a result, government officials use torture and ill-treatment in custody, including severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks, waterboarding and interference with medical examinations.
AST STATEMENT REGARDING GRAVE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY ON
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, DECEMBER 10
Under the state of emergency, imposed after the July 2016 attempted coup and lifted on July 2018, President Erdogan presided over the cabinet, which could pass decrees without parliamentary scrutiny or the possibility of appeal to the constitutional court. Many decrees adopted contained measures that undermine human rights safeguards and conflict with Turkey’s international human rights obligations. The routine extensions of the state of emergency within two years have led to profound 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.
The Erdogan government is showing disregard to the rights of its dissidents. Approximately 217,000 people are detained and over 82,000 people are arrested on terrorism charges. Those prosecuted include journalists, civil servants, teachers, politicians, academics, human rights defenders as well as police officers and military personnel. The prosecutions often lack compelling evidence of criminal activity. Thereby the State officials use torture and ill-treatment in custody, including severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks, waterboarding and interference with medical examinations.
Public officials continued to be dismissed or suspended by decree without due process, with more than 170,000 dismissed since July 2016. Those dismissed from their jobs lost their income, social benefits, medical insurance, and even their homes, as various decrees stipulated that public servants “shall be evicted from publicly-owned houses or houses owned by a foundation in which they live within 15 days”.
Websites including Wikipedia are blocked. Hundreds of media outlets, associations, foundations, private hospitals, and educational establishments that the government shut down by decrees are still closed, their assets were confiscated without compensation. The states of emergency have been used to severely and arbitrarily curtail the human rights of a very large number of people which is also declared by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.
One of the most alarming actions of the Turkish authorities is incarceration of women who are pregnant or have just given birth. Some are incarcerated with their children and others violently separated from them. At this moment, seven hundred forty-three (743) children under the age of six are in jails across Turkey with their mothers, detained or arrested as part of the government crackdown on its dissidents. One hundred forty-nine (149) of these children are infants under a year old. “This is simply outrageous, utterly cruel, and surely cannot have anything whatsoever to do with making the country safer” as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein” also emphasized.
Another alarming action of the Turkish government is the overseas operations conducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) to capture perceived political opponents of President Erdogan’s administration. Abductions are perpetrated by violating international legal norms.
We, as Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), want to emphasize our deep concern and make you aware of human rights violations in Turkey. We want the Turkish government to change its seizure policies and reinstitute human rights all over the country and follow the rule of law. Turkey is in breach of its International Law Obligations. We, as AST urge you to address this situation and attract attention to it in your official capacity. AST urges to stand against the unlawful practices of the Turkish government after the failed coup attempt in July 2016.
In this regard, we call upon the Government of the Republic of Turkey to:
● Stop arbitrary arrests, detentions and wrongful prosecution of political prisoners and release them;
● Stop arbitrary arrests, detentions and wrongful prosecution of women and children;
● Stop illegal overseas operations to capture perceived political opponents;
● Stop, prevent and punish the use of torture and ill-treatment by State officials;
● Reinstate, those wrongly detained, prosecuted and dismissed from their posts;
● Ensure and safeguard the independence of the legal profession.
You can download the AST Statement’s PDF version about Grave Human Rights Violations in Turkey
The Honorable Zeid Ra’ad AI Hussein
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH- 121 I Geneva 10. Switzerland
The Honorable Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
Palais des Nations
CH- 1 2 1 1 Geneva 1 0. Switzerland
The Honorable David Kaye
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Palais des Nations
CH- 121 I Geneva 10. Switzerland
The Honorable Federica Mogherini
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
Rue de la Loi 200/Wetstraat 200 B-1049
The Honorable Thorbjorn Jagland
Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
Avenue de I’Europe F-67075
Strasbourg Cedex, France
The Honorable Nils Muiznicks
Commissioner for Human Rights
Council of Europe
Avenue de I’Europe F-67075
Strasbourg Cedex, France
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Phone: (202) 647-6575
One of the most alarming actions of the Turkish authorities is the incarceration of women who are pregnant or have just given birth. Some are incarcerated with their children and others violently separated from them. At this moment, seven hundred forty-three (743) children under the age of six are in jails across Turkey with their mothers, detained or arrested as part of the government crackdown on its dissidents. One hundred forty-nine (149) of these children are infants under a year old. “This is simply outrageous, utterly cruel, and surely cannot have anything whatsoever to do with making the country safer” as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein” also emphasized.
This video is about people who were tortured in custody after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Even though there is not any solid evidence against these people showing their involvement in the coup, they were detained, put in the jail and more importantly, tortured. Gokhan Acikklolu is the first person and a teacher who died under custody in Istanbul Vatan Police Directorate became the symbols of the police torture after July 15. There are more than 15 witnesses stating that Gokhan Acikollu died due to torture under police interrogation.
According to the UN Special Rapporteur Nils Melzer, there are allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in Turkish Police Custody including;
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