Gülen-linked woman dies in Greece as she waits to join husband in Germany

A mother of three children aged 3, 7 and 10, Uludağ was a civil servant in the Karabağlar district governor’s office in İzmir province until she was dismissed over alleged links to the Gülen movement by a government decree issued under an ongoing state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The woman also remained behind bars for three months and then released on judicial probation.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

Her husband, Mehmet Ali Uludağ (38), had to leave Turkey due to a number of investigations launched into him and detention warrants issued for him over his alleged ties to the movement. He first fled to Greece and then sought asylum in Germany.

As he succeeded in obtaining a residence permit in Germany, his wife Esma Uludağ, together with her three children, crossed the Evros River about six months ago and took refuge in Greece. The woman and her children were waiting in Athens for family unification.

However, Esma Uludağ unexpectedly suffered a stroke on Saturday night. She was taken to a hospital in an ambulance that reportedly took 40 minutes to arrive at the scene. She passed away despite doctors’ efforts in the hospital.

Uludağ’s body is reportedly going to be taken to Turkey for funeral services after completion of an autopsy and official procedures in Greece.

According to the aktifhaber news website, Esma Uludağ was an avid student and had several university degrees. She graduated from the physics department of İzmir-based Dokuz Eylül University in 2007. She had a master’s degree from Celal Bayar University in Bolu in 2009 and later graduated from the Gediz University Vocational School of Justice as the most successful student, having an average grade of 3.89 out of 4. Esma received her diploma with her children, 8-year-old Veli Said, 4-year old Müşerref Zümra and 38-day old Ceyda.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to the witch-hunt carried out by the Turkish government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement. Many tried to escape Turkey by illegal means as the government had cancelled their passports like thousands of others. On Feb 13, 2018 at least three people died and five others went missing after a boat carrying a group of eight capsized in the Evros River while seeking to escape the post-coup crackdown in Turkey.

Greece’s asylum service says more than 1,800 Turkish citizens requested sanctuary in 2017, a tenfold increase over the previous year. This puts Greece in second place behind Germany as an EU destination of choice for Turks believed to be fleeing the sweeping measures following the coup bid.

Research assistant kills 4 at Eskişehir university after accusing them of being Gülen followers

A research assistant at Osmangazi University in the central Turkish province of Eskişehir has shot and killed four university employees who he has been accusing of being members of the Gülen movement, Turkish media outlets reported on Thursday.

The research assistant, Volkan Bayer, killed Mikail Yalçın, the assistant dean of the education faculty; Fatih Özmutlu, secretary of the education faculty; research assistant Yasir Armağan; and associate professor Serdar Çağlak.

The assailant was captured by police teams still in possession of his gun following the attack.

University Rector Hasan Gönen said Bayer used to accuse the victims of being members of “FETÖ,” a derogatory term coined by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to refer to the Gülen movement, accused of mounting a botched coup attempt in July 2016.

The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed coup.

Gönen said education faculty dean Professor Cemil Yücel was the assailant’s primary target, but he wasn’t in his office at the time of the attack.

Professor Ayşe Aypay, from the same university, said many complaints had been filed against Bayer by the victims, but the authorities took no action to launch an investigation into him.

“Who will give an accounting of protecting Volkan Bayer for one-and-a-half years?” asked Aypay.

Eskişehir Governor Özdemir Çakacak said in a statement on Thursday that an extensive investigation has been launched into the incident to ascertain the motive for the attack.

The failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the AKP government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 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 other civil servants since July 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on Dec. 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested. On Dec. 13, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Human Rights Foundation asks Kosovo PM to free 6 Gulenists

 

US-based Human Rights Foundation has asked, in an urgent letter, to free 6 Gulenists, arrested facing deportation to Turkey at the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s order.

Kosovo police early arrested the Gülenists who used to work at a group of schools affiliated with the Gülen group, which is accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of masterminding a failed coup attempt in 2016.

The Gülistan Educational Institutions operate four Mehmet Akif elementary and high schools in Kosovo. The schools were opened by Turkish entrepreneurs inspired by the views of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Months ago, Kosovo police arrested Uğur Toksoy, an educator with alleged links to the Gülen movement. Kosovo has not extradited Toksoy to Turkey, but the ordeal still sent shock waves throughout Kosovo’s Turkish community, some of whom told the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) that they fled to Kosovo hoping to escape Turkey’s crackdown on the press and individuals and groups with ties to the Gülen group.

In the aftermath of the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on Gülen followers and arrested more than 50,000 people from all walks of life on the pretext of an anti-coup fight. The government has also removed 150,000 people from state jobs due to their alleged links to the group.

According to a report on the Prishtina Insight news website, the Gülistan Educational Institution confirmed that the arrestees are: general director Mustafa Erden; vice director Yusuf Karabina; principal of the school in Gjakova, Karaman Demirez; and Gjakova teachers Cihan Oskan and Hasan H. Günakan.

The full text of the letter by HRF is as follows: 

“HRF is of the view that the non-refoulment principle under international human rights law, which has primacy over domestic law in cases involving basic rights and guarantees, must be carefully weighed and applied in any decision over whether or not to grant deportation or extradition requests by the government of Turkey.

According to the non-refoulment obligation under international law, no states should expel or return an individual who could qualify as a refugee to the state where he is wrongfully persecuted, nor should a state expel or return any person to another state where he would be at risk of death or torture. Granting the extradition of the six aforementioned Turkish nationals as requested by the Erdoğan regime would certainly lead to their rendition to the government of Turkey, where they would face the risk of both torture and death

The six Turkish nationals detained yesterday (on Thursday) are: Mustafa Erdem, general director of Mehmet Akif College in Kosovo, Yusuf Karabina, deputy director of the same school, Karaman Demirez, director of the Djakovica branch of the school, Cihan Özkan, a biology teacher at the school, Hasan Hüseyin Günakan, a chemistry teacher, and Osman Karakaya, aTurkish medical doctor visiting the country as a tourist.

HRF’s investigation indicates that their arrest is due to their association with a Turkish educational institution in Kosovo, and is part of the larger domestic and international crackdown led by the Turkish government against any individuals or institutions associated or perceived to be associated with the religious philosophy of Hizmet. Currently, Turkey is cracking down on the Hizmet philosophy and any alleged followers of the so-called “Gülen movement,” which is what, in this case, has turned executives and teachers of the Mehmet Akif College in Kosovo into targets of the Turkish regime.

Throughout the 1990s, followers of the Gülen movement, through support that was provided by various Turkish business associations, established many schools in Central Asia. The priority of these schools was to provide a modern and secular education in accordance with local norms that adhered to the official curricula and specificities of the every country. 

In the past, the government of Kosovo detained another Turkish national Uğur Toksoy, on alleged grounds of involvement with the Gülen movement but a Kosovan court suspended the extradition process due to lack of evidence. The fact that the detentions came on the day of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s visit to the Balkans is of special concern to HRF. Turkish nationals with alleged links to the Gülen movement have occasionally been detained and subjected to lengthy interrogations in order to ease the pressure of the Turkish politicians during their trips to friendly countries. 

After a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, Erdoğan has began purging individuals associated with the Gülen movement and pressuring European countries including Kosovo, to do the same. This has led to the arbitrary arrest and detention of anyone associated with the Gülen movement and Turkish educational institutions. 

In 2016, HRF condemned the removal of 2,745 judges in Turkey without due process. To no avail, HRF urged the Turkish government to reinstate the judges immediately until proper investigations are carried out. The judges were purged based on baseless accusations of connection to the attempted coup. Turkey was founded on the principles of parliamentary democracy, division of powers, and secularism. HRF believes that, unfortunately, President Erdoğan does not value these founding principles. Rule of law and political freedom have steadily declined under Erdoğan’s rule.

The dismissal of almost 3,000 judges without dues process signified the elimination of any vestiges of judicial independence in the country. The judges’ alleged connection to the coup was merely an excuse to get rid of all independent judges and to establish a judicial branch that is subservient to the President. The dismissed judges amounted to one-fifth of Turkey’s entire judicial branch, making an already government-controlled judiciary completely subservient to the executive. Following the failed coup, Erdoğan announced a temporary suspension of the European Convention on Human Rights. Turkish authorities have detained roughly 50,000 people, including more than 15,00 education workers, and have forced 1,77 university deans to resign. 

Under international human rights law, the prohibition of expulsion or return-known as the principle of non-refoulment- demands that no state shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to a territory in which his life or freedom would be threatened. For the purpose of the determining whether there is such a threat, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant, or mass violations of human rights in the state in question.

The non-refoulment obligation under international law is not limited to those formally recognised as refugees. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Executive Committee has stated that the prohibition of refoulment to a country in which the person concerned would face a real risk of irreparable harm – such as violations of the right to life or the right to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment – extends to all persons who may be within a State’s territory or subject to its jurisdiction, including asylum seekers and refugees, and applies with regard to the country to which removal is to be effected or any other country to which the person may subsequently be removed.

The principle of non-refoulment is enshrined in the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and is also contained in the 1967 Protocol and Art. 3 of the 1984 Torture Convention, which to the extent that several provisions in them protect individuals from jus cogent violations, are considered part of customary international law binding on Kosovo. 

The government of Kosovo should be extremely careful not to act proxy of President Erdoğan – an authoritarian leader who does not respect basic civil liberties. In this troubling context, HRF respectfully requests that you honour the primacy of international human rights law, including the non-refoulment principle, in your handling of any deportation or extradition requests against the six Turkish nationals. All six individuals should be freed immediately. If Kosovo requires them to leave your country, they should be provided with the opportunity to seek asylum or refugee status in a more welcoming nation.”

TurkeyPurge.com

The Cape Law Society reacts Turkey’s mass arrest of legal professionals

The Cape Law Society issued the statement on Turkey’s mass arrest of judges, prosecutors and lawyers. This is the official statement:

THE CAPE LAW SOCIETY EXPRESSES CONCERN WITH WIDE SPREAD ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF JUDGES AND LAWYERS IN TURKEY

THE CAPE LAW SOCIETY EXPRESSES CONCERN WITH WIDE SPREAD ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF JUDGES AND LAWYERS IN TURKEY

The Cape Law Society (“CLS”) has noted with concern the wide spread and systemic arbitrary arrest and detention of judges and lawyers in Turkey.

Reliable reports indicate that since July 2016:

  • approximately 1525 lawyers have been prosecuted, 578 have been arrested and held in pre-trial detention and 99 have been sentenced;
  • more than 4400 judges and prosecutors have been investigated with over 2400 held in pre-trial detention;
  • legal professionals have been subjected to ill-treatment, torture and excessive solitary confinement; and
  • state officials have been granted immunity for acts of ill-treatment and torture committed during their scope of duties under state of emergency decrees.

These gross violations of international norms and standards are a violation of the independence of the judiciary and an erosion of the rule of law in Turkey, and are of extreme concern to the legal community in South Africa.  This conduct is accordingly condemned in the strongest terms possible and the government of Turkey is called upon to cease these unlawful practices with immediate effect.  The CLS calls on the international community of nations to express its displeasure at such conduct and to regard such conduct of the Turkish government as a gross violation of fundamental entrenched rights in international law.

 

Issued by:

Mr Lulama Lobi, President of The Cape Law Society

on behalf of the Council of The Cape Law Society

09 March 2018

The Cape Law Society

Tel: (021) 443 6700│Fax: (021) 443 6751/2│

Email: cls@capelawsoc.law.za│Website: www.capelawsoc.law.za

 

Swiss investigate alleged Turkish attempt to kidnap Gülen-linked businessman

 

Switzerland is investigating whether Turkish diplomats planned to drug and kidnap a Swiss-Turkish businessman as part of a crackdown after a 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, federal prosecutors said, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday.

The Swiss Tages-Anzeiger daily said one of the two diplomats linked to the plot to snatch the Swiss-based businessman — who was active in the Gülen movement, which Ankara blames for the coup bid — remained at their job in Bern while the other had since returned to Turkey.

“The Office of the Attorney General can confirm that in this context a criminal case is being conducted on suspicion of political intelligence gathering … and prohibited acts for a foreign state,” the OAG said in an emailed statement. The investigation began in March 2017, it added.

The OAG said it had asked the foreign ministry to clarify whether the suspects enjoyed diplomatic immunity now or at the time of the alleged crime. Waiving any immunity was necessary to carry out further investigations, it added.

The Turkish Embassy in Bern did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment from Reuters.

The OAG said a year ago that it had begun a criminal inquiry into possible foreign spying on Switzerland’s Turkish community.

Swiss intelligence got wind of the 2016 kidnapping plot while it was being hatched, Tages-Anzeiger reported, adding that the intended victim remains under police protection.

The military coup attempt killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 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.

Amid an ongoing witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Jan. 5 said 48,305 people were jailed in 2017 alone over Gülen movement links.

Turkish Minute 

80 women reportedly subjected to inhumane treatment at Mersin police station

At least 80 women, including high school and university students, were reportedly subjected to torture and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of officers at the Mersin police station, according to several Twitter accounts and media outlets.

The women were believed to be affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The alleged victims were reportedly detained by police from the Smuggling and Organized Crime Directorate (KOM) after “helping Gülenist families in need of food and resources” in Mersin province, according to a Twitter account named @Turkeydeiskence (Torture in Turkey).

The claim has neither been confirmed nor denied by the Turkish authorities.

The same Twitter account also tweeted that among the detainees are a mother and her 2-month-old infant who have been held in police custody for four days. Also, a 15-year-old high school student has been held in detention at the juvenile facility of the provincial police department.

The Twitter account also claimed that a lawyer representing the detainees fainted at the police department exit after witnessing the torture and ill treatment of their clients in police custody. (Turkey Purge)

Turkish Family Still Missing After Capsized Boat Incident On Turkish-Greek Border

 

Three members of Turkish family has gone missing after their boat capsized in the Evros/Meriç/Maritsa River, an incident that has already resulted in confirmed death of three members of another Turkish family. Both families were trying to escape the vicious witch-hunt persecution by Turkish government that targeted the vulnerable group Gülen movement.

According to a report by Turkish online news outlet TR724, the members of Doğan Family, Fahrettin Doğan (30), Aslı Doğan (28) and their son İbrahim Selim Doğan (3), who were on the same rubber boat together with drowned members of the Abdurrezzak Family, are missing.

It was also reported that the man, who could land on the Greek side by swimming, was a Turkish citizen and a Gülen movement volunteer Fatih Yaşar.

According to the information shared in the social media, Fatih Yaşar said that the person organizing the risky travel did not give life jackets to the members of Doğan and Abdurrezzak families. According to Yaşar, the boat crashed the trees, capsized and he managed to survive by clinging to the trees.

It was previously reported that Ayşe Abdurrezzak (37), who was dismissed from her teaching profession by a government decree and released by a Turkish court with judicial probe including an international travel ban after she detained for a while, was one of the three corpses found in the river. While the bodies of two boys and their mother were washed up onto the shore of the river, the other 4 people are still missing. Uğur Abdurrezak, the father of the found children who lost their lives, was also released from jail in January 2018 after 11 months of imprisonment over his alleged links to the Gülen movement.

According to the report, the process that took the family on this dangerous journey began after the failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Uğur Abdurrezak, a 39-year-old English language teacher, and his wife Ayşe Abdurrezak, a 37-year-old Turkish language teacher, were among some 30,000 teachers who were dismissed from their professions by a government decree under the rule of emergency that was declared by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Both of them have lost their jobs on the grounds that they were alleged members of the Gülen movement.

The report said that Uğur Abdurrezak was detained by police during a raid to his home after six months of his dismissal from his duty and was imprisoned in Kandıra Prison for 11 months. He was reportedly released in January 2018 but the case continued with the charge of “being a member of terror organisation.” Uğur Abdurrezak, who was tried with a demand of prosecutor for prison sentence between 6,5 years and 22 years, decided to leave the country with his family.

Together with their 11-year-old son Abdülkadir Enes and 2-year-old son Halil Münir, Abdurrezzak Couple was set to flee Turkey through the Maritsa/Evros River at the midnight of February 13, 2018. After a long walk accompanied by human traffickers, there was another family walking along with them, the families reached the Maritsa/Evros River around 05:00 a.m.

Fatih Yaşar, who has now resided in a refugee camp in Greece, told Euronews the details of the tragic incident as follow: “The boat was not big enough to carry all of us. Therefore, we insisted for two rounds but the smugglers did not listen to us. Also, the level of water was too high. The boat was constantly spinning. We first hit a tree branch and were driven away. Then the boat capsized when we hit a tree branch for the second time. The water was so cold… I could not hear any sound when the boat overturned. I thought that I was going to die, too. Fortunately, I could hold a piece of branch. I could hardly took myself to the shore. I roamed around for about 5 hours with my wet dresses. All my stuff and phone were gone. Then, I found a Greek soldier.”

The identities of the corpses found by Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) teams, were announced as Ayşe Abdurrezzak (37), Halil Münir (3) and Abdulkadir Enes (11). Father Uğur Abdurrezzak (39) was also in the same bot. Beside of Abdurrezzak Family, Fahrettin Doğan (30), his wife Aslı Doğan (28) and their son İbrahim Selim Doğan (2) were also on the boat. However, no traces of the members of the Doğan Family and Uğur Abdurrezzak could have been found.

Fahrettin Doğan, his wife Aslı Doğan and the couple’s 2-year-old son İbrahim Selim Doğan were also reportedly escaping from persecution and ill-treatment by Turkish government due to their alleged membership to the Gülen movement.

The Aegean Sea and the Maritsa/Evros River have been a graveyard for many Syrian refugees in the recent years. However, the latest victims of the sea separating the two countries have been the Turkish citizens. Five members of the Maden Family had drowned while they were trying to cross the Aegean Sea to reach the Greek island of Mytilene on November 1, 2017.

Thousands of refugees and migrants enter Greece every year from Turkey on their way to Europe. Most choose the sea crossing in flimsy smuggling boats to the eastern Aegean islands. However, Evros/Maritsa river has also been used for passage from Turkey to Greece.

In recent years, beside of refugees from other countries using Turkey as a transit route, some Turkish citizens, who had to fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by Turkish government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement, have also used the same route. Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, Erdogan government pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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 Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, 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.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

South Africa’s justice system favours the rich!

Political and gender activists have criticised South Africa’s criminal  justice system saying that it was failing victims of gender based violence.

Speaking at the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) gender violence workshop in Johannesburg, the union’s president, Andrew Chirwa said that the justice system was favouring the rich, while punishing poor people.  Chirwa mentioned lighter sentences given to Former Higher education deputy minister, Mduduzi Manana and Oscar Pistorius.

“The justice can’t be meant for the poor. People in higher positions are getting away scot free. Because people have a lot of money, they can hire expensive lawyers who speak good English. What’s R100 000 to Mduduzi Manana? The courts did the same with Oscar Pistorius,” he said.

In November, Manana was convicted and sentenced to a R100, 000 fine or 12 months in prison. He was also sentenced to 500 hours of community service.

The former deputy minister was sentenced after assaulting three women at a night club in Johannesburg.

Pistorius was sentenced to six years for murder after the Supreme Court of Appeal recently overturned his capable homicide conviction for killing his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Initially, he was found guilty of culpable homicide and given a five a year sentence.

Chirwa’s sentiment on the criminal justice system was also shared by Vashna Jagarnath.

“We have to radically overhaul the legal system. The legal system is set up in favour of capital and patriarchy,” Jagarnath said.

With South Africa battling high levels of violence against women and children, scores of  Numsa members gathered in Johannesburg on Saturday to focus on gender violence occurring in the country and globally.

The union said that collaborating with civil society groups in dealing with the issue was critical.

Chirwa said that South Africa could not celebrate democracy while gender freedom has not been attained.

“There can never be freedom and democracy until women are free. As Numsa, this should be our daily lifestyle. Whenever we are, whenever, we are operating, gender struggle is not an isolated struggle. We all have a role to play in protecting women and children. The number of violence are very high,” Chirwa added.

Vumani Dlamini, 26, from Sharpeville who attended the workshop said: “These are issues that we battle every day. As long as our communities are not united in fighting violence against women and children, we are still going to be confronted with the same problems in years to come. As individuals and the society, we need to come up with solutions that will help in dealing with the matter,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini said that the implementation of policies aimed at tackling the scourge of violence should take place.

“We need to be proactive and the battle against violence should be taking place all the time,” Dlamini said.

Zodidi Mhlana

#SetthemfreeSa demands the release of jailed babies

 Civil initiative Set Them Free SA has appealed to the Turkish government to release hundreds of children that are currently being kept in prison  with their mothers.

The organisation hosted an event aimed at creating more awareness about the plight of 688 children that in imprisoned along with their mothers in Turkey since the country’s failed coup attempt last year. Some of the affected children are aged between between 0 to six years.
Scores of people including South African children joined the awareness campaign which was held in Rosebank, Johannesburg on Sunday. Those who took part in the campaign carried placards written: “688 babies in prison in Turkey#setthemfree.”
Brenda Nagel from the Set Them Free SA said that more South Africans should be aware of the human rights that are taking place in Turkey.  “In January, we are going to continue raising awareness. We will have another event which will include the children that died in Soweto during the students uprising. Todays’ event is to make people aware of what’s happening in Turkey. Babies can’t be prosecuted,” she said.
 Nagel also said that the jailed children were not being fed proper food in prison.
“The children are being forced to eat the same food that their mothers eat. They have to share the same bed with their mothers, they have no toys. There’s no space for children to learn. When they are sick, they go to hospital without their mothers,” she said.
She said the awareness campaign was aimed at putting pressure on that country’s government.
Nagel also said that they were in the process of raising their concerns with bodies such as the United Nations (UN).
South African, Candice Ulgheri who was part of the event on Sunday said:”People need to know that what’s going on in Turkey is appalling. Thousands of teachers have also been arrested. There’s no need for such violence,” Ulgheri said.
Another  South African, Itu Mango  also called on the government to free these children.
“Children have not committed any crime and they should be released. The government is abusing its powers and that must stop,” Mango said.
A mother of three from Istanbul, Turkey who did not want her name to be revealed said the situation in her country was worrying. “I have been living in South Africa for the past eight years and the conditions in Turkey are worsening, these children never attempted to overthrow the government. They must free them,” she said.
The Turkish government began cracking down on opposition and civilians following last year’s failed coup attempt. Over 150 000 people have been arrested since then, including government workers.
Zodidi Mhlana 

Turquoise organized #668BabiesInPrison event at Constitutional Hill

 

South African based intercultural-interfaith institute Turquoise Harmony Institute organized an event to increase an awareness on jailed woman and children in Turkey and global world. The event took place in an old women’s jail which Apartheid torched women.

Women who’ve experienced first hand horrific incidents in conflict zones in Somalia, Rwanda and Turkey shared their stories with participants. Emotion was very high in the program. Turquoise Woman Platform Director Ergul explained in her detailed presentation that how woman and children suffer since the Turkey’s 15 July Coup.

Palesa Musa who served in the Women’s Jail under  Apartheid Regime said that Turkey is more cruel than SA’s old regime. Pauline Buyeye shares her emotion by saying that Turkish women in jail has no food to feed their babies.

 

 

 

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