The 2016 military coup attempt was one of Turkey’s bloodiest coups the country has witnessed. Thousands of citizens on the streets, chaos erupting, and over 240 people were killed according to AlJazeera, The Independent and NPR.
Since then politics, governmental affairs, and anything concerning the coup or the system have been dangerous for citizens to openly speak about in Turkey. According to the Guardian, about 6,000 people were detained including 29 top generals. This number has escalated over the years, and although the coup attempt is being covered up by the government today, the detainees still remain imprisoned and are in need of justice. From the detainees, there are lawyers, professors, doctors, teachers, government officials, military officers, students, fathers, elders, mothers, and, horrifically, children and babies.
According to Vocal Europe in an article written by Leighann Spencer in 2017, 668 children under the age of six have been imprisoned along with their mothers, as well as 149 under the age of 12 months. This violates law 5275 of the Turkish Penal Code, “the sentence of imprisonment is to be left behind/postponed for women who are pregnant or have not passed six months since the conception of birth.” Many women have been arrested shortly after birth. This is one of many violations the Turkish government has crossed. Advocates of Silenced Turkey reported 17,000 women to be detained, which they held a protest in Chicago to raise awareness.
In addition there have been witnesses of rape, sexual assault, and torture committed to the women. “Attorney Öykü Çakmak, a member of the Prison Watch Commission, said that the most fundamental rights violations at prisons included ‘physical and psychological pressures, sexual violence, mistreatment and torture,’’’ said Uzay Bulut from the Gatestone Institute.
Haberdar had a report on their site of 70,000 university and high school students detained in Turkish prisons. “…many of them do not even know what they are accused of, since their lawyers are not allowed to see their indictments,” said Bulut.
It is clear to say that this is happening under the authority of the Turkish government and that they must be held accountable for their actions. They have violated their own laws, put their citizens and residents in unjust conditions, removed children from their families, students away from their education, and obliterated the dignity of their people.