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THE AFTERMATH OF TURKIYE'S JULY 15

⚠️ TW: Sensitive Topics (Torture, Abductions, Violence) ⚠️


Note: To prioritize safety, some interviewee names are withheld in this article. The interviews were conducted firsthand.


July 2016 unveiled a harrowing narrative that defies Türkiye’s historical fabric—a story of arbitrary detentions, abductions, imprisonment of postpartum mothers, and the struggle for survival within the confines of captivity. President Erdoğan proclaimed, “Old Turkey no longer exists; this Turkey is new Turkey,” attributing a coup attempt to the Gulen movement and subsequently subjecting Gulen followers and affiliates to relentless persecution, devoid of any substantiated investigation.


Backed by a team of prosecutors and lawyers, Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) highlights the absence of a thorough inquiry despite Gulen’s denial, and calls for an international investigation. President Erdoğan and the Turkish Parliament declined Gulen’s proposal and opted to leverage the incident as a pretext to target dissenters and individuals at odds with the government, overlooking the need for a just investigation (Advocates of Silenced Turkey, 2021). Presently, over 2 million individuals face terrorism charges without warranted grounds for an investigation. Statistics indicate that among the affected, there are 17,000 women and over 3,000 babies—innocent lives ensnared in the tenuous laws of the so-called “New Turkey.”


Moreover, the shuttering of 1,598 associations, 560 foundations, 29 unions, 1,604 schools, 847 student dormitories, 15 universities, and 985 commercial companies occurred devoid of substantiated grounds, fair trials, or comprehensive investigations (Advocates of Silenced Turkey, 2021). This social genocide has impacted 8 million lives, perpetuating an ongoing tragedy that devastates countless innocents daily. The Turkish government’s actions have led to the deaths of over 1,000 innocent individuals, including 79 children, due to the stress-induced illnesses, like cancer, and pervasive fear, leading to migration and torture. Presently, over 100,000 innocent lives endure arbitrary detention in Turkey.


Post-arrest, the torments of these individuals persist. Being denied access to legal aid and family contact, they endure meticulous surveillance during meetings, recording every discussion. Under duress, they retract complaints of torture and mistreatment while being denied access to independent medical professionals for verification (Advocates of Silenced Turkey, 2023). “We were served inedible food, resulting in illnesses due to vitamin deficiencies and cold. On occasions when edible food arrived, it was confiscated by cell guards. We were among the fortunate ones; our friends in solitary confinement went weeks without food,” recounted an interviewee subjected to Turkish Government’s torturous tactics.


A pattern emerges: police forces abducting individuals in public spaces using unmarked vehicles. Victims vanish for extended periods, enduring torture and coerced confessions of terrorism-related charges upon return to police custody. Despite evidence, the government disavows involvement (Advocates of Silenced Turkey, 2023). Among these incidents is the abduction of a father with two daughters in Moldova, narrated by one of the victims: “Walking to school with my sister and dad in Moldova, a random unmarked car abducted my dad before my eyes. He later contacted me from a detention center in Turkey, serving a sentence for a crime he didn’t commit. It’s been years.”


Turkish Criminal Code, Law No. 5275, Article 16/4, prohibits arresting pregnant women and those who gave birth within six months. These regulations exclude Gulen Movement supporters. Alarming reports from AST reveal over 3,000 children languishing in Turkish prisons. Female prisoners and their children suffer mistreatment amid Turkey’s authoritarian shift (Advocates of Silenced Turkey, 2021). On September 7, 2016, Rahime Yildiz was apprehended in Mersin, leading to the separation of her one-month-old baby, Nil Mualla, from her. According to Rahime's account, the police utilized aggressive interrogation tactics, threatening her with the separation from her infant, a distressing prospect for any mother. Rahime Yildiz was subjected to humiliating treatment and torture by the police. She reported verbal abuse, insults, and physical intimidation tactics such as forcefully hitting the table during her interrogation. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights explicitly prohibits torture or any form of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. At the end, she was put in a cell meant for 22 people, where 55 women were already staying (Advocates of Silenced Turkey, 2021).


These cases have become tragically commonplace—from abductions to imprisoning postpartum mothers without a fair trial, Turkey has become synonymous with such injustices. This torture must cease, and we must fervently advocate to raise awareness. No one, especially postpartum mothers or pregnant women, should endure such conditions and violations. As the severity of these cases increase day by day, the Turkish Government continues to ruin the lives of the Gulen Movement members and their loved ones even today.


REFERENCES

BEYOND TURKEY’S BORDERS: UNVEILING GLOBAL PURGE, TRANSNATIONAL

REPRESSION, ABDUCTIONS - REPORT 2023. (2023). Advocates of Silenced Turkey.

Şahin, Ö. (2022). 143 Social Genocide Practices In Erdogan's Turkey (Ö. Şahin, Ed.). Amazon

Digital Services LLC - Kdp.

WOMEN'S RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY THE TURKISH LEGAL SYSTEM. (2021, January 8).

Advocates of Silenced Turkey. Retrieved November 19, 2023, from

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