560 children, aged between 0 to 6, are being held in Turkish prisons along with their mothers, according to Justice Ministry.
In a statement to main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) deputy Gamze Ilgezdi’s question, the ministry said the number of children staying along with their mothers behind bars has hit 560 according to April data.
Children are taken into prison in the absence of family members to look after them outside. Turkish government has launched a sweeping crackdown across the country, detaining more than 120,000 and jailing some 50,000 over alleged or real links to the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
It has become a common occurrence that both parents are taken into custody leaving no one children to care for children. Turkish government, on many occasions, detained pregnant mothers as well.
Out of 560, 114 are aged between 0 and 12 months; 128 children are 1-year-old; 114 children 2 years old; 81 children 3 years old; 70 children 4 years old; 31 children 5 years old; 5 children 6 years old; while age of the remaining 17 are unknown, the ministry said.
According to official data, 291 children whole stay with imprisoned mothers are male and 269 are female.
Below are some parts from wtihin Ilgezdi’s report, prepared with the information obtained from the government data.
– The Number of mothers who are staying with more than one child in prison is 44.
– Mothers with children are excluded because many prisoners do not want to stay with a mother with children because they cannot tolerate the child’s noise. Children are constantly told to stay quiet and are scared. Therefore, some of these children are unable to learn to speak.
– Prisons do not supply separate food for children, They have to settle for the food given to their mothers. Limited products such as fruit, dessert etc. aren’t given to children at all. In addition, proper cutlery are not provided for children.
– The children grow up without toys. It is forbidden to bring toys into the wards. Especially children aged 0-3 years who cannot go to nurseries have no toys at all. Only 4 to 6 year old children can go to nurseries.
– Children are forced to cross an x-ray machine even when they go to nursery.
– Ward searches are done in front of children’s eyes. Children are also searched.
– The children are taken to the doctor without their mothers, on their own.
– Poor hygiene, ventilation and heat conditions causes children to become ill very often.
– Women are forbidden to be taken to the doctor outside of checkup days and hours, even if they are sick. This also applies to children outside of emergency situations. Even if the medication is prescribed, it is provided two days later.- There aren’t doctors constantly in prison. Children who are referred to the hospital after some procedures are not allowed to go with their mothers.
– Another incident that children are ignored is the bedding in the ward. The children are counted as one person with their mothers and they are not given a separate bed. They have to share the same narrow bed with their mother.
– There are children who cannot even learn to crawl. Some children who haven’t completed their physical development are struggling to walk by the age of 3.
-Washing your children’s laundry is a serious problem in it’s own right.