“I go to the prosecutor’s office every week and beg them, ‘Please I need my husband.’ I tell them, ‘Please, he can come [to the police station] every day to check in, he has no place to escape, he is not even guilty.’ He can sign in every day. But I just want him beside me. Is it too difficult [to release him]? Please, I am begging.”
These words belong to Nurdan Şahin, wife of an imprisoned teacher, the mother of two girls, a stage four cancer patient, and finally a public servant recently laid off by a gov’t decree.
In a video that was widely shared on the Internet over the weekend, Şahin explained about her visits to the Sinop Public Prosecutor’s Office where she begged prosecutors to release her husband on judicial supervision under which he could check in every day at a police station and be with her in the last days of her life.
Underlining that she might not have long to live because of the cancer, she said she would be the happiest person in the world if her husband were to be released and could be with her during her last days.
While addressing prosecutors in the video, Şahin asked “Are they in good conscience able to sleep when they go to bed at night and put their head on the pillow?”
Breaking into tears at the end of the video, she said those who signed the verdict that imprisoned her husband had sentenced her to die alone.
Cancer patient Şahin was an employee of the Ayancık Municipality in Sinop province and was dismissed as part of a government purge of members of the Gülen movement which Turkish authorities accuse of being behind a failed coup in July of last year.
Similar to Şahin, her husband, a teacher, was also purged over Gülen links and jailed in August 2016.
Şahin is among hundreds of thousands of people who find themselves facing tremendous difficulties after the government started a desperate crackdown on the Gülen movement in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt.
In an interview in last November, Şahin denied her and her husband’s ties to any terrorist organization or the coup attempt.
“My husband was detained and then arrested by a court [over alleged involvement in the coup attempt.] He is in the 3rdmonth of his arrest. I am a cancer patient at stage 4. Three positive aggressive tumor. The disease was at the third stage but during this period, it passed to 4. It spread to my liver. I am not allowed to move my right hand. My husband used to take care of me. He used to prepare my breakfast, supper. Now, I am trying to survive by the help of my friends, relatives. I have two kids. I go to Samsun for treatment alone. I take medicine at every 21 days. On Monday morning, I was told that I was fired from my job. I am destroyed. I was fired from Ayancık municipality where I worked for 20 years. I don’t know what my crime is. I really don’t know anything. I am still having treatment. I was told I have a right for free treatment for 10 days. But this treatment is going to last at least 1.5-2 years. Because, I was fired with a government decree, they do not give me a green card either. Each session of this treatment is TL 17,000. How am I supposed to find TL 17,000 at every 21 day. I pay TL 900 for rent. I have credit card debts. My husband was sacked and jailed. I am sacked. I only have faith in God. There is nothing else left,” Şahin said.
The Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch. However, the Turkish government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup and thereby initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing the alleged sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.