Melek Çetinkaya, mother of Furkan Çetinkaya, one of the military cadets who were jailed on coup charges in the aftermath of a failed military coup in July 2016, was detained Saturday for protesting her son’s imprisonment.
Çetinkaya’s protest was stifled by Turkish police the moment she waved a banner that read “19-year-old cadets were given life in prison on coup charges.”
A total of 259 military cadets were detained on coup charges on July 16, 2016 and were arrested four days later. The cadets were indicted one year after they were sent to jail, and their trial was concluded in May 2018. One hundred seventy-eight of the cadets were given life sentences on charges of attempting to overturn the constitutional order and attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and parliament by use of force as well as membership in a terrorist organization.
The cadets say they had no information about a coup attempt unfolding and were acting on orders from their superiors, who told them there was a terrorist attack.
The military coup attempt killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the abortive putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed coup.