As Turkey celebrated the Mother’s day on Sunday, more than 17,000 women, many of them with babies, have been deprived of enjoying the day as they are obliged to spend it in prisons across Turkey.
Especially after a coup attempt on July 15, prisons in Turkey turned into a hub for Turkish women, as the government adopted a policy of imprisoning those who, in some cases, have just given birth or are pregnant.
In several cases, women were detained in the hospital immediately after the delivery of her baby and before they had a chance to recover. Many women were jailed as they were visiting their imprisoned husbands, leaving the children stranded in the ensuing chaos.
For instance, Filiz Y., a 30-year-old woman who gave birth at Mersin City Hospital on Feb. 7 was detained over alleged links to the Gülen group, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
In another example, Fadime Günay, who gave birth to a baby boy late on Jan. 29, was taken into custody on Jan. 30.
Police reportedly waited outside Antalya’s Alanya Başkent Hospital for hours in order to detain Günay, whose husband was recently taken into custody over alleged links to the Gülen group.
In one case, a woman reportedly lost her sanity under torture while in police detention, yet she was thrown back into prison, despite a diagnosis to that effect.
Another woman was jailed because her husband, a journalist, remained at large. In many cases, the government has jailed the wives of businessmen who are seen as supporting the opposition to Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in addition to seizing all their businesses and personal assets.
The practice of jailing of women in big numbers has added a new dimension to the massive government witch-hunt that has been launched against critics, mainly targeting members of the Gülen group.
None of the women has any criminal record. They are not yet convicted, and in most cases, not even indicted, but have been put in pre-trial detention as punishment.