Turkish pop singer Demet Akalın took to Twitter on Mother’s Day to raise awareness about pregnant and sick women as well as mothers with small children in Turkish prisons. She, however, deleted her tweet several hours after being targeted by several pro-government and ultranationalist news websites.
In her tweet, Akalın called on the Turkish authorities to release women who are behind bars on politically motivated charges — such as membership in a “terrorist” organization due to their alleged links to the Gülen group. The group is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016. It denies any involvement.
Akalın also posted photos of some of the women jailed in Edirne prison.
“None of them are murderers,” she said in her tweet. She also said she would call the best lawyers in the country to discuss the legal situation of these women.
Hours later, Oda TV, an ultranationalist website in Turkey, accused the singer of calling for the release of the women, arrested over Gülen links, saying that five of the six women, whose photos were shared by Akalın, were ByLock users.
Turkey considers ByLock, once widely available online, a secret tool of communication among supporters of the Gülen group since the coup attempt despite the lack of any evidence that ByLock messages were related to the abortive putsch, leading to the arrest of thousands who were using it.
Oda TV also claimed that all the women were jailed after they were detained while trying to flee abroad. It was not clear how the news website got access to the details in the women’s case files.
Following the Oda TV report, Akalın deleted her tweet in an apparent move to avoid any legal harassment as prosecutors in Turkey are quick to take action against anyone speaking in favor of the Gülen movement or their followers.