Betül Selçuk, a physics teacher who has been held in pretrial detention for almost 11 months over alleged links to the Gülen movement, has told her lawyer that her 5-month-old son, Mehmet Selim, is slowly going blind in prison due to overheating and unhygienic conditions, the Haberdar news website reported.
“Extremely high temperatures and unsanitary conditions in the prison caused an infection. He cries all the time, and this makes the situation way worse. He was taken to an eye doctor at Tarsus State Hospital, and the doctor said my son is experiencing a loss of vision. He needs immediate treatment,” the mother said.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen group and initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the group from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Betül Selçuk and her husband Abdurrahman Selçuk were arrested over their alleged links to Turkey’s Gülen group. As a result their son, Mehmet Selim, has been staying with his mother in Tarsus prison for months.
Hundreds of human tragedies in Turkey have been reported to date. According to recent data released by the Ministry of Justice, more than 6,000 women are held in penal institutions, constituting around 9 percent of the total prison population in Turkey.
A total of 2,258 of them are mothers, of whom 520 are obliged to raise their 0 to 6-year-old children in prison.
A witch-hunt started by the Turkish government in the aftermath of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 against people affiliated with the Gülen group has done nothing but cause more tragedies for mothers with children.