Woman looking after disabled children alone as prosecutor husband under arrest for 270 days


Date posted: April 24, 2017

Hacer Çakmak is only one of the hundreds of thousands of people who found themselves facing tremendous difficulties after the government started a desperate crackdown on the Gülen movement in the aftermath of a July 15 coup attempt.

She is a mother of three children, two of them disabled, and the wife of a Turkish judge Seyfullah Cakmak who has been under arrest in Kandira prison for 270 days.

Her two disabled children have been suffering from a genetic disease and they are in persistent vegetative state, however they are not able to benefit from public health insurance as the father’s bank account and assets were seized and his health coverage was canceled.

Hacer has sent a letter to the Justice Held Hostage platform, a newly-established blog page aimed to spread the word by sharing personal stories of the judicial members who were victimized in the aftermath of the July 15 coup attempt.

What follows is the full text of the letter. 

“Letter from Hacer Cakmak, wife of Seyfullah Cakmak:

My husband Seyfullah Cakmak, a former public prosecutor in Kocaeli [province], was arrested on 17 July 2016 and since has been kept in the Kocaeli No. 2 T-Type Prison. He has been imprisoned for 270 days with regard to the FETO investigations. 

For the last 37 days, he has been kept in solitary confinement. He is only allowed one hour access to fresh air and he is not allowed to do his exercise rights with a company. 

We have three children, two of them are bedridden and in constant need of special care. 


Her two disabled children have been suffering from a genetic disease and they are in persistent vegetative state, however they are not able to benefit from public health insurance as the father’s bank account and assets were seized and his health coverage was canceled.


I am a housewife, my husband was dismissed from his profession. I don’t have any social security. I don’t have any property or any income, only my son has a motorised wheelchair. We have spent almost all our times in hospitals throughout our 18-year marriage. 

For the first seven years, we hadn’t had children. Our twins died in labour on the 9th day of November 2005 and this was our fifth attempt for having a test-tube baby. The seventh attempt was successful and our daughter Tugba was born on 29 September 2007. However, she was diagnosed with ‘nonketotic hyperglycinemia’ which is a genetic, inherited metabolic disorder. She is nine years old now and in constant need of care. She is bedridden and fed through a tube connected to her stomach. 

Tugce Seher, our only healthy child, was born on 23 March 2009. 

I was pregnant with our third child in 2013. From the 20th weeks onward during this pregnancy, I had been attached to a hospital ward between September 2013 and 29 January 2014 due to a cervical length issue. I gave birth to Omer Seyfettin, but again like his sister, he was ill and we had to spend one more month in the hospital. He was in a coma during this period. My husband looked after other children at these times. My biggest help in looking after my children was my husband, he is in prison now. I am not able to move my daughter Tugba, because of her weight and I cannot wash her up. Can someone tell me what I should do?

So, we are dividing our times between hospital and home, and we spend 40 to 60 days in a year in hospital beds with an attendant present constantly. We also visit outpatient clinics again 40 to 60 days in a year. 

My husband has such an altruistic disposition, he spared enough time for looking after his children and do his job properly at the same time. He has been a wonderful person, worked very hard and a respected one among his friends and colleagues. Although he showed such a personality, he has been arrested for charges that allegedly being a member of an armed terrorist organisation and violating the constitution. None of the charges can my husband be associated with. Our world includes our home, hospital and the children only.

None of the allegations both in judicial and administrative investigation files consists of any substantial evidence, fact or criminal act. His arrest is a particular punishment aimed for us. His dismissal from his job is unfair, too. My husband has proved through his hard work that he is an honest and very successful person as well as having a free will. His professional records and career are full of successes. However, he has not been promoted to any titled position. He has by no means been a member of a specific group or worked under the authority of any political establishment. He has taken supremacy of the law and the constitution as guidance and he has been paying the price by his dismissal and arrest. 

My mom is 72 years old and has a heart condition. So, she can’t walk, my dad, 79, is looking after her. My sister has epilepsy. My all in-laws, including my husband’s only brother, are dead now. Thus, I am alone, have nobody at all. 

My husband has nothing to do with the establishments and people who were involved in the attempted coup. Arresting one who has two bedridden children without any evidence is a punishment for our children and us.

Please, hear our voice, because there is no one we have now. 

In Turkey, judges and prosecutors could not take decisions based on the principles of fair trial and supremacy of the law due to fears of being labelled themselves as members of the FETO. They look in our eyes and say, ‘we can’t do anything’.  

Although my husband has never received a disciplinary sanction, he has been put in a cell [solitary confinement] in the prison. He has been in the prison cell for 37 days and believe me, I don’t know what to do. 

Two bedridden children on one side and a husband in a solitary confinement on the other. I am writing to you as a last resort.

I hope you understand me and help me out of this situation.

With my best regards.

Hacer Cakmak”

Source: Turkey Purge , April 24, 2017


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