Teacher detained just after giving birth, handcuffed to bed at hospital

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Zara Koc (L) and Fatma Öztürk

Turkish teacher Fatma Öztürk was detained immediately after giving birth at Ege Umut Hospital in Manisa’s Turgutlu district, Turkey Purge reported on Sunday.

Police raided the hospital in Turgutlu and handcuffed Öztürk to her bed after delivery, detaining her over alleged links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The group denies the accusation.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu referred to Öztürk and criticized the detention of mothers with newborn babies, in a social media message on Sunday. Tanrıkulu demanded an end to the violence against these women by tagging Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.

Another mother, Zara Koc, a cardiac patient who is expecting a baby at any time, was detained on July 3 and has been in police custody since then, according to Turkish media.

The nine months pregnant Koc, who is experiencing labor pains but deprived of a doctor, was detained along with 12 others in police operations.

While the charges raised against Koc are still unknown, her mother-in-law Vahide Koc told the media: “The only reason they rounded up her is because we are Kurdish.”

Öztürk is not the first mother to face detention immediately after delivery.

Hatice Avan, Havva Hamamcıoğlu, Nazlı Mert, Esra Demir, Aysun Aydemir, Elif Aslaner and Fadime Günay are only some of the women who also faced detention shortly after giving birth as part of a post-coup witch-hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

More than 17,000 women in Turkey, many with small children, have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown and subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention centers and prisons as part of the government’s systematic campaign of intimidation and persecution of critics and opponents, a new report titled “Jailing Women In Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear” released in April by SCF has revealed.

After the military coup attempt on July 15, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite strong denials of Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, and the movement supporters.

Erdoğan and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a statement by Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on Friday, 50,504 people have been arrested and 168,801 are the subject of legal proceedings for their alleged involvement in the organization of the coup since the failed coup attempt last July.

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