Aseem Trivedi, an Indian free speech activist and political cartoonist, has drawn cartoons of 15 mothers and their newly born babies who have been detained or arrested by the Turkish government on coup charges either when they were pregnant or shortly after giving birth.
Trivedi published the cartoons in the Black & White – Online Cartoon Magazine for Human Rights” on Wednesday to attract attention to the systematic detentions and massive human rights violations in Turkey and to show solidarity with the persecuted women and babies.
Trivedi has released the cartoons with a note that reads: “Turkish government has systematically been detaining women on coup charges either when they are pregnant or shortly after giving birth. At least 16 cases have so far been reported.”
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Erdoğan pinned the blame on Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. The movement denies the accusations.
Hundreds of human tragedies in Turkey have been reported since then.
In June, teacher Esra Demir was detained a day after giving birth in Batman.
In May, Aysun Aydemir, an English teacher who gave birth to a baby in a Cesarean procedure, was detained at the hospital for links to the Gülen movement and subsequently arrested by a court and put in pretrial detention with a three-day-old baby in Zonguldak province.
In late January, Fadime Günay, who had just given birth, was detained by police at Antalya’s Alanya Başkent Hospital as part of the same witch-hunt.
In early January, Ş.A., a former private school teacher and mother of a week-old premature infant, was taken into police custody over links to the movement while she was on her way to the hospital to feed the baby.
A day after Ş.A. was taken into custody, another mother known as Meryem gave birth to twins by C-section at a hospital in Konya and was detained by police despite doctors’ reports that she should not travel and was taken to Aksaray from Konya in a police car.
According to recent data released by the Ministry of Justice, more than 2,250 mothers are held in penal institutions, of whom 520 are obliged to raise their 0 to 6-year-old children in prison.
A total of 138,148 people have been dismissed from their jobs, 118,235 detained and 55,927 arrested as part of a government crackdown following the failed coup last summer.
(Parts of this story first appeared in TurkeyPurge.com)