Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy and human rights activist Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu brought up the case of a purge victim family in parliament on Tuesday, saying that the 4-year-old child of a couple under arrest has been on the antidepressant Prozac to cope with separation from his parents.
The deputy said Derya and İsmail Yiğit have been jailed in Düzce for a year and that their 4-year-old son Bilal is being treated for depression. The deputy said the boy cannot accompany his mother in jail and called for her release.
Bilal is one of the many children in Turkey whose parents have been jailed on coup and terrorism charges since a failed coup in July 2016. Most of these couples are imprisoned due to their real or alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of orchestrating the abortive putsch.
According to Turkish law, pregnant women and women with small children cannot be imprisoned and should be tried while free on bail. However, over 700 small children currently are staying in Turkey’s prisons along with their mothers.
Many others are left with their relatives with both parents in jail. Gergerlioğlu is one of the few people in Turkey who is calling on the government to apply the law and release the mothers.