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Mother of military cadet who got life for 2016 coup calls on Turkish first lady to speak out

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The mother of a former military cadet who was given a life sentence for her alleged role in Turkey’s 2016 coup attempt has written an open letter to first lady Emine Erdoğan, calling on her to speak out about the injustice her daughter has suffered.

Posting the letter on social media, Gül Gönüllü said she decided to write the letter after Erdoğan gave a speech at a conference hosted by the World Health Organization in Geneva on Tuesday, on health issues of women and teenagers in vulnerable situations.

“If you don’t know our suffering, I’m writing these words to let you know,” Gönüllü said.

Arrested immediately after the failed coup, Nimet Ecem Gönüllü received a life sentence in May 2018, along with hundreds of other military cadets who were brought to the İstanbul’s Bosporus Bridge on the night of the abortive putsch by their superiors.

Her father, Ramazan Gönüllü, was killed 20 years ago in a battle with terrorists.

“We haven’t witnessed justice in the courts, which are supposed to be objective and independent,” Gönüllü said.

Two hundred fifty-nine military cadets were sentenced to life in prison for attempting to overthrow the government.

“You’re a mother, too,” she added. “After reading this letter, as a mother, will you remain silent? That’s what I want to know.”

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