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AKP deputy says babies accompanying mothers in jail even provided with diapers

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A Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy has said more than 800 children who are accompanying their mothers in Turkey’s prisons are being taken good care of and are even given diapers, according to an opposition deputy.

Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who is also a renowned rights activist, tweeted about the case of a woman who was arrested on Sunday, the first day of Eid al-Adha, in Turkey’s Black Sea province of Samsun due to her alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The 32-year-old woman had to leave her 2-year-old daughter behind, said Gergerlioğlu, adding that when he raised the issue of children jailed with their mothers in parliament, an AKP deputy, Oya Eronat, said: “They are even given diapers in prison. The services offered to them is very good. But you still continue to complain.”

Eronat’s remarks have attracted widespread criticism on social media, with many  questioning how a mother who underwent the pain of losing her own son, killed in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır in a Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) bomb attack in 2008, can make such merciless remarks about babies.

Eronat, a civil engineer, was elected to parliament from the ranks of the AKP in the 2011 general election and has been a deputy since then.

In the aftermath of a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, more than 17,000 women from all walks of life including teachers, doctors and housewives have been jailed in Turkey on coup charges in government-led operations due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

There are currently more than 800 children accompanying their mothers in Turkish jails. Many women have been jailed with their young children immediately after delivery or while pregnant on terrorism charges.

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