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Mother of jailed ex-military cadet to launch ‘justice march’

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Melek Çetinkaya, the mother of a former military cadet who has been sentenced to life in prison for his alleged role in a 2016 failed coup in Turkey, has announced that she will start a “justice march” from Ankara to İstanbul’s notorious Silivri Prison, where her son is incarcerated.

Çetinkaya has been struggling to convince officials that former military cadets like her son had nothing to do with the coup attempt and has staged a number of protests in front of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) headquarters in Ankara.

She told Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish service on Monday that the former cadets were brought to İstanbul on the night of the coup, July 15, 2016, for an alleged terrorist attack, and that they had no idea about a military putsch.

A total of 259 ex-cadets who were on İstanbul’s Bosporus Bridge that night were sentenced to life in prison. The same night two others were brutally killed by an angry mob near the bridge.

“I feel in my bones that there’s no justice here, but I’ll still pursue to the end,” Çetinkaya told DW Turkish.

Her son Furkan Çetinkaya is living in a severely overcrowded ward and is given an inadequate amount of food every day, Melek Çetinkaya added.

“I know he’s innocent, but I can’t get him out of prison. If I thought, even for a second, that he was not innocent, I’d accept the court’s verdict,” she said.

In 2017 Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, walked from Ankara to İstanbul, where a deputy from his party was imprisoned on terrorism charges.

The deputy, Enis Berberoğlu, was eventually released.

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