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Mother with special needs child detained over alleged Gülen links

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Zeybegül Yılmaz, who has a 5-year-old special needs child, was detained yesterday evening in İzmir for alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported citing Bold Medya.

Yılmaz’s son, Salih, suffers from developmental problems and needs constant care. Salih’s father, Fatih Yılmaz, was arrested in 2016 and is currently serving a seven year, six month sentence in Eskişehir Prison.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

Critics have slammed Turkish authorities for detaining and arresting mothers with young or sick children.

According to a report by Solidarity with Others, a Brussels-based nongovernmental organization that mainly consists of political exiles from Turkey, a total of 219 pregnant women and women with children under 6 years of age have been arbitrarily detained or arrested over their suspected links to the Gülen movement.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on February 20, a total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 301,932 have been detained, while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,467 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed on alleged links to the movement.

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