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Woman suffering from cancer left to take care of disabled son alone after husband’s arrest

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A woman suffering from cancer Thursday said in a letter she had been struggling to take care of her disabled son since the jailing of her husband for his alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

Hülya Durmuş, 41, posted her letter on Twitter, saying her life had become a constant struggle as she tried to take care of her autistic 16-year-old son. Durmuş said her son, who is almost totally disabled, had frequent tantrums after his father was arrested.

Durmuş’s husband, İbrahim Durmuş, was arrested in July 2019. He was accused of membership in a terrorist organization for working at a prep-school affiliated with the movement. İbrahim Durmuş was sent to a prison in western İzmir province, where he is currently being held.

Hülya Durmuş was diagnosed with stage four lymphoma in 2018. As her son’s mental condition worsened, Durmuş was also battling her own critical disease. “My son was in such a state after his father’s arrest that nobody could calm him down,” she said. “He started hitting himself and having breakdowns.”

She added that they were also experiencing financial difficulties and had lost their house.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government launched a war against the Gülen movement, a worldwide civic initiative inspired by the ideas of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013 that implicated then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family members and 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. He 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.

Many families with sick or disabled children have suffered from the government’s purge. Hatice Kökoğlu, the mother of a disabled son and daughter, was detained in 2017 for links to the movement.

Berk Görmez, 14 years old and disabled, passed away while his father was behind bars in 2018.

Nurbanu Aydın, a 29-year-old “spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy” patient, was cut off from financial assistance in 2020 after her father, Muammer Aydın, was arrested.

Last year a 7-year-old girl with Down syndrome was left to the care of her teenage sister after both her parents were detained for helping refugees.

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