پناہ گزین ٹیچر میلک کیماز کے ساتھ انٹرویو

میلک کیمازترکی سے تعلق رکنے ولا ایک پناہ گزین ہے اور اس وقت ایمسٹرڈیم کے ایک بین الاقوامی ہائی اسکول میں ریاضی کے استادنی کے طور پر کام کرتی ہے۔ اسکول میں وہ MAVO, HAVO اور VWO کےطلباء کو ڈچ میں ریاضی سکھاتی ہے۔

How did you end up in the Netherlands?

آپ نیدرلینڈ میں کیسے آئے؟

میلک اپنے شوہر کے ساتھ ترکی سے بھاگ گئی تہی اور ہالینڈ آنے سے پہلے، وہ تین سال تک عراق میں رہے، جہاں میلک نے ریاضی کے استادنی کے طور پر وظیفہ انجام دیا۔ جب میلک حاملہ ہوئیں، تو وہ جانتی تہی کہ ترکی واپس جانا اور عراق میں رہنا اب کوئی آپشن نہیں ہے۔ وہ اپنی بیٹی کے بہتر مستقبل کے لیے کچھ کرنا چاہتی تھی۔ پہلے انھیں اندازہ نہیں تھا کہ وہ کہاں جا سکتے ہیں۔میلک نے بتایا کہ، “ہمارے پاس کسی یورپی ملک کا ویزا نہیں تھا اور نہ ہی امریکہ جانے کے لیے گرین کارڈ”۔ انٹرنیٹ پر راہ حل کی جانج پرتال میں کچھ وقت گزارنے کے بعد انہیں معلوم ہوا کہ ہالینڈ ایک ایسا ملک ہے جہاں پناہ گزینوں کو استقبال کیا جاتا ہے، جہاں انہیں مدد مل سکتی ہے اور جہاں وہ آزاد ہیں۔ میلک کاکہنا ہے،”آزادی میرے لیے بہت اہم ہے، اسی لیے ہم نیدرلینڈ آئے”۔ اب میلک اور اس کے شوہر پانچ سال سے ہالینڈ میں رہ رہے ہیں۔ “یہ بہت بڑا قدم تھا، اورشروع میں مجھے آراستہ ہونے میں بہت مشکل کا سامنا کرنا پڑا۔ مجھے معلوم نہیں تھا کہ ہالینڈ میں رہنے کا کیا مطلب ہے۔ میں ہالند کی زبان نہیں جانتی تھی اور نہ ہی ڈچ ثقافت کے بارے میں کچھ پتہ تھا”۔ میلک اور اس کے شوہر خود ھی ہالینڈ آئے تھےاور ہالینڈ میں ان کا کوئی رشتہ دار یا جاننے والا نہیں رہتاتھا۔

آپ ریاضی کے استاد نی کیوں بنے؟

“جب میں چھوٹی تھی تو ریاضی کی استانی بننا میرا خواب نہیں تھا۔لیکن بعدمیں مجھے انتخاب کرنا تھاکہ میں کس سمت جانا چاہتی ہوں۔ اورمیں جانتی تھی کہ مجھے ریاضی پسند ہے۔ میں ریاضی کو ایک قسم کے کھیل کے طور پر دیکھتی ہوں یا پھرایک پہیلی کی طرح جسے میں حل کرنا چاہتی ہوں۔ اس کے علاوہ، میں یہ بھی جانتی تھی کہ دوسرے لوگوں کو ریاضی پڑھانا مجھےپسند تھا۔ اکثر مجھے اپنے بھائیوں یا اپنے گھر والوں کو چیزیں سمجھانا پڑتی تھیں اور مجھے یہ کرنا پسند تھا۔ اس لیے ریاضی کی استانی بننے کا انتخاب ایک اچھا فیصلہ تھا۔”

آپ کو کن دشواریوں کا سامنا کرنا پڑا ہے؟

جب میلک اور اس کے شوہر نیدرلینڈ آئے تو سب کچھ شروع سے شروع کرنا پڑا۔ انہیں ڈچ زبان یا ثقافت کے بارے میں کوئی اندازہ نہیں تھا۔ ایک AZC واقع ایمسٹرڈیم میں میلک نے خود کو ڈچ زبان کی بنیادی باتیں ایک کتاب سے جو آنکہ دسترس میں تھی، سکھائی ۔ وہ دس مہینہ AZC میں اپنے شوہر اور اپنی نو زاد بیٹی کہ ساتھ رہی۔ اب وہ جنوب مشرقی ایمسٹرڈیم میں اپنے خاندان کے ساتھ ایک گھر میں رہتی ہے۔ اپنے ڈچ کو بہتر بنانے کے لیے، اس نے ایمسٹرڈیم کی میونسپلٹی کی طرف سے پیش کردہ ایک مفت کورس کیا۔ اس کہ علاوہ اس نے Hogeschool van Amsterdam میں “Orientation Track Statusholders for the Classroom” (Oriëntatietraject Statushouders voor de Klas) بھی مکمل کیا۔ اس ٹریک کہ مدد سے نے نہ صرف اسے ڈچ زبان میں مہارت حاصل ہوی بلکہ اسے ڈچ کی تعلیمی نظام کے بارے میں بھی علم ہوا اورپر اسے سیکنڈری اسکول میں انٹرن شپ حاصل کرنے کا موقع ملا۔

اب وہ اسی اسکول میں ریاضی کی استانی کے طور پر کام کر رہی ہیں۔ یہ سب کچھ دیکہنےاور سنے میں آسان لگتی ہے۔ میلک نے بتایا کہ تدریسی ملازمت تلاش کرنا ناقابل یقین حد تک مشکل تھا۔ مثال کے طور پر، اس نے 40 سے زیادہ اسکولوں کے لیے درخواست دی جن میں سے صرف 5 اسکولوں نے جواب دیا۔ آخر میں، وہ دو اسکولوں میں سے انتخاب کر سکتی تھی۔ وہ بہت اداس تھی کہ کچھ اسکولوں نے بالکل جواب نہیں دیا تھا۔ “میں مختلف ہوں، میں سمجھتا ہوں، لیکن مجھے جواب کی توقع تھی ، خاص طور پر جب نیدرلینڈز میں اساتذہ کی کمی ہے۔” میلک نے محسوس کیا کہ ڈچ لوگ پہلے اس پر بھروسہ نہیں کرتے تھے۔ “وہ دوسرے لوگوں سے ڈرتے ہیں۔ وہ پہلے تو آپ پر یقین نہیں کرتے، لیکن ایک بار جب آپ ان کا اعتماد حاصل کر لیں تو سب اچھا ہے اور وہ بہت اچھے اور پیارے لوگ ہیں۔”

ترکی اور ڈچ کے تعلیمی نظام میں کیا فرق ہے؟

“ڈچ تعلیم ترکی سے تھوڑی مختلف ہے۔” مثال کے طور پر، میلک نے سمجھایا کہ ترکی میں اسکولوں کی بھی مختلف سطحیں ہیں۔ لیکن فرق انکہ عمروں کا ہے جس میں بچوں کی سطح تبدیل ہوتی ہے۔ مثال کے طور پر، ترکی میں ابتدائی اسکول بھی آٹھ سال کا ہے، لیکن ہالینڈ میں بچے کم عمر میں ہائی اسکول جاتے ہیں۔ اس کی وجہ سے، میلک کو یہ لگتا ہے کہ ڈچ بچے جو ابھی ہائی اسکول شروع کر رہے ہیں ان میں تھوڑا سا بچکانہ گی ہیں۔ میلک نے جو دیکھا وہ یہ ہے کہ ڈچ بچے بہت زیادہ خود مختار ہیں۔ ‘یہاں کے بچے بہت زیادہ فعال ہیں۔ ترکی میں استاد کو 100 فیصد فعال ہونا ضروری ہے، اور طالب علم صرف اس کی پیروی کرتے ہیں جو کہا جاتا ہے. “ہالینڈ میں، بچے اسائنمنٹس آزادانہ طور پر انجام دیتے ہیں بغیریہ کہ استاد ہر چیز کی وضاحت کرے۔” ایک اور فرق یہ ہے کہ ہالینڈ میں بہت سے مختلف قسم کے اسکول ہیں، جیسے کہ سرکاری، نجی یا عیسائی اسکول۔ ترکی میں صرف ایک قسم کا اسکول ہے۔

مستقبل کو دیکھتے ہوئے۔

اگرچہ میلک کو ترکی میں اپنے خاندان اور دوستوں اور اپنی ثقافت کی کمی محسوس ہوتی ہے، پھر بھی وہ ہالینڈ آنے کے انتخاب سے خوش ہے۔ اس کے خاندان اور دوست وقتاً فوقتاً اس سے ملنے آتے ہیں لیکن وہ خود ترکی واپس نہیں جا سکتی۔ میلک لیے سب سے اہم چیز آزادی ہے جو اسے ہالینڈ میں حاصل ہے۔وہ دوسرے پناہ گزینوں کو بتانا چاہتی ہےکہ شروع میں ہالینڈ آنا اور یہاں استاد بننا ایک بہت مشکل مرحلہ ہے، لیکن آپ کو کبھی بھی ہمت نہیں ہارنی چاہیے اور ہمیشہ اپنی پوری کوشش کرنی چاہیے۔ یہ وقت کے ساتھ آسان اور آسان ہو جاتا ہے.

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Written by Georgette Schönberger

Translated by Uzair Ahmad Saleem  from [https://brokenchalk.org/interview-with-melek-kaymaz/]

Current issues in Turkish prisons submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

https://i.duvarenglish.com/2/814/458/storage/files/images/2021/05/19/hapishane-l9BQ_cover.jpg.webp

By
Carolina Silvestre, Dimitrios Chasouras, María Núñez Fontán, Olimpia Guidi, Samantha Orozco, Vahit Uzunlar

Through this report, our organisation aims to address current issues and promote good practices in prison management, focusing on Turkey. In alignment with the objectives set forth by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), this thematic report endeavours to shed light on the prevailing challenges and commendable practices within the Turkish prison system. The report considers the OHCHR’s delineation of eight crucial focus areas, which serves as the foundational framework for our comprehensive assessment of Turkey’s prison management practices through “Call 9.” As a critical contribution to the discourse on human rights and prison conditions, this report aims to offer valuable insights and recommendations for enhancing the well-being and dignity of detainees within Turkey’s correctional facilities, thereby advancing the cause of human rights on a global scale.


For the comprehensive evaluation of prison management in Turkey, “Broken Chalk” has laid down ten critical points of focus that underpin the core objectives of this report. These ten key areas encompass issues of profound importance in understanding prison conditions and human rights in the Turkish correctional system. These points are as follows:

  1. Babies in Turkish Prisons: The presence of infants in correctional facilities raises concerns about the rights and well-being of both the child and the incarcerated parent.
  2. Sick Prisoners in Turkey: Ensuring adequate healthcare and treatment for ill inmates is fundamental to their human rights.
  3. Pregnant Women in Turkish Prisons: The unique needs of expectant mothers behind bars require special attention and care.
  4. Deaths Due to COVID-19 in Turkish Prisons: In light of the global pandemic, examining the impact of COVID-19 on prison populations is of utmost importance.
  5. Deaths Due to Sickness in Turkish Prisons: Understanding the circumstances leading to deaths within prisons is essential to addressing systemic issues.
  6. Parole Right Violations in Turkish Prisons: Ensuring prisoners’ rights to parole are respected and upheld is critical in fair and just incarceration.
  7. Allegations of Torture and Ill-Treatment in Turkish Prisons: Investigating claims of torture and ill-treatment is critical for upholding human rights and international standards.
  8. Exceeding Capacity in Turkish Prisons: Overcrowding poses significant challenges to the well-being of inmates, and its implications are central to this report.
  9. Denial of the Right to Defence in Turkish Prisons: Ensuring access to legal representation and due process is pivotal in safeguarding the rights of those incarcerated.
  10. Access to Health Services in Turkish Prisons: Adequate healthcare services are a fundamental human right for those within the prison system.

    Each of these points has been included in the report to shed light on specific areas of concern within the Turkish prison system, with the ultimate goal of improving conditions, safeguarding human rights, and contributing to international discourse on the subject.

The parents of the quintuplets were arrested due to membership in the Gülen movement.

The Gülen Movement: Promoting Education and Human Rights

The Gülen Movement, named after its founder, Fethullah Gülen, is an influential cluster of religious, educational, and social organisations. Founded in the late 1960s in Turkey, the movement aims to provide faithful Muslims with a modern education while emphasising traditional religious teachings. With a network of schools and centres in over 100 countries, the movement has significantly contributed to education and intercultural dialogue worldwide.

The movement gained international attention in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2015, in Turkey. The coup attempt, attached to a faction within the Turkish military, led to a turbulent period in the country. In the wake of the coup, many individuals associated with the Gülen Movement, including educationists and teachers, faced severe repercussions.

Soldiers with their hands up on Istanbul's Bosporus Bridge

Source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36855846

Following the coup attempt, educationists and teachers associated with the Gülen Movement became targets of government crackdowns. Thousands of educators were dismissed under a state of emergency decrees (KHK), leaving them without job security and facing social stigma. The government accused them of being members of a terrorist organisation, specifically the Gülen movement, and subjected them to legal proceedings.

One notable case in this context is the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (EHRC) regarding teacher Yalcinkaya. The EHRC recognised that Yalcinkaya’s dismissal from her teaching position violated her rights to freedom of expression and association. This decision shed light on the challenges faced by educators associated with the Gülen Movement and highlighted the need to safeguard human rights after the coup attempt.

Source: https://www.turkishminute.com/2023/09/11/ecthr-soon-announce-decision-turkish-teacher-convicted-of-gulen-link/

It is important to note that accusations against the parents of the quintuplets and their siblings, Abdülkadir and Nurcan Arslan, who were arrested and subsequently imprisoned, are not considered crimes in any part of the world. It was stated that Abdülkadir Arslan worked at a private teaching institution previously closed by a decree law, and his wife was a housewife. The couple was accused of being members of the Gülen movement, resulting in their separation from their children. This situation raises concerns about the well-being of the children and the impact of parental absence on their development. Furthermore, one of the children has a health problem, which adds to the complexity of their situation. The absence of their parents and the challenges they face as a result of the coup attempt have undoubtedly affected their overall well-being and access to necessary medical care.

Despite these difficulties, some people in Turkey have shown support for the family through social media platforms. By raising awareness and advocating for their rights, individuals have come together to provide assistance and solidarity to the quintuplets and their siblings. This support demonstrates the power of social media in mobilising communities to address the challenges faced by individuals affected by the aftermath of the coup attempt.

The Gülen Movement’s commitment to education has been a cornerstone of its efforts. The movement has established numerous educational institutions worldwide, focusing on providing a comprehensive education that combines modern subjects with an emphasis on religious values. These Gülen-inspired schools have been successful in countries such as Germany, where they cater to Turkish immigrants and their offspring. The movement’s educational agenda aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in the modern world while maintaining a solid connection to their religious heritage.

However, the educational initiatives of the Gülen Movement have faced significant challenges after the failed coup attempt. The government’s crackdown on the movement’s members and institutions has resulted in the closure of many Gülen-inspired schools and educational centres. The dismissal of teachers and educationists associated with the movement has disrupted the education of countless students who relied on these institutions for their learning.

The impact of the coup attempt and subsequent government actions on the education sector goes beyond the closure of schools. The stigmatisation and persecution of educators associated with the Gülen Movement have created an atmosphere of fear and insecurity within the education community. Teachers, once respected and valued for their dedication to education, now find themselves marginalised and targeted. This not only hampers the progress of education but also undermines the fundamental principles of human rights and freedom of expression.

The plight of the quintuplets and their sibling, left without their parents due to their alleged affiliation with the Gülen Movement, highlights the human cost of the political turmoil in Turkey. Separated from their loved ones, these children face an uncertain future and the challenges of growing up without parental guidance. The emotional and psychological impact of their situation cannot be underestimated, particularly considering that one of the children has a health problem that requires extra care and support.

Source: https://www.turkishminute.com/2023/10/04/turkish-court-send-parents-of-6-to-prison-on-gulen-charges-conviction/

In such difficult circumstances, social media has become a powerful tool for mobilising support and raising awareness. People from all walks of life, both within and outside Turkey, have used social media platforms to express solidarity with the quintuplets and their siblings. Through hashtags and online campaigns, individuals have shared their concerns, donated resources, and advocated for their rights. This outpouring of support demonstrates the potential of social media to galvanise communities and bring attention to pressing human rights issues.

In conclusion, the Gülen Movement, focusing on education and intercultural dialogue, has significantly contributed to society globally. However, the movement and its members have faced challenges and human rights issues in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in Turkey. It is crucial to recognise the impact on educationists and teachers associated with the movement, the separation of families, and the importance of safeguarding human rights in such circumstances. The support individuals show through social media platforms highlights the resilience and solidarity among communities in times of adversity. As the international community grapples with the aftermath of political turmoil, it is vital to prioritise human rights and ensure that education remains a fundamental right for all children, irrespective of their parents’ affiliations.

Mustafa Ersoy’s Plea for Swiss Asylum

Mustafa Ersoy’s fate hangs in the balance as he faces deportation to Turkey. With his expired passport, he has turned to Switzerland in a desperate plea for asylum.

by Inja van Soest.

In a recent report by İsmail Sağıroğlu from Boldmedya, we learn of yet another tragic chapter unfolding against a backdrop of mounting pressure within Turkey. Mustafa Ersoy, a 52-year-old educator from Konya Beyşehir, is facing deportation. After completing his studies in computer science in Kazakhstan, he stayed for a decade as a teacher. Afterwards, he returned to his homeland, Turkey, assuming roles as a manager in Beykoz and Sultanbeyli reading halls affiliated with Kaynak Eğitim in Istanbul.

However, Mustafa’s life took a sharp turn on July 15, 2016, when Turkey experienced a coup attempt. The Turkish government attributed the coup to Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. Once an ally of President Erdogan, Gulen firmly denies any involvement in the coup. The Turkish government has labelled Gulen’s network as the “Fethullah Terrorist Organization” (FETO), accusing its supporters of establishing a “parallel state” by infiltrating various state institutions, including the police, judiciary, and military. In the two years following the coup attempt, Turkey remained under a state of emergency, leading to the arrest of tens of thousands and the suspension or dismissal of at least 125,000 civil servants, military personnel, and academics suspected of having links to Gulen.

When Mustafa’s colleagues started facing detainment and arrests, he sought refuge in Kazakhstan. However, his inability to renew his passport forced him to leave Kazakhstan, ultimately reaching Switzerland via Greece, where he applied for asylum.

Regrettably, Mustafa Ersoy’s application was rejected on two separate occasions, with him not having access to the information in his case files. The situation reached a critical juncture on Thursday, October 12th, when Swiss Police picked him up in the early morning hours at the camp where he had been staying and escorted him to the airport. Mustafa refused to board the flight to Turkey, fully aware that he would face imminent arrest and persecution upon his return. Since then, he has been in a detention centre near Geneva alongside other immigrants awaiting deportation to their home countries.

It was not until Monday, October 16th, that Mustafa received a glimmer of hope when a Swiss court granted him the right to reapply for asylum. His re-application with the legal help of FLAG21 is now under review, with a decision expected within the next ten days.

Broken Chalk firmly stands with Mustafa Ersoy and is grateful for the help he has received from FLAG21. Broken Chalk appeals to the Swiss Government to grant him asylum and protection from the potential persecution he faces at the hands of the Turkish Government.

More information about the attempted Coup: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/15/turkeys-failed-coup-attempt-explainer

And the original news article: https://aktifhaber.com/gundem/isvicrenin-deport-kararina-direnen-mustafa-ogretmen-destek-bekliyor.html

The abduction of Koray Vural

By Fenna Eelkema

Mr. Vural is a 46-year-old Turkish man who moved to Tajikistan in 1994, 29 years ago. He used to work as a teacher and a principal in Turkish colleges in Tajikistan, and these schools were closed down in 2016 after the coup attempt in Turkey.  Mr Vural was part of the Gülen Movement, which promotes a tolerant Islam emphasising altruism, modesty, hard work and education. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish government accused the movement of being involved in an attempted coup in 2016, leading to much controversy about the movement and a political conflict. The Gülen Movement is classified as a terrorist organization by the Turkish Government. The school was closed due to pressure from the Turkish government. After this, Mr. Vural went into business and started running a restaurant. He also is a loving father of 3.   

On Sunday morning, 17th of September 2023, Mr Vural was getting out of his car when eight masked men abducted him. It is believed that this abduction was done by MIT, which is the Turkish National Intelligence Organization, which gathers information of national interest for the government. 

After Mr. Vural’s wife found out about the abduction, she heard that he was in the Tajikistan police department, so she went everywhere and asked, but she was unable to find him. It is believed that the next day, the 18th of September 2023, he was transported via aeroplane to Turkey. A member of the National Assembly of Turkey, Dr Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, tweeted that a ‘Bombardier Challenger 604’ departed from Ankara to Dushanbe at 01:45 Tajikistan Time (TJT). The aircraft arrived in Dushanbe at 05:50 and was stationed for 30 minutes, and then flew back to the Ankara Etimesgut military airport. It is speculated that Mr. Vural was on this flight.

Two months earlier, on the 4th of July 2023, the teacher Emsal Koç had been abducted from his home in Tajikistan. He was taken to Turkey and was forced to give details on other Gülen movement members in Tajikistan. 

In 2017, a lawsuit was filed against Mr Vural at the Bursa 10th High Criminal Court within the scope of the investigation against the Gülen community; Mr Vural’s name was included on the Orange list, which is a wanted terrorist list prepared by the Ministry of Interior. However, this was cancelled by the Council of State. 

Mr. Vural’s family has been asking for help on X (Twitter) and has been trying to spread awareness with the hashtag #FindOurDadKorayVural. Unfortunately, they have not heard from him since his abduction. 

Teacher Yüksel Yalçınkaya v. Türkiye

ECHR courtroom - Copyright AP Photo Euronews.com

By Maria Popova

In a significant judgement on the 26th of September, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held that Türkiye has to address a systematic problem of terrorism convictions decisively based on using a messaging application by the accused. The Court held that there had been a violation of Article 7 ECHR (no punishment without law), Article 6(1) ECHR (right to a fair trial) and Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association).

Facts of the case

The case had to deal with the conviction of a former teacher, Yüksel Yalçınkaya, who was assumed to have participated in an armed terrorist organisation called the “FETÖ/PDY” formerly known as the “Gülen movement” and considered by the Turkish authorities to be behind the attempted coup d’état of 15 July 2016.

The teacher was arrested in 2016 on suspicion of membership in a terrorist organisation. He was put in pre-trial detention and received his bill of indictment in 2017. According to the authorities, the accusation and the following arrest were based on the following evidence: suspicious banking activity, membership of a trade union, which allegedly had a terrorist link and the use of a mobile application called ByLock, which had reportedly been used for communication purposes by the members of the terrorist organisation.

Following his trial, Mr. Yalçınkaya was sentenced to six years and three months in prison. A decision later upheld by the Court of Appeal in Ankara and the Cassation Court. The decisive evidence in the case was using the mobile application, which was considered exclusively employed by the “FETÖ/PDY”. The Bank Asya account and the participation in the trade union served as supportive evidence due to their affiliation with the terrorist organisation.

Applicant’s submission before the Court of Human Rights

Following his conviction, Mr Yalçınkaya lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights in 2020 due to alleged violations of his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

He relied on Article 6(1) ECHR, which stipulates the right to a fair trial. According to the applicant, there were irregularities regarding the collection and the admissibility of the evidence regarding the ByLock application. Furthermore, according to the applicant, there were difficulties in challenging said evidence, which is an essential procedure constituting a fair trial.

Mr Yalçınkaya also alleged a violation of Article 7 (stipulating that there shouldn’t be a punishment if the act or the omission were not categorised as a crime at the time of committing) and 11 ECHR (stipulating the freedom of assembly and association) because his conviction was based on acts which did not constitute a crime under Turkish law—mainly, the participation in a trade union and the possession of a bank account.

Government’s submission

The Turkish Government argued that a state of emergency justified all measures taken following an attempted military coup. Therefore, according to its representatives, Türkiye has not violated any applicant’s rights under the ECHR. The Government used in its defence article 15 ECHR, which stipulates that in the case of any nation-threatening emergency, the country might derogate from its obligations under the Convention.

Judgement of the Court

Regarding the defence put forward by the Turkish Government regarding Article 15 ECHR, the Court of Human Rights has decided that Article 15 does not allow for a derogation from Article 7 ECHR. Therefore, it will be considered only about the other articles mentioned in the case.

Regarding the violation of Article 7 ECHR, the Court established that it prescribes that only an existing legal provision can define a criminal act and lay out a penalty. Such a law should not be enacted to the detriment of the accused. The Court agreed that article 314(2) of the Turkish Criminal Code and the provisions of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which constitute the legal framework under which Mr Yalçınkaya was convicted in Türkiye are clear and well-defined enough for the applicant to understand whether he has committed a criminal offence.

Under Turkish legislation, for the convicted to be liable for participation in a terrorist organisation, there has to be proof of his specific knowledge and intent to be a member of the terrorist group. For example, there had to be an “organic link” with the organisation; that link should be continuous, and they must be well aware that the group’s activities are illegal and the person must possess a specific intent to further such unlawful activities. There should also be proof that the accused willingly participated in the organisation’s hierarchical structure. It is not enough that the law was well defined. The law had to be applied precisely, following all of its requirements regarding a conviction. Something the Turkish authorities failed to do.

The ECtHR held that the Turkish authorities failed to prove every requirement of the law but instead automatically presumed that Mr Yalçınkaya was a member of the “FETÖ/PDY” solely because he was using the app ByLock. That assumption was made irrespective of the nature of his messages or the receivers of his messages. The applicant had no opportunity to defend himself nor challenge such presumptions and allegations. Therefore, his rights under Article 7 ECHR were violated as the article aims to ensure safeguards against arbitrary convictions.

The Court also sided with the applicant regarding the violation of Article 6 ECHR, or the right to a fair trial. The Court held that for Article 6 to be ensured correctly, evidence in a problem had to be collected fairly and legally, and the accused should be able to challenge and review the evidence against him. Those are some of the factors required for a fair trial to be ensured.

In this case, the Turkish courts had failed to ensure the safeguards prescribed by Article 6(1) ECHR. Firstly, there was no valid reason why the ByLock data was kept from the applicant, nor why the applicant was not allowed to comment on the evidence against him, which would have also allowed him to challenge its validity. The Courts have also denied the applicants’ request that the ByLock data be submitted to an independent examination to ensure its validity. The disregard for such safeguards constitutes a violation of Article 6 ECHR.

Regarding Article 11 ECHR, the Court held that the applicant’s conviction of membership in a terrorist organisation based on his participation in a trade union constitutes a violation of his rights. The mere participation in a trade union that has operated lawfully before the coup cannot be foreseen as an indication of criminal conduct.

According to the court

There are currently approximately 8,500 applications on the Court’s docket involving similar complaints under Articles 7 and 6 of the Convention, and given that the authorities had identified around 100,000 ByLock users, many more might potentially be lodged. The problems which had led to findings of violations were systemic. Under Article 46 (binding force and implementation of judgments), the Court held that Türkiye had to take general measures appropriate to address those systemic problems, notably regarding the Turkish judiciary’s approach to Bylock evidence.

Following the decision

The Court’s judgement received criticism from the Turkish Minister of Justice Yılmaz Tunç, who described it as unacceptable due to the ECtHR “overstepping its jurisdiction” by examining the credibility or lack of evidence used in the national trial. On the contrary, the applicant’s lawyer, Johan Heymans, characterised the judgement as a “milestone” and stated his belief that the decision of the Court would set an important precedent for similar Turkish cases.

Sources:
YÜKSEL YALÇINKAYA v TÜRKİYE App no 15669/20 (ECtHR, 26 September 2023)

European Court of Human Rights, ‘Türkiye must address systemic problem of convictions for terrorism offences based decisively on accused’s use of the ByLock messaging application’ (Press Release issued by the Registrar of the Court, 26.09.2023) accessed 17 September 2023

<https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/app/conversion/pdf/?library=ECHR&id=003-7756172-10739780&filename=Grand%20Chamber%20judgment%20Y%C3%BCksel%20Yal%C3%A7inkaya%20v.%20T%C3%BCrkiye%20-%20systemic%20problem%20of%20convictions%20for%20terrorism%20offences%20based%20on%20use%20of%20ByLock%20messaging%20application.pdf

‘Conviction based on app use violated Turkish teacher’s rights, European court rules’ (Euronews, 26 September 2023) <https://www.euronews.com/2023/09/26/conviction-based-on-app-use-violated-turkish-teachers-rights-european-court-rules> accessed 17 September 2023

Educational challenges faced by refugee children in Turkey

Written by Caren Thomas

Refugees are those who have a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. Experiencing such fears in early childhood will critically impact a child’s cognitive, social, emotional and physical development.

As articulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, children have specific rights. These include principles of protection from harm, provision of basic needs, recognition and participation of children as rights holders. 

Through the Temporary Protection Regulation passed in 2014, Syrian refugees are provided specific protection to specific rights, including education, shelter, food, water, housing, social security mechanisms and the labour market.

Via the 2015 EU-Turkey joint action plan, both sides aim for enhanced educational opportunities across all levels and a commitment to assisting the host nation, Turkey, particularly in aspects like infrastructure and various services.

In 2018, the Global Compact on Refugees set a goal that governments should be in a position to include refugee children and youth in the national education systems within the time period of three months of displacement.

The earthquake in February 2023 inflicted additional distress upon refugees and other displaced children in Turkey, particularly impacting their access to education.

Education is a fundamental entitlement for every refugee and individual seeking asylum. Turkey is facing a significant influx of asylum seekers and is also a host to a substantial refugee population, a majority composed of Syrians. Unfortunately, these refugee children are unable to access education due to their circumstances. The existing educational framework for refugees in Turkey is burdened with numerous difficulties and obstacles.

Photo by Julie Ricard on Unsplash.

Documentation

Many enrol in Turkish schools after obtaining an international protection identification document bearing the foreigner identification number. The tuition fee waiver announced by the council of ministers only applies to students from Syria. Turkish classes are offered at Public Education Centres free of charge. For this, the international protection identification document is required. However, if insufficient persons are enrolled, said classes may not commence on the requested enrolment date.

Individuals hailing from Syria are eligible to enrol in Temporary Education Centres, whereas refugees and asylum seekers from different nations are exclusively permitted to register at Turkish public schools. Temporary Educational Centres are schools which provide educational services for persons arriving in Turkey for a temporary period. These were initially staffed by Syrian volunteers who UNICEF and other NGOs financially compensated. As per the Ministry of National Education, a considerable proportion of the refugee children were out of school in 2019. However, there has been a substantial decline in the number of children not attending since the initial years of the Syrian refugee crisis. As of  2017, the Turkish authorities have been implementing measures to integrate Syrian refugees into the country’s public education system.

Statelessness within the Syrian population residing in Turkey presents a notable issue. Challenges persist due to factors such as the lack of proper civil documentation, difficulties in acquiring birth certificates in Turkey, and the citizenship regulations of Syria. Notably, Syrian nationality can only be inherited by a child from their mother if the birth occurs within the borders of Syria.

Within Turkey, if the mother’s relationship with a Syrian or Turkish father is unestablished or unclear, then the child faces the risk of statelessness. An absence of Turkish citizenship or permanent residency leads to them being guests within the country and failing to be integrated into Turkish society.

While Turkey is a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, it has submitted a request for geographical limitation. Consequently, individuals such as Syrians and those arriving from various other nations are ineligible for complete refugee status in Turkey. Alternatively, they are registered under the “temporary protection” regulation.

This Temporary Protection Regulation allows refugees access to essential resources such as healthcare and education. Once the refugees are registered under the Temporary Protection Regulation, they are required to remain within that province.

Additional issues arise from the lack of recognition of temporary and international protection status in 16 provinces across Turkey. The reduction of 25% to 20% foreign population within a given neighbourhood continues to cause significant issues. Finding jobs becomes a difficulty since the individual is forced to look for jobs only in the area the individual is registered in, thereby limiting the job opportunities that may be available to them in other places, such as Istanbul.

A recurring trend observed worldwide is that during times of crisis, the education sector is frequently the first to be halted and the last to be reinstated. It is crucial to be have access to education regardless of whether you are an international protection applicant or status holder or if you plan to resettle in another country or go back to your country. It helps the children develop skills, stability as well as  integrate them socially and academically into the education system.

Language barriers

In a study conducted, it was seen that the main problem was that of language. The employed teachers did not speak Arabic, and the children, in this case, did not speak Turkish. There are no activities carried out within the classroom setting to facilitate their learning. There is no varied material brought in to help aid their understanding. Teachers need to be provided with vocational training to better facilitate the learning process for refugee children through teaching strategies and teaching aids.

The teachers have little to no awareness on these refugee children, not just from an educational point of view but also on a psychological level. A majority of these students have been subjected to post-traumatic stress disorder, primarily due to the conditions they are coming from.

The children’s communication barrier furthers the issue within education. When the refugee children are put with other students who can speak the Turkish language, they are often subject to mockery, lack confidence and isolation due to the language barrier.

Syrian children and youngsters attending informal education and integration courses at Relief International communıty centre.
Photo by: EU/ECHO/Abdurrahman Antakyali , Gaziantep.

Familial background and trauma

In a gender analysis carried out in 2019 to explore the Syrian refugee journey with a focus on the difficulties encountered by refugees in Turkey, it was observed that a notable portion of Syrian refugee children were not attending school. Among those who were in school, there were elevated levels of trauma. This significantly undermined the educational advancement of these children.

Children were initially not sent to schools since parents felt their stay in the country where they sought asylum would be temporary. However, once the families realised the permanency of their residency in Turkey, the enrolment rate in schools by refugee children steadily increased.

Research has consistently shown the positive effects of education on children who experience post-traumatic stress and develop coping and resilience skills. This can prove particularly helpful and effective for refugee children in the long run.

However, despite the positive impact education has, it comes with complications. An unstable or unsupportive home environment hinders a smooth educational process for these children and impacts the quality of education.

Refugee families typically find themselves having lost all they had. This, alongside  the financial strain, forces their children into early marriage, leading them to drop out of school. Worth mentioning, is that in 2020 there was a drop in boys attending school. It was seen that reasons such as sending children to work due to augmented economic hardship were one of the reasons to withdraw boys from schools.

Decline in services

Natural disasters, epidemics and wars spare no children. Turkey was gripped by conflict following Covid-19 and the earthquake in February 2023. Refugee children are often subject to poverty, poor living conditions, minimal access to safe drinking water, healthcare and food, as well as compelled to work owing to the unfavourable economic circumstances faced by the family, leading to the children being forced to neglect their education. The Conditional Cash Transfer for Education for Syrians and Other Refugees and the Promotion of Integration of Syrian Children into Turkish Education were seen as ways to address the economic barriers to enrolment and attendance.

These children have been victims of distressing experiences at a young age, such as the maiming and death of their near and dear ones. Due to the unstable environment, this results in a delay with their access to education. These children may end up receiving education in inadequate educational facilities, thus hindering their ability to fully grasp and unleash their full potential.

Racism and xenophobia

Instances of racist and xenophobic assaults have experienced a substantial rise as well. This has been further exacerbated by various politicians within the country. This continues to subject refugees from Syria and other places in constant danger throughout schools, homes and workplaces. Taking into consideration the duty Turkey has towards its refugees, especially as a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention, the politicians, members of the government, policymakers, and other influential persons should make a conscious effort not to instigate animosity towards refugees within the country.

Teachers and other resource persons need to make a conscious effort to bring awareness among the children of the host state that discrimination, racism, bullying, and other such acts are unacceptable behaviour. The citizens or parents of the students of the host state also need to be made aware to end discriminatory treatment towards these refugee children and teach their children to be respectful towards their fellow peers. Basic language skills among refugee children would allow for both parties to have a basic level of interaction. If not, refugees will persist in grappling with the notable issue of being excluded and marginalized.

The host nation must actively strive to comprehend the challenges that refugees encounter within an educational environment, encompassing issues like bullying, discrimination, language barriers, and similar concerns. These factors impact the necessity of forging connections and fostering a sense of belonging.

Hatay, Turkey, 9 February 2023. Members of the UK’s International Search & Rescue Team continue working in coordination with other search and rescue teams looking for survivors. Photo by UK ISAR Team

February 2023 earthquake

The earthquake that struck the nation in February 2023 has exacerbated the challenges faced by refugees. Basic resources, such as education, are now inaccessible for children. Several schools are being repurposed as shelters for those affected by the earthquake.

UNICEF has managed to help 140,000 children with access to formal or non-formal education and has provided more than 260,000 children with access to mental health and psychosocial support. UNICEF and AFAD have played an active role in helping the Ministry of National Education with temporary education measures such as tents for catch-up classes and exam preparation. However, even UNICEF recognises the need for longer-term support needed for rebuilding and recovering the lives of these children and their families.

It is a common pattern that education, particularly for vulnerable groups, tends to be disregarded and relegated to a lower priority. This situation could potentially push these vulnerable children into engaging in child labor as a means of supporting themselves or their families during these challenging circumstances. The increase in bias and impoverishment persists among these Syrian refugees, and when combined with the restricted educational access, they find themselves compelled to work merely to sustain their livelihoods.

Conclusions

The hosting country should make efforts to guarantee the integration of displaced children, regardless of their specific classification as refugees, internally displaced persons, asylum seekers, or unaccompanied minors, into the local education system in their respective residential areas.

Considering the massive influx of migration that Turkey receives due to global humanitarian crises, it would be wise if Turkey took an active initiative not only in policy-making but in its implementation regarding the education situation for said displaced children.

Partners within the country as well as internationally should step up to help the Turkish authorities by equipping them with the required support in the form of financial aid, technical assistance, expertise in terms of teachers who have the talent to speak the relevant languages, subject knowledge and to be able to cater to the different kinds of difficulties that come with teaching children that are coming from volatile environments.

It’s important to acknowledge that a teacher tasked with educating refugee children, along with those who are internally displaced, asylum seekers, or unaccompanied minors, is instructing a group that faces challenges beyond what is typically encountered in a standard classroom setting.

These children may have disabilities from birth or due to violence in their countries, have seen family members and friends killed or injured, or have even been victims of sexual violence. It’s highly probable that their education might have been disrupted well before their arrival in the host country. As a result, teachers in these contexts need to possess not only strong teaching skills but also a profound understanding of their classroom environment and a sensitivity to the unique situations they are confronted with. This is a difficult challenge.

The host country and other partners assisting the host country must also be mindful of this fact while hiring teachers and other resource persons. Education, especially for refugees, is exceptionally beneficial for social restructuring and socioeconomic development. 

As the viability of the Turkiye Compact is under ongoing evaluation, particularly given the difficulties involved, its execution would notably contribute to supporting Turkey and enhancing the nation’s economy. Additionally, it would assist refugees in achieving greater self-sufficiency and decreasing their reliance on humanitarian aid funding.

Introducing a universally recognized certification system for these children would enhance the ease of educational transitions, if they were to occur. This system would facilitate enrollment, attendance, retention, progression, and completion, fostering a more inclusive, equitable, and high-quality education for both refugee children and youth.

Ignored, bullied, rejected and discriminated against are common words used to describe the experience of refugee children in schools. It is high time this narration and plight are changed. Turkey must uphold its treaty obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Convention against Torture and continue to uphold the principle of nonrefoulement. Ensuring education provides a robust platform for children to be emboldened and enrich their future.  It is an immense responsibility that should be shouldered by the state and non-state actors at the local, national and international levels to maximise all efforts to ensure a safe space for these children.

References

Amidst controversy and politics, the Akbas-Tereci family seeks safety and a place to call home.

In the Netherlands, the Akbas-Tereci family, devout members of the Gülen Movement, stand at a precipice of uncertainty. With the impending arrival of their second child, this Turkish couple and their five-year-old daughter Vera face a worrying reality. This legal dilemma threatens their pursuit of safety and stability. Their journey from Turkey to the Netherlands lays bare the unforgiving complexities of seeking asylum, shedding light on profound questions of justice and compassion in a world of uncertainty.
~ by Inja van Soest

Sümeyra Akbas en Beytullah Tereci with their daughter Vera. FOTO: NIELS DE VRIES
Sümeyra Akbas en Beytullah Tereci with their daughter Vera. FOTO: NIELS DE VRIES

A recent petition has sparked interest in the faith of this young family. Sümeyra Akbas and Beytullah Tereci, a Turkish couple currently residing in the Netherlands with their five-year-old daughter, are expecting their second child. The couple is part of the Gülen Movement, which promotes a tolerant Islam emphasising altruism, modesty, hard work and education. Under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Turkish government accused the movement of being involved in an attempted coup in 2016, leading to much controversy about the movement and a political conflict. The Gülen Movement is classified as a terrorist organisation, making it dangerous for Sümeyra Akbas and Beytullah Tereci to return to Turkey.
The family have been in the Netherlands for more than a year now. They have been volunteering in their community whilst attending Dutch language courses thrice weekly. Their five-year-old daughter has started to speak Dutch and has made local friends. Beytullah states: “We want to feel at home here. We came here to start a new life and have a future.”

Typically, Turkish refugees are granted residence permits, with approval rates reaching as high as 97.5 % in 2022, according to VluchtelingenWerk statistics. However, the case of Akbas and Tereci stands out due to their unique circumstances. While the parents hold Turkish citizenship, their daughter is of Brazilian nationality. Akbas and Tereci had fled from Turkey to Iraq before the failed coup attempt in 2016. They married in Iraq and built their lives as elementary school and preschool teachers. They had five more years of validity on their Turkish passports and believed they could return to their home country within that timeframe. However, when they were expecting their first child, they had to make a decision. If their daughter had been born in Iraq, she would have been stateless without any papers as them being Gülenists; they couldn’t go to the Embassy out of fear of being arrested. She would neither be granted a Turkish nor an Iraqi passport, and they would have been unable to leave Iraq. They decided to go to a country where their child would receive papers by birth. And they ended up going to Brazil for the birth of their daughter.

After two months of being there, they returned as a family of three. They didn’t plan on settling there. Therefore, they didn’t need a Visa, as their stay was shorter than three months. Afterwards, they returned to Iraq, where their jobs and life awaited them. Five years later, the decision to get papers for their daughter puts them in a situation where the Netherlands does not want to grant them residency as their daughter is Brazilian. The ruling of their case states they have a connection with Brazil. However, they neither speak the language nor have family or friends there.

The court ruling surprised the couple and their lawyer because the family would not receive residency in Brazil either, which could ultimately lead to them being deported to Turkey. The family was supposed to have to leave their current asylum centre by the 14th of September but have been offered the option to go to a different asylum centre. However, they would not be allowed to leave the town and have to sign in every morning that they are present at the centre. Akbas expresses his feelings of having escaped an unjust Turkish prison sentence to now live like a prisoner at the asylum centre. A daily life without much prospect. “It is like being sick, and you don’t enjoy anything. I don’t enjoy food or drinking. It should be happy times for my family; we worry too much instead.”
The initial ruling has been appealed, but the judge ruled against the appeal again, a disappointing outcome. But the family, their lawyer and their friends are unwilling to give up. Whilst their case is being fought in court, their Dutch language teacher has started a petition to revise the decision made by the court.

Beytullah Tereci is thankful for the support the family has been getting and hopes for a positive outcome for his family and his children. “We want to be home, but we cannot go there. So we choose a new home, a future. How can it be that your home is not welcoming you, and you still have to go.”

If you want to support Sümeyra Akbas and Beytullah Tereci and their daughter Vera, you can sign the petition here:

2022 Enlargement Package: European Commission Assesses Reforms in the Western Balkans and Turkey, Recommends Candidate Status for Bosnia and Herzegovina

Written by Joseph Kamanga

The European Commission has adopted its 2022 Enlargement Package, which evaluates the progress made by the Western Balkans and Turkey on their path toward EU membership. The Commission recommends granting candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina, contingent upon their implementation of measures to strengthen democracy, uphold the rule of law, combat corruption, and safeguard media freedom.

State of the EU: MEPs debate about the EU’s most immediate challenges. Photo by European Parliament

The Commission highlights the significance of EU enlargement as a long-term investment in peace and stability. Montenegro needs to address rule of law concerns, while Serbia should establish a government committed to EU reforms. Albania and North Macedonia must intensify their efforts in upholding the rule of law, combating corruption, and fighting organized crime.

Kosovo should enhance democracy and combat corruption, while Serbia and Kosovo are expected to engage in constructive dialogue to normalize their relations. Turkey needs to address concerns regarding democracy, the rule of law, and fundamental rights, while respecting the sovereignty of EU member states.

The Council will now assess the Commission’s recommendations and decide on the subsequent actions to be taken.

Η ζωή της Halime Gulsu: η θεϊκή δασκάλα που δολοφονήθηκε στη φυλακή

Το αποτυχημένο σωφρονιστικό σύστημα της Τουρκίας οδήγησε στον τραγικό θάνατο μια μοναδική ψυχή. Μια κριτική του βιβλίου “η ζωή της Halime Gulsu: η θεϊκή δασκάλα που σκοτώθηκε στην φυλακή” (2022)

Από την Vivien Kretz

Πώς μπορεί οι φυλακισμένοι που δεν έχουν καταδικασθεί σε θάνατο να δολοφονούνται;

Πώς οι πολίτες πληρώνουν με την ζωή τους; Ερωτήματα σαν αυτό προκύπτουν, όταν σκέφτεσαι την μοίρα της Halime Gulsu.

Το βιβλίο της Zeynep Kayadelen από τις εκδόσεις της αμερικανικής οργάνωσης ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων ”οι Υπέρμαχοι της Σιωπηλής Τουρκίας” (AST) με τίτλο: ”Halime Gulsu: η θεϊκή δασκάλα που δολοφονήθηκε στη φυλακή” βασίζεται στις μαρτυρίες των συγκρατούμενων της Gulsu για τις τελευταίες στιγμές της όπως και σ’ αυτές των φίλων της και της οικογένειάς της.

Πέθανε ως κρατούμενη σε μια πτέρυγα της φυλακής στην επαρχία Μερσίνη της Τουρκίας, επειδή δεν είχε πρόσβαση σε ιατρική βοήθεια.

Η ιστορία της Halime Gulsu παρουσιάστηκε από την τουρκική ΜΚΟ ”οι Υπέρμαχοι της Σιωπηλής Τουρκίας” (AST). Η συγγραφέας Zeynep Kayadelen ξεκινάει το έργο της με την εξής εισαγωγή: ”Έχουμε πεθάνει πολλές φορές”. (Kayadelen 2022,9). Η απελπισία διαπερνάει τις λέξεις της. Αφιέρωσε το έργο της σ’ όσους είχαν οδυνηρό θάνατο για κάτι που πίστευαν.

Στη συγκινητική νουβέλα της, η Kayadelen ασχολείται με την άσχημη μοίρα της Halime Gulsu, μιας αφοσιωμένης δασκάλας που δίδαξε στην Τουρκία και συμμετείχε στο κίνημα Hizmet. Το κίνημα αυτό επηρεαζόταν από τις ιδέες και τους σκοπούς του ακαδημαϊκού Φετουλάχ Γκιουλέν. Το κίνημα Hizmet επεδίωκε μια πιο ελεύθερη, πιο ισότιμη και πιο βιώσιμη Τουρκία.

Η Gulsu ήταν μια εξαιρετικά αφοσιωμένη δασκάλα. Δίδασκε στους μαθητές της και στήριξε πολλούς εξ αυτών, όταν συνελήφθησαν από το τουρκικό καθεστώς.

Το τουρκικό καθεστώς ήταν κατά του κινήματος Hizmet και όσων συνδέονταν μ’ αυτό. Η Gulsu και οι περισσότεροι φίλοι της ήταν σε δύσκολη κατάσταση. Ένιωθε πως παρακολουθούσαν κάθε βήμα της. Ήξερε πως ήταν στόχος του καθεστώτος και δεν είχε καλές διαθέσεις απέναντι της. Όπως περιγράφει η Kayadelen: ”Αν η καταπίεση ήταν φωτιά, η κακία τους ήταν ο άνεμος που την φούντωνε”. Παρ’ όλα αυτά, η Gulsu αρνήθηκε να υποκύψει και απέρριψε την ευκαιρία να εγκαταλείψει την χώρα της.  Πολλοί από την οικογένεια της ζούσαν στον Καναδά, οπότε συχνά θα μπορούσε να ταξιδεύει για να τους δει. Ωστόσο, ήταν μια περήφανη υπήκοος της Τουρκίας και επέλεξε να μείνει και να υπερασπιστεί τον εαυτό της εναντίον του καθεστώτος. Σημειώνεται πολλές φορές στο βιβλίο ότι έβλεπε τον εαυτό της ως πολίτη της Τουρκίας και αποφάσισε να παλέψει για ένα καλύτερο μέλλον για την χώρα της. Όμως, το καθεστώς διαφωνούσε μ’ αυτό.

Στις 20 Φεβρουαρίου 2018 η Gulsu συνελήφθη, επειδή συμμετείχε στο κίνημα Hizmet. Η σύλληψή της την αιφνιδίασε. H Gulsu ήξερε ότι την παρακολουθούσαν, αλλά δεν περίμενε ότι θα την συλλάμβαναν και θα κατέληγε στη φυλακή.

Αφού οι αντιτρομοκρατικές δυνάμεις της Μερσίνης εισέβαλαν στο διαμέρισμά της και έλεγξαν τα πάντα, της πέρασαν χειροπέδες και την οδήγησαν στην φυλακή στην πόλη Ταρσό.

Η Gulsu δεν ήταν υγιής. Υπέφερε από χρόνιο ερυθηματώδη λύκο, ένα αυτοάνοσο νόσημα, που απαιτούσε καθημερινή και εβδομαδιαία θεραπεία.

Όταν οι τουρκικές δυνάμεις την συνέλαβαν, πήρε γρήγορα μαζί της τα φάρμακα της ημέρας και τις συνταγές του ιατρού. Δυστυχώς, ξέχασε την εβδομαδιαία θεραπεία.

Μόλις η Gulsu έφθασε στη φυλακή, ζήτησε τα ιατρικά έγγραφά της που επιβεβαίωναν πως ήταν άρρωστη και χρειαζόταν εβδομαδιαία θεραπεία, αλλά τα έγγραφα δεν βρέθηκαν πουθενά.

Η Gulsu βρέθηκε σε δύσκολη κατάσταση που μάλιστα απειλούσε την ζωή της.

Μπήκε σ’ ένα γεμάτο κελί μαζί με πολλές άλλες γυναίκες. Το κελί προοριζόταν για 10 άτομα με 10 κρεβάτια και όταν έφθασε η ίδια, ήταν ήδη διπλάσιος ο αριθμός.

Κάποιες από τις κρατούμενες είχαν μωρά, αλλά δεν ήταν μαζί τους. Οι κρατούμενες αναγκάστηκαν να στείλουν τα παιδιά τους στο σπίτι, επειδή δεν μπορούσαν να τα φροντίζουν στη φυλακή.

Η Gulsu έζησε την εμπειρία από πρώτο χέρι: την ρουτίνα, την αβεβαιότητα, τις ιστορίες των άλλων κρατούμενων, αλλά όχι για πολύ. Τρεις μήνες μετά την σύλληψή της, η Gulsu πέθανε λόγω ιατρικής αμέλειας.

H Gulsu δεν είχε πρόσβαση στην εβδομαδιαία θεραπεία ή δεν της δόθηκαν φάρμακα για τον χρόνιο ερυθηματώδη λύκο. Η κατάστασή της χειροτέρευε, έβγαλε εξογκώματα και η αγωνία της ήταν τρομερή.

Η Gulsu αδυνάτιζε μέρα με την ημέρα. Όταν ο αδερφός της μπόρεσε να της φέρει τα φάρμακα, ήταν ήδη πάρα πολύ αργά. Η Gulsu δεν άντεχε τον πόνο και η ασθένειά της είχε εξελιχθεί. Σύμφωνα με τις συγκρατούμενες και την οικογένειά της, η Gulsu καταλάβαινε πως έρχεται το τέλος της.

Αφού υπέφερε για βδομάδες, επετράπη στην Gulsu η πρόσβαση σε νοσοκομείο, αλλά ήταν αργά. Όταν επέστρεψε στη φυλακή, οι συγκρατούμενες της, οι οποίες ήταν πλέον φίλες που την νοιάζονταν, έπρεπε να την μεταφέρουν, καθώς ήταν υπερβολικά αδύνατη και δεν μπορούσε να περπατήσει, την φρόντιζαν, την τάιζαν και προσεύχονταν γι’ αυτήν.

Δυστυχώς, τον Απρίλιο του 2018, στις 3:10, πέθανε μόνη της στον διάδρομο της φυλακής. ”Σαν ένα άδειο κουκούλι, το στεγνό σώμα έμεινε πίσω, για να αναπαυθεί εκεί” όπως έγραψε η Kayadelen στο βιβλίο της.

Η συγγραφέας Kayadelen αφηγείται την ιστορία σε πρώτο πρόσωπο, που είναι πιο εύκολο για τον αναγνώστη να καταλάβει τι πέρασε η δασκάλα κατά το δύσκολο διάστημα του εγκλεισμού της.

Το βιβλίο της Kayadelen είναι μια όμορφη εμπειρία με μια προσωπική άποψη για το τι βίωσε η Gulsu τις τελευταίες ημέρες της ζωής της. Μέσα από πολλές συνεντεύξεις με ανθρώπους που εργάζονταν στη φυλακή και με αυτούς που συνδέονταν με την Gulsu, η οργάνωση συγκέντρωσε ιστορίες για τον χρόνο της στη φυλακή και δημιούργησε την βάση για μια ιστορία που ειπώθηκε από τα βάθη της καρδιάς.

Το έργο της Kayadelen είναι μια δυνατή φωνή κατά της παραβίασης των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων στις φυλακές της Τουρκίας. Οι Υπέρμαχοι της Σιωπηλής Τουρκίας έκαναν μια εξαιρετική δουλειά αποδίδοντας την ελάχιστη δικαιοσύνη στην Halime Gulsu, την ”θεϊκή δασκάλα”.

Το βιβλίο διατίθεται εδώ: The Life of Halime Gulsu: The Heavenly Teacher Murdered in Prison: Kayadelen, Zeynep, Girdap, Hafza, Korku, Ummu, Nazif, Muhsin, Y., E., W., Barbara, Hur, Hande, Silenced Turkey, Advocates of, Publishing, AST: 9798365685956: Amazon.com: Books

Μετάφραση από την Αλεξία Καψαμπέλη /Translated by Alexia Kapsabeli from the original The life of Halime Gulsu: The Heavenly Teacher Murdered in Prison.