10-month-old baby accompanies mother jailed over Gülen links

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Nazlı Mert, a Turkish woman with a 10-month-old baby, has been put behind bars over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Mert was initially detained by police on June 3, 2017, days after she gave birth to a baby by C-section at Lokman Hekim Hospital in Ankara’s Etlik neighborhood. She was released pending trial, while her husband was jailed over alleged ties to the movement.

On April 23, 2018, a Kırşehir court this time ruled for Mert’s arrest on coup charges, putting her in pretrial detention in Kırşehir province, accompanied by her 10-month-old baby.

Mert’s initial detention right after giving birth was not the first such detention in Turkey of a woman immediately after delivery.

In June 2017, Turkish police detained Elif Aslaner, a religious education teacher who gave birth to a baby at a private hospital in Bursa.

In May, Aysun Aydemir, an English teacher who gave birth to a baby in a caesarean procedure, was detained at the hospital and subsequently arrested by a court and put in pretrial detention with a 3-day-old baby in Zonguldak province as part of an investigation into the Gülen group.

In late January, Fadime Günay, who gave birth to a baby, was detained by police in Antalya’s Alanya Başkent Hospital.

In early January, Ş.A., a former private school teacher and mother of a week-old premature infant, was taken into police custody over links to the group while she was on her way to the hospital to feed the baby.

A day after Ş.A. was taken into police custody, another mother known as Meryem gave birth to twins by C-section in a hospital in Konya and was detained by police despite hospital reports that she should not travel and was taken to Aksaray from Konya in a police car.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, although the group denies any involvement.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

(Turkey Purge with Turkish Minute)

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