A mother of baby twins who has drawn public attention after being convicted to two years and a month in prison with her daughters on charges of “aiding a terror organization,” pleaded for the postponement of her sentence, which is due to begin May 19.
Mülkiye Demir Kılıç said she was not objecting to the jail sentence, but was instead claiming that her 6-month-old twins, Özgür and Lorin, were too young for an environment such as a prison facility.
“If the sentence is postponed for a year, they will be one-and-a-half years old, so they will be able to walk. They will not spend their infancy period, when they only can crawl at prison. I can take care of them more easily if they can walk,” Kılıç said May 9.
According to a very controversial law, convicted mothers can ask to be imprisoned with children up to the age of 6. Calls had mounted to introduce an option in the law that would allow mothers to be released on probation, after Kılıç’s case made headlines.
The young woman, who was working as a sales representative at the Mesopotamian Culture Center, was charged with sending books to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) after one of her clients was arrested by the police for smuggling.
Kılıç said she was determined to enter jail with her babies after consulting her doctors and experts on pedagogy.
“They are too small. Apparently babies experience the fear of losing their mother after four months. In this situation, I am forced to take them with me,” she said, adding that she would not be able to feed her babies with milk due to the stress.
Meanwhile, Kılıç’s lawyer, Hanım Sereçenlik, said they were hopeful that their demand to postpone the sentence for one year would be reviewed.
“There are legal arrangements that may allow for the delay in sentences for woman who have given birth. We have made an application and hope to benefit from it,” she said.
For his part, Kılıç’s husband, Ahmet, said they would participate in an event organized by the Human Rights Association (İHD) at Istanbul’s Galatasaray square on May 11, which is also Mother’s Day in Turkey.
“Let’s not abandon Mülkiye on her first Mother’s Day,” he said.
Experts have also criticized the conditions of jails, claiming they were poorly equipped to accommodate children while also lacking specialized psychologists to support them. They point out that many children want to be with their mother if they are separated and are urging that a special legislation to be introduced.