By Marie Jégo
/Publié le 28 janvier 2020 à 00h58 – Mis à jour le 31 janvier 2020 à 15h31
Melek Çetinkaya’s son was cadet at the time of the July 2016 attempted coup. “He only obeyed orders,” says his mother, who, despite obstacles and threats, fights for the young man’s release, man sentenced to life.
Letter from Istanbul
For a long time Melek Çetinkaya led a life without stories. Married to an accountant, this 43-year-old mother went about maintaining her apartment in a suburb of Ankara and educating her ospring, two boys and a girl, who she was sure were promised a bright future. His eldest, Furkan, was all his pride. As a cadet at the Air Force Academy in Istanbul, his career as a fighter pilot seemed to be drawn. Until the coup attempt of July 15, 2016, where he was arrested and imprisoned in the Silivri high security prison on the outskirts of Istanbul.
On May 19, 2017, Furkan and his comrades, then aged 20, were tried and sentenced to life imprisonment. The judge is all the more determined that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his prime minister at the time, Binali Yidirim, have brought civil action. Melek, who attends the hearing with other mothers, feels the ground slip under his feet. ” How is it possible ? These kids are not putschists, they have only obeyed the orders of their commander, who has never been worried, “she explains, calm and dignied, in a cafe in the Balat district of Istanbul. .
“March for Justice”
Dressed in the traditional “pardesu” , this loose- tting coat worn by women from conservative backgrounds, her head covered with a colorful scarf, the mother recounts how her life changed completely aer the conviction of her son. “Since nobody wanted to hear me, I had no other solution than to take to the streets. “
She then decided to organize a “March of Justice” to draw attention to the fate of the cadets unjustly condemned. Several dozen other mothers are ready to walk with her from Güven Park in Ankara to Silivri Prison in Istanbul. The route, over 500 kilometers, is announced on Melek’s Twitter account, which has 20,000 supporters.
At 2 p.m. on January 19, when the walk was scheduled to start, the mother just got out of the metro when she was seized by the police and taken to the police station. Dozens of women who intended to walk with her are arrested.
Released at two in the morning, arrested again, Melek will spend three days in police custody. Since then, his life has been hell. Charged for “belonging to a terrorist organization” , she must go to the police station every wednesday and every Saturday. A police car is hiding outside her home, her phone is being tapped, her husband has received threats. The police warned her, if she tries to walk again she will go to jail.