The problem of child prisoners in Turkey is a pressing issue in contemporary politics. In addition to children being put behind bars with their mothers, there are thousands of child prisoners and convicts. According to data from the General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses (CTE), as of 5 January 2021 there are 1,170 imprisoned children between the ages of 12 and 18, and 426 convicted children in Turkish prisons. Four more were added to this number before the Ramadan feast.
The mothers of the children who spent the Bairam without them called out to the authorities, saying, “They are still children, put an end to this persecution. Their place is not in prison, they should be with their mothers,” reports the Mesopotamia News Agency.
B. Öklü, who is only 17, is one of the arrested children. His mother, Saadet Öklü, expressed her anger towards to courts and judges. “They even took 12-year-old children they saw on the street. When the children saw the police, they fled, thinking that they would be punished for the curfew. They detained and tortured them, so they gave our children’s names to the police,” she said.
D. Süer’s mother Güler Süer states that her son was arrested while he was having ice cream in the street with his friends. “He asked me for money to buy some clothes for himself for the Bairam. He could not even wear his new clothes. Would God forgive them?”
One house was raided by the police. Zeynep Oklu describes the moment as follows: “They raided our home at 5am. My daughter was sick and my husband was sleeping. They suddenly entered the house with guns, put the little girl on the ground and put a gun to her head. When my husband appeared they asked about my son. ‘Where is İlhami Öklü?’ Then they found him and put guns against my child’s head.”