Oya Ersoy, MP for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and a lawyer by profession, said that many prison privileges achieved through a persistent struggle by prisoners and the people during the 1990s in Turkey have been withdrawn after the beginning of the pandemic, and that many prisoners are being subjected to isolation on a pretext of taking preventative health measures.
She said that Aysel Tuğluk, the jailed prominent Kurdish politician who is being denied release despite her severe dementia, is one of the prisoners worst affected.
She told JinNews about her recent visit to Kandıra Prison where Tuğluk is incarcerated.
Ersoy said that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration ‘tries to silence everyone they can’t deal with politically by using various excuses to imprison them’. She added that Tuğluk is one of these people, and stressed that she is in prison for her opinions.
Talking about her visit, she said, “We were in Kandıra prison last week. Parliamentary group co-chair Meral Danış Beştaş was with us. We saw for ourselves a deterioration in Aysel, in her physical condition as well (…) The Forensic Medicine Institute rejected an application [for release] on instructions from the [Presidential] Palace, and considering that under prison conditions Aysel’s illness is getting worse, they’re effectively imposing a death sentence on her.”
Ersoy said that Tuğluk has stopped having recollections of recent past, is no longer able to remember people’s names, and that she complained about no longer being able to read books and newspapers.
“She’s very happy about one thing, though. Her eyes sparkle when she talks about it: People’s visits to her, her colleagues coming from various parts of Turkey to see her. Even though she can’t remember who they are, can’t remember their names, she talks with joy about them coming to visit her from all across the country. And also the letters she receives… her eyes sparkle when she talks about the letters she gets, particularly from women.”
Ersoy noted that Tuğluk’s remarkable response to visits and letters was actually an indication that such human contact could alleviate the negative effects of the restriction in human contact that had such a devastating impact on her health. She called on all people to write to Tuğluk at every possible opportunity.