Three brave women made an interview with  from a German News Paper.  The interview was in German. Justice House Platform for Turkey translated it in English by helping Google Translate.


From Judges to Terrorists

Ayse, Hatice and Dilek share the same fate. Their husbands, all judges, have been in prison since the coup attempt a year ago in Turkey. When the muezzins of all the 90,000 mosques of Turkey launched so-called Sala, the announcement of death news, on Saturday for the victims of the failed military coup a year ago, then three women in Istanbul were hardly be able to endure the consequence of unlawful persecution against them. Ayse, Hatice and Dilek are saddened for those died 15 July, 2016. This terrible event  not only shook the country deeply but destroyed their lives and their families. “Our husbands are not dead,” says Ayse, “but it is as if they were buried alive since the coup attempt. My children cry every time they think about their father, who is completely innocent, and now in prison. ”
Eight months ago, a woman contacted the FR for help. Turkish media writes about arrested journalists, but almost never written about imprisoned judges and prosecutors. This is the reason why the woman have long hesitated to make their story public. They are afraid of having published their real names. ” We are one of thousands of people, who arbitrarly persecuted in Turkey,” says Ayse, dark hair, wearing a simple-elegant dress. “We will raise our voice as much as we can do, till justice comes our land? ”
Ayse, Hatice and Dilek fought together, three mothers from Istanbul between thirty and forty, who meet every week on the day of their visit to the high security prison of Silivri, west of the metropolis, where their husbands are imprisoned. Their husbands were respected public servants a year ago, the state now accuses them of participating in the coup attempt, which the President of the Republic, Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing Fethullah Gülen’s organization masterminding.

Ayse says “Like a nightmare from which one no longer awakens.”On the morning of July 16, while loyal troops were still fighting insurgents, the Supreme High Council of Judges (HSYK) already sent a list of 2745 judges and prosecutors, who were suspended, later arrested because they were suspected of being part of the coup. Several versions of the list were published in the press on the same day, and the police began with arrests. Till now, 4424 judges and prosecutors have been suspended, 2584 have been imprisoned, 680 are isolated. About a quarter of the judiciary was purged. My husband name is on in the list.

Hatice says “My husband was wearing a white blouse over the jeans.” This is why we left the children with our parents and voluntarily went to police.” Hatice and his husband detained in a completely overcrowded prison in Central Anatolia, stayed a five square meter cell for five days. For more than 60 persons, there was only one toilet and a sink. “At first it seemed to us a joke. Was it my Turkey? Impossible! “Hatice laughs nervously.

The next day, they were presented to a bloody young prosecutor, who interrogated and then arrested them as on the line. “The judge read all the questions written in the paper. There was not a single question about the coup, it was all about Gulen. Whether I had met my husband by helping Gülenists? Whether we had an account with a particular bank? Whether we went to Gulen’s school, or read Gülen’s books? “Hatice answers “Of course we did not. My husband is a leftist, and I am close to nationalist side. We would never have connection with Gülenists. “She tells the prosecutor’s trembling during the entire half-hour interrogation. “He was very concern about not making a mistake.” When she asked him what was the evidence accused of her. The public prosecutor finally admitted that “Your file is empty. There is only one paper from the HSYK that you are suppose to be arrested.”The husbands of Hatice and Dilek, two other prosecutors have been in a jail for a year. Both women, judges, were imprisoned for a short time.

Ayse’s husband, who has been a criminal judge for 15 years, has been arrested in the western part of Turkey with a dozen of judges in the court building. She says.”They were taken to a police district, where they were told they were helmets to the putschists.” Three days later, her husband was transferred to a prison, where he was imprisoned in a room with 25 other prisoners.” A respected judge is the next day a terrorist! How can we cope with that?”Ayse takes the arrest warrant from the file. “Prosecution:” Military putsch against state and government and membership in an armed terror organization, “stands there. “Evidence: Letter from the Attorney General’s Office in Ankara, July 16”.
She laughs bitterly. “But the content of the file is secret!” Her husband could only find that he was accused of being member of Feto.

Ayse’s friend Hatice argues that “basic problem of today’s Turkish justice”, “the massive influence of politics on the courts. Whoever does not obey it, found himself in a prison. The others makes a career.” In her prison, people soon began to wonder about how to get rid of this accusation without a trial. You have to smear the judges for a lot of money, or if you have friends in politics, you can have an exemption to prosecute.” Hatice speaks bitterly of an abyss of bribery, denunciation and disgrace. “It is the destruction of the democracy, justice and ruleof law, which it was teached at the university. It’s always about: Are you fovor or against the government? If you are against, you will be stigmatized as a FETO. ”

Hatice spent a month in custody. “We were not allowed to speak a lawyer, did not have a telephone conversation, we did not have any contact at all. This was all illegal. “Then she was released because she had to look after her children. Neither her nor her husband have yet received an indictment. Because there is no evidence yet, the prosecutors need some time. Judges arrested for denunciations.

Arbitrary justice in Turkey

In fact, the HSYK Head of Second Chamber, charged with disciplinary investigations, Mehmet Yilmaz promised to dismissed judges that if they provide any useable statements for prosecution, they will be granted immunity, and return to bench. However, when the  pro government media  were indignant, he rowed back. “I said it because to incite judges to confess. Therefore, we get concrete evidence,” He said in an interview.”Of course, they can not go back to their profession.” For the three women, it is a proof that the prosecutors do not have any evidence against them.

The judiciary has become completely arbitrary, “says Hatice. Unlike her, Dilek, who is also an experienced judge, has just received her indictment with 15 years imprisonment. On her computer, she opens the file, which contains almost 100 pages. ” She is accused of having used the Internet messenger service called Bylock, which is allegedly used among FETO. “I heard of Bylock for the first time a month after the coup attempt. We had to hand all our mobiles off. Of course they could have installed the program.” The remaining 90 percent of the prosecution is about a transport of the Turkish Secret Service MIT to Syrian rebels and corruption investigations against the government allegedly launched by FETO. “What can I say something about it? Nothing! ” says Dilek. “We’ve found that many of our colleagues have exactly faced the same accusations, the only difference is the names have been exchanged.”

Dilek stayed only a few days in prison. But her husband has been still in a cell- solitary confinement- for months. “His detention conditions are terrible. He is allowed once a day to a small courtyard with ten-meter-high walls, covered with a steel plate, so that he never sees the sky.” He was arbitrarly detainded, no evidence at all” says Dilek. Dilek, Hatice and Ayse believe that the real reason behind the arrest warrants is their commitment to the justice, and being member of a liberal judges association called Yarsav.

“It is also another fact that we and our husbands did not vote for the Erdogan list YBP in the election to the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) in 2014,” says Dilek. “Erdogan wanted to purged the justice totally from his opponents.”

Erdogan rejects allegations

Three months before the coup attempt, a list of Yarsav members had been circulated in the Judges Assosiation called YBP (Pro-Goverment Assosiation) -close to Erdogan. The particular irony lies in the fact that the internationally recognized Pro-European Yarsav Association was founded by judges and prosecutors eleven years ago with the aim of defending the independence of the judiciary against the Gülenists.  In Dilek’s indictment, it is said that FETO would have tried to subvert the Yarsav. Therefore, it was closed by an emergency decree.

The government strictly rejects the allegations made by human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag declared that the measures were aimed at only against terror suspects.

Deniz Özbilgin, President of Ankara’s Chamber of Advocates, confirms: “We believe that the arrests are mainly about equating the judiciary and public prosecutors.” Özbilgin also confirms that the judges had enormous difficulties, to find a lawyer.”No one wants to represent them in order not to be accused being a sympathizer of terrorist. Ayse told that her husband, who wanted to defend himself, still does not get his file. ” This is all unlawful. The state of emergency imposed on July 20, 2016, brought so many restriction of the rights of the prisoners. While suspected criminals are allowed to receive a 45-minute visit three times a week, their men are only allowed to have a weekly visit and a telephone call every two weeks. The three women say that their husbands were detained severely harsh in custody. Ayse’s husband was depressed. His accounts and assets are confiscated.

Ayse says “Thanks to my family, we can survive,” Ayse continues, in the months after the coup attempt, kids have often weeping come out of school because her father as an “Enemy of Turkey”, therefore they have been abused. For weeks, there was no other issue in the classroom as the coup d ‘ état.” They did not want to go to school at all. And now for the anniversary, all this, it starts again. ”

Dilek have connected with other 450 judges in a Facebook, she says I know that it goes tremendously worse. Their passports were revoked. They can not work, have nothing, but they can not go anywhere.

Ayse, Hatice, Dilek were happy about the recent justice march lead by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, who finally followed millions of people. “There is no legal certainty in our country,” says Dilek. “But the justice come back again. In the end, the truth will be revealed. ”

Click to read the interview in German.

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