ANKARA’S CRACKDOWN continues on those viewed as being members of the Gulen movement with a sociology teacher as the latest suspect to be taken into custody.
Veysi Demir (41) was arrested while at the same time suffering from stomach bleeding, was then taken to the Mardin State Hospital where his condition worsened. On Wednesday, Demir was transferred to the Harran School of Medicine.
Veysi and his wife, Filiz, were on August 9, 2016, visited by the police and that’s when their lives took a turn for the worse. Filiz, a literature teacher at Samsun Imam Hatip High School, was pregnant with her third child at the time of the police visit, fifteen days before the child’s birth.
Veysi had been unemployed long before the July 15, 2015, coup attempt. He was working as a salesman at a curtain shop.
Samsun Police Department Anti-Terror Branch (TEM) police officers detained Filiz, despite being nine months pregnant. The policewomen took Filiz to two hospitals, but no doctor dared write a report suggesting a pregnant woman cannot be detained, even though the law is against this.
She had to spend the night in custody. She was hospitalised as she was in pain throughout the night and was released by forensic control. Omer, now 2.5 years old, was born a week later on 17 August 2016.
The police came to the family’s home for the second time on October 17, 2016. This time there was a complaint about Veysi. But Veysi was not home.
Filiz spoke of her experiences while searching for her husband: “For the whole year, police came to our house in the morning and evening. What did we do to deserve this? Each time they would suddenly break in. The children became very afraid.
“One day, they came across to my son Necati (9) in the elevator. They interrogated him asking, “are you seeing your father?” Can a child that age be treated like this? As per the last prosecutor’s instructions, they put a newspaper on our door.”
According to the information given by Filiz, Aksaray Prosecutor Ayhan Demir, now working in Hatay, had a notice published in a local newspaper when someone sent in a complaint about the family.
The content of the notice was appalling: “There was a photograph of someone who was martyred on 15 July [on the night of the coup] in the newspaper’s headline. The martyr’s family was visited and interviewed. Under the interview, there was my husband’s photo along with another person. There were their dates of birth, the names of their parents, and a notice that read, ‘this person is a member of FETÖ / PYD, resided at this address and all his property has been confiscated.”
A police officer called Şeref from the Samsun Kalkanca police station brought the newspaper, with the notice on our door. “This was sent to us by the Aksaray prosecutor’s office. It is to hang on your door for a whole month, if you take it off, there will be legal repercussions,” he said.
The newspaper stayed hanging on our door for three months, then they came and took it off.”
Filiz was acquitted in March last year by the Samsun 3rd High Criminal Court.
One month ago, his wife was also acquitted at the Regional Court of Appeal. However, because the prosecutor at the court of appeal objected to the decision, the file was sent back to the Supreme Court. The charges against her are quite common in such cases – such as having an account at Bank Asya [a bank that was affiliated with the Gulen Movement], being a member of the Aktif Egitim Sendikasi [Active Education Union] and one of the informants saying “they used to prepare Noah’s Pudding.”
Filiz returned to her parents’ home in September 2018 due to financial difficulties, with her three children, Necati (9), Betul (4) and Ömer (2,5).
Her husband Veysi once visited them two before, as he was very ill.
Then the police came to their door. They came both for Filiz and Demir.
“Take this woman inside, and search her body down to her underwear,” the police officer ordered regarding Filiz.
“When my husband visited he could not stand, he was very ill. It was like there was no blood left in his body. He couldn’t eat or drink anything. We spoke about going to the doctors in Ankara. Yesterday, the doorbell rang. I opened the door and immediately they forcefully pushed me and ten people rushed inside. ‘Where is he?’ they shouted. My husband said, ‘don’t touch me, I’m sick’. The police chief cried out, saying, ‘you are dying, yet you’re still hiding.’
“They insulted us and swore profusely. They didn’t want us to call our lawyer. They wouldn’t let my husband put on his clothes. They threatened him. They turned everything inside our house upside down. My youngest son has been crying since yesterday. They were going to put handcuffs on him, but they didn’t when he resisted,” Filiz told of the horrible visit by the police.
After Filiz’s husband was taken into custody, his condition worsened. “They called us and said he has stomach bleeding. They took him to intensive care. I spoke with the doctor, he said his condition was serious, and his life was still in danger. My husband has a hospital phobia. I went to the Mardin State Hospital, but they didn’t let me see him. They said it was an endoscopy. He was referred to Harran today.”
Veysi developed stomach bleeding three to four hours after being taken into custody due to intense stress, threats and pressure.
His condition is still serious. If bleeding does not stop, he will be operated on. In 2009, he was diagnosed with spleen growth during his military service, and in 2010 he was discharged with a certificate of disability.