AKP official threatens to arrest mother demanding justice for jailed son

A senior official from the ruling AK Party (AKP)’s Ankara headquarters has threatened to have the mother of an imprisoned soldier arrested if she keeps protesting in front of the party’s building to demand her son’s release, the pro-Kurdish Mezopotamya Agency (MA) reported on Thursday.

Hamide Gocer who has also been a member of the governing AKP for 15 years, on Thursday went to the party’s provincial building in the Turkish capital in order to talk to an official for the promised release of her arrested son.

Gocer’s son, a former lieutenant named Fethi Gocer was arrested in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt that targeted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing AKP on July 15, 2016.

A local court in Turkey sentenced the ex-lieutenant, along with 24 other soldiers, to life in prison on July 11 on charges related to the failed putsch bid.

After stating that she was there to seek justice for her son and not to stage a protest, Gocer was able to speak to Serkan Olug, the principal private secretary of AKP’s Ankara Provincial Chairman Hakan Han Ozcan.

The mother told to the press following their talk that Olug threatened to arrest her and others protesting in front of the AKP building if they keep showing up to protest after she vowed that she would not wait without doing anything to free her son.

Gocer added that she had a chance to talk to President Erdogan about her son’s situation twice and that he gave orders for the former soldier to be released pending trial.

The mother on Thursday participated in a protest in support of Cemal Yildirim, a Turkish man who was dismissed from his public sector job by a state-of-emergency decree issued by Erdogan’s AKP during the two-year emergency rule that came after the 2016 failed coup attempt.

Yildirim, who has tried to stage a sit-in act in front of the building every day since Monday, has been briefly detained by Turkish police several times, mostly within a few minutes after he commenced his protest.

His protest on Thursday included a black placard with no slogans in order to criticize the ruling AKP government for its attempts to silence him by preventing him from staging his peaceful sit-ins.

Police officers on Thursday briefly detained Yildirim again, along with three other protesters including another purge victim and former health worker Mahmut Konuk for their attempts to perform sit-in protests before the AKP’s Ankara headquarters.

Sanem Deniz Kural, leader of a communist party who was also sacked from her job by a decree, and Meral Kuruc, whose son was a military school student who was given a life sentence after the attempted coup, were the other two protesters detained by police on Thursday.

One other protester in front of the building on Thursday was Sumeyye Yilmaz, whose husband was abducted in Ankara in February, and has been missing since then.

It is alleged by many that the man was a victim of enforced disappearance.

“If the mothers in front of the [pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party] HDP building can stage a protest, why can’t I do it here? Saying ‘I’m searching for my husband?’ … The interior minister visited mothers in Diyarbakir, but he does not accept talking to us here. You cannot discriminate mothers’ tears,” Yilmaz emphasized on Thursday.

She referred to the recent protests of Kurdish mothers in front of the HDP’s provincial building in Diyarbakir who accuse the party of abducting their children to turn them into fighters for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu and a number of Turkish celebrities attended the protest of mothers in front of the HDP building last week.

Speaking during an event on Thursday, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu also called on the ruling AKP not to discriminate mothers in Diyarbakir from the Saturday mothers.

The Saturday Mothers, whose children and relatives went missing in police custody in the 1980s and 1990s, have been staging anti-government protests since 1995.

“Those in power [the ruling AKP] should find the children of these mothers. We cannot separate one mother from another,” CHP chair argued.

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