On-air appeal for peace lands Turkish mother and baby in jail
Ayşe Çelik, a teacher from the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, has become a household name in Turkey after entering prison with her baby over charges of terrorism propaganda due to her call for peace on live television, Deutsche Welle reported.
“What a pity! Don’t let people die. Don’t let children die. Don’t let mothers cry,” Çelik said during a call-in to the popular Beyaz Show in January 2016.
At the time fierce fighting was ongoing in predominantly Kurdish southeastern provinces in Turkey between security forces and Kurdish militants linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), following the collapse of peace talks in 2015.
Çelik was charged with “praising terrorism” shortly after the phone call was broadcast, resulting in a guilty verdict and 15-month prison sentence passed in December 2017. The teacher successfully applied for delays to her sentence three times, and was released from prison after her sentence had been suspended temporarily.
Çelik and her baby returned to prison this month, while Turkey’s highest legal body, the Constitutional Court, still reviews her appeal.
Çelik’s case doesn't just illustrate the danger of articulating an unpopular opinion in present-day Turkey, but also shines light on how hundreds of Turkish mothers are sitting in jail along with with their infants and children, DW said.
Some 668 infants and toddlers below the age of three were jailed with their mothers last year, as were 2,491 children between the ages of 12 and 17, according to the figures provided by the Human Rights Association (IHD) last year.