Mothers of imprisoned air cadets will not be prosecuted

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office has said that two mothers who have protested for the release of their imprisoned sons will not be prosecuted for membership of banned organisations, said Cumhuriyet on Sunday.

Melek Çetinkaya, 43, has been detained nearly 30 times since last September when she began protesting for the release of her son Furkan Çetinkaya - an air force cadet who was 19 years old when he was jailed for participating in the failed coup in July 2016. Her son was sentenced to life in prison in 2018.

Ayten Güleşçi has been protesting to demand the release of her son Yasin Güleşçi, who was was taken into custody while he was a student at the Istanbul Air Force Academy.

Melek Çetinkaya and Ayten Güleşçi were investigated by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor's Office for membership of the outlawed Gülen movement, which the Turkish government blames for orchestrating the failed coup in 2016. 

The prosecutor said that, although they had made statements in social media posts that used similar language to those of banned groups, there was not sufficient evidence to prosecute them as they had not made any comments inciting or legitimising violence, and had not used communications apps or made bank transactions linked to banned groups. 

After the coup attempt, tens of thousands of people were arrested and nearly 150,000 public sector workers were sacked or suspended as part of a crackdown on groups linked to the coup and other government opponents.

A total of 355 cadets have been given life sentences over alleged involvement in the 2016 coup.