First of all, I don’t want people to think that I am complaining about my country. I love my country so much. However, the government currently ruling in my country has monopolised executive, legislative and judicial powers, everything. Unfortunately, we now live in a country where judicial independence is seriously discussed.
I’m 27 years old, and till this year, I have never been sued. However, now, the Turkish government has a warrant for my arrest. I live in Turkey, and the government has recently named the Hizmet Movement as a terrorist organisation, while the Hizmet Movement is all about working in the fields of education, peace building and dialogue across the world. They have long been trying to create this label but failed to put the movement in the list of terrorist organizations. However, they have finally declared this movement as a terror organisation as a result of the treacherous coup attempt which occurred on 15 July. I am now accused of being a member of a terrorist organisation and am being sought by the police because I support this movement in terms of its ideas.
I had an opportunity to go to 42 cities in my country and to go abroad twice by means of this “Hizmet Movement”. I swear upon all values I believe in that I have never encountered any terrorist activity wherever I went. Therefore, I sternly condemn this coup attempt which occurred in my country.
Let me tell you about the events I have personally experienced:
Firstly, I was imposed a ban on leaving the country by the Public Prosecutor of the city I live in, couple of days after the treacherous coup attempt. I and my wife couldn’t make sense of it and in order to get information, I dialled two phone numbers, one mobile and one fixed phone number, written on the notice I received. However, nobody answered my calls. When I consulted a few people about this, I was told that it was not a big deal, it might be a precautionary decision and I didn’t need to worry. I didn’t mind and went ahead with my routine.
My wife had joined the summer school. After her midterm exams, we decided to go on a holiday for a change and went out of town on 12 August 2016. We had intended to return on 20 or 21 August because my wife’s school would restart on 22 August. On 18 August, we learned that while we were out of the town, the police made an operation into our house. Also, after a few hours of the operation, my name and photo were published in the media. I heard from one of our neighbours that the police seized my passport and two things I have no information about, changed the door lock of our house and left the new keys to the neighbourhood mukhtar.
I firstly thought to go and turn myself in in order to answer all claims about me. Then, when I heard the news about torture, I understood that there was no fair trial and arraignment. As I’m concerned about the lack of an independent judiciary, I’m in a state of fugitive. Unfortunately, there are incidents like torture, exile and etc. in the prisons and detentions. So, I don’t want to turn myself in now.
I was called as a traitor by my close relatives and environment after my name and photo were published in the media although I have never had any criminal activity against the public. As this incident was made known in a larger circle, my relationship with firstly my father and then my relatives has been seriously damaged. Even my neighbour is talking about me as if I were a traitor. When I hear all of this, I feel depressed.
At the moment, I cannot go out in public. I and my wife live in different places. We are both in a terrible mood psychologically. My father and mother-in-law don’t show my wife’s face to me. My wife knows that I’m innocent so we are both depressed. As we are far from each other, we cannot comfort each other. Because of this incident, I cannot work anywhere and I feel like I cannot even meet my most basic needs. Thank God my wife makes a living with the help of her family. Because of all of these reasons, I’m, psychologically and physically, in a miserable situation.
I regret to say that I cannot make myself heard in my own country because I live in a country governed by a dictatorial government. I’m incapable of vindicating myself as the judges and the prosecutors carry out orders coming from the top. I don’t want to be jailed as I am not guilty of anything. Therefore, I expect the human rights organisations, government officials and politicians outside of Turkey to hear our voices and raise awareness about our dire situation.
Hizmet Watch withholds data to protect the privacy of individuals and victims’ identities that would otherwise put the person in danger.