Turkish authorities widen post-coup crackdown, target foster families

November 29, 2016 1:00 pm

A detained Turkish soldier who allegedly took part in a military coup arrives with his hands bound behind his back at the Istanbul Justice Palace, July 20, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Officials in may remove adopted children from the custody of their foster parents if the guardians are found to have been linked to a recent coup attempt in the country.
An official from the Turkish Ministry of Family and Social Policy, who declined to be identified, said on Monday that authorities had been carrying out investigations since August 23 and are likely to remove children from the foster families if the parents are found to have backed the botched putsch in July.
“It would not be right for a child to remain with a (foster) family if links to FETO are confirmed as a result of the examinations,” the official said, using an acronym coined by the Turkish authorities to refer to a perceived deep state run by the supporters of US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen.
“This is a slow process in which detailed examinations are being carried out. So it is out of the question for children to be suddenly ripped away from their families,” the official said, adding that the mental health condition of the children is being closely examined.
The Turkish government has accused Gulen of being behind the coup bid and has been cracking down hard on anyone believed to be his supporter. Ankara says it has been successful in significantly diminishing the power of Gulen’s supporters in state institutions following the coup.
The Turkish cleric has strongly condemned the coup attempt and denied any involvement in it.
The conservative and pro-government Turkish daily newspaper Yeni Safak has reported that nearly 5,000 foster families and some childcare-related NGOs have been placed under investigation.

This file photo shows a view of the entrance to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office in Turkey.

Also on Monday, the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office pressed charges of attempting to abolish the constitutional order, preventing the parliament from fulfilling its duties, and membership in a terror organization against 62 former soldiers.
The prosecutor’s office later asked Istanbul’s 23rd High Criminal Court to pass sentences ranging from 15 years in jail to life sentences for the defendants.
Turkish officials say over 240 people were killed and more than 2,100 others injured in the coup attempt.
Tens of thousands of people, including military personnel, judges and teachers, have been suspended, dismissed or detained as part of the post-coup crackdown.
International rights groups argue that Ankara’s crackdown has gone far beyond the so-called Gulenists and targeted Kurds as well as government critics in general. Last week, the European Parliament decided to temporarily halt accession negotiations with Turkey over the large-scale crackdown.
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