This a story of a college student, who was accused of being a terrorist organization member just because he had a “1 dollar” note in his pocket. This college student is me and I would like to tell you my story.
I was excited to have my trip to Balkans while during the summer after my first year at the college. I prepared my backpack with excitement and got on the bus to Macedonia. I was already very stressful because of my first year at the college. Besides that the coup attempt had happened in Turkey almost affected everybody badly including me, so I felt that I really needed a vacation.
I was aware that the government of Erdogan was arresting the followers of the Gulen movement and I was one of those sympeterziers of the movement.However, I never thought that they would go too far to arrest me just because I like them.
On my way to Macedonia,our bus was stopped when arrived to the border of Greece, the Turkish Police stopped the bus and told us that they were going to check our stuff, due to the emergency statement announced after the coup attempt.
When the police checked my wallet, he found a one dollar note. Everything was quite normal until then but at that moment, the police became nervous and told me to get off the bus. I was shocked and confused, I could not understand what was going on.
I took my stuff and got of the bus, the police ask the bus continue without me.My vacation then ended there that night. I was taken to the Police Station by the police, their first question was: “ Your father is wanted, did you know that?“ I was just going to express my confusion but the Police kept talking: “ You are a son of a terrorist, and you are carrying the symbol of Feto. (A dollar notel) So we are going to take you in custody.“
I was terrified, it was like a joke. They were taking me in custody by showing my one- dollar note as an evidence. It didn’t took long for me to understand that I was taken as a hostage, They would use me to call my father in.
Neither the prospector, nor the judge asked anything about me. All they wanted to know something about was my father. He was a Professor at a university in the United States, and I couldn’t understand why they wanted him so badly and took me is a hostage.
I struggled to get my freedom back with my very little knowledge of Law-which was enough to know that crime is a personal matter-. Even if I rejected all the claims, the judged decided to arrest me while I was hoping to be set free. I wanted to yell at the judge: “You are ruining my life so you can keep your job, and I am going to prison with my honor. You are a free man but your soul is chained and imprisoned, yet I’m happy and free I would rather to go to prison then being in your position!” But I had to remain my silence. Otherwise I could have lost my chance to be released.
I was taken to the Prison. The moment I entered the facility, everybody was looking at me with a shocked face. The guardians kept asking me how did I end up being in prison in the age of 18. I had no answer for that, sadly.
I was put in a room with twenty two men, who were accused to be a terrorist like me. However,I found them very gentle people they seemed to me that they had no intention of hurting anybody but the innocence look on their face.
Our room was originally made for eight people, but the number of prisoner after the coup attempt increased dramatically so that there were no enough space left in prisons. Therefore, some of us had to sleep on floor.
It was a hundred and twenty square meter place, including a thirty square meter yard.
We had no personal space,no space to walk, no chance to relax and we were even breathing hardly because twenty two people were overloading the capacity.
We were only able to have a phone call once in two weeks, which was only ten minutes. My roommates had their families visit them once a week, but my family was out of the country, so I had no visitors at all.
I also had a hard time to get my allergy medicines. Sometimes it was taking weeks to get them.I was only able to read thirty five books. I am saying “only“ because considering the time I had, I could have finished at least a hundred and fifty books. It turned out that the Warden wasn`t passionate about books as I was.
I had to use antidepressants and sleeping pills. Being in prison in my eighteenth age, there was no way not to have panic and anxiety attacks unless having all those weird medicine they gave me.
During my stay in Prison, I lost a considerable amount of my hair, and my endurance pretty much, since there was no chance to move my body.
Losing my freedom for a year at this age was a difficult experience. I could never imagine that one day I would be longing to see a tree inhale the fresh air deep into my lungs. Being kept in a prison was hard for me, harder than anyone can imagine, yet the more it got harder, the more I had to get stronger. I didn’t lose my mental health. One of my roommates attempt to kill himself in front of me. And I was the one who stopped him and have him drink his antidepressant by squeezing his nose and putting the pill to his mouth with my hand. I have always tried my best to help people go through and overcome their problems by putting mine aside.
It took a year for me to be able to get on the court. I heard one of the judges whispering to the other that my father was top wanted. And without looking at my eyes, they voted to sentence me to six years of prison. And they thought that they made me a favor for me by letting me free during the justification process.
Then, I had the chance to trespass the border of Greece and arrived in Norway, applied asylum here in Norway during my release. I’m happy and safe in Norway right now.
However, being obliged to leave the country I grew up in was one of the hardest decision I have ever made. I couldn’t even say goodbye to my friends.I think that my situation is a bit different from Syrian or Eritrean asylum seekers. On their case, everybody had to leave. But my country is still beautiful and worth to live in, I had to leave because the government chose us a as scapegoat of their dirty politics.