My husband and I had been working with all our heart and soul in a city, southeastern part of Turkey, in which there was a high risk of terrorist attacks and so people were scared to go, when we first learned that my husband was suspended after 15thJuly traitorous coup plan as hundreds thousand others. We couldn’t speak of to anyone and just one week later my husband was dismissed from his job. I urgently took a leave of absence from my job and dropped my daughter out of kindergarten, and then we went to my husband’s hometown to make correct and healthy decisions about our future. First, we signed up with a lawyer to seek justice and defend our rights in court. Then we moved to my hometown as we thought it would be a safer place for us. Meanwhile, we got news that anyone would be delighted whenever she gets. I was pregnant. However, I couldn’t even enjoy it since we had heard much about how pregnant and puerperant women were tortured and ill-treated throughout Turkey. Maybe our baby would grow up without parents. Sadly, I was so anxious in those days although as a mother I should have been so happy. Since my leave was coming to end I and my husband asked for our blessings for the last time and I left. My mother-in-law, my 4-years old daughter, I, and tiny heart beating inside me went back to our house in a risky province. My husband couldn’t come with us since he was dismissed due to alleged links of so called “terrorist organization, FETO” and would probably be tortured and jailed if he would have been caught. My daughter was unable to understand what had been going on. She had never been away from her father before and she maybe wouldn’t see her teacher and friends again. I had difficulties in finding correct words to explain my daughter what had been happening around us.
I was at my workplace in February 2017, when my chief called and told me to go downstairs. As I went downstairs, I saw 4 policemen had been waiting for me. They said there was a detain warrant over me. I packed my belongings in a hurry accompanied by police officers, and then they took me to my flat. I was taking my daughter from one room to another in order not to scare her while police were searching the flat. After search, they got me on armored vehicles and took to anti-terror branch in police department. Yes! In a few minutes, I turned into a member of terrorist organization in their eyes. Whereas just a couple of days ago, I was curing our soldiers and police officers wounds. They put me in a jail that I would stay alone. During my detention period, police repeatedly asked where my husband had been staying. Meanwhile, I was pushed to testify against Hizmet Movement members and I was threatened that I would be released if only I agreed to be a confessor. I was pregnant and there was a risk of abortion. However, police officers didn’t even care about it. I could eat only a package of crackers within three days. I was taken with armored vehicles to a health center where I had already been working and I went through medical examinations among bewildered glances of my colleagues. While I was taken to the health center, we were driving by our house and I was looking through the window hoping to see my daughter. After three-days detention, I appeared in court. I was released by the court pending a trial on condition that giving signature to police station twice a week. Finally, I was back to my job but I was blacklisted as a terrorist and soon after that I was also suspended. My mother-in-law and I, as a pregnant woman, packed our households quickly in only one night and moved to my mother-in-law’s hometown for the fear that rearrest. However, we couldn’t have stayed there for a long time because it was a little town and there had been many denunciations. Pro-Erdogans were trying to ostracize us from the society. Even our relatives and neighbors were hesitating to contact with us –as we were infected- fearing that something bad may happen to them. Both our families and we were not in secure conditions since we were so-called members of an armed terrorist organization. We rented a flat thanks to one of our relatives and nobody was aware of address or place where we were staying. We lived in that flat for 1,5 years with the financial support of families yet we had no longer salaries. My husband quite rarely went outside. Although he hadn’t committed any crime, a detention warrant was issued over him and police officers busted to my father-in-law’s house to arrest my husband. So we had to escape from both police officers and pro-Erdogans. I had to deal with daily tasks outside. Besides I had to go police station twice a week. Each time on the way to police station, I was using another route with at least 2-3 different vehicles. While we were struggling against these challenges in our lives, our daughter was swept from one side to another. “Why couldn’t she no longer go to kindergarten?”, “Why couldn’t her mother and her father go outside together, yet all the other children in parks were playing together with their parents”, “Why was her father wearing hat and glasses while going outside at nights?”, “Why was everyone in the house anxiously looking through window, each time doorbell rings?”, “Why did her parents always stay at home as they had been working in the past?”. I had neither courage nor strength to answer these kinds of questions.
As the birth time had been approaching, my accumulated fears were growing as well. Women generally suffer from only birth pain whereas I had more severe pains. “What if police officers came to delivery room and took me to prison?”, “What if they find out my husband when I was in the hospital?”Those have become routines in Erdogans Turkey’s everyday life. With many fears similar to those mentioned, I went to hospital with my brother and his wife but without my husband, in 2017 summer. Finally, I gave a birth. As soon as I hugged my newborn daughter, we left the hospital even refusing to be kept under observation, just because I was so scared to be arrested again. We were then 4 people at home. It was a nice feeling and even if just a drop we became happier. However those happy days didn’t last long. Every time I went to police station, police officers were psychologically pressing and interrogating me about my husband. While I was returning to home I always used different ways and I was looking suspiciously to other cars on the way. If I see anyone for the second time around my house, I became worried about that he might be an undercover police officer. My husband became so sensitive that he used to wake up even with the sound of elevator and we were anxious about our neighbors’ noises if they come to their houses late at nights. Both my husband and I didn’t enjoy our lives and we didn’t wish it to continue in the same way. We were targeted as terrorists and were completely excluded from the society. Our older daughter should have started the school but we couldn’t send her because our address might have exposed.
Finally, we decided to flee from country. We took necessity actions and planned to cross over Greece safely by ship tour. We paid quite a lot money to the human smugglers for this planned cross. When crossing time came in July 2018, we found ourselves in a touristic seaside city. I had a panic attack at last night while I was trying to sleep in a small tent. When I thought about tragedies, which had already been lived while crossing either Eagean Sea or Evros River by boat, I was short of breath and felt that I had no more strength to stand. Thanks to my husband that he calmed me down. The next night smugglers came to our tent. They hastily took us from a rocky coast and put us to a small boat. In those stunning moments with confused feelings, we couldn’t even ask that we would have crossed with a ship tour. We were six people in a small boat. We didn’t have life vests and everywhere was extremely dark. Although they told us that it would end in 1,5 hour, it was like an endless journey and still continuing although many hours had already passed. The only thing that we were able to do in a little boat, in the middle of open sea, and in the darkness of night, was praying to God. My little daughter was sleeping on the breast of my husband and my older daughter was sitting next to me. Suddenly, the boat started to take on water. I was looking for something to detain the water and it was my baby’s feeding bottle that I only have. Then I started to detain the water with feeding bottle, at the same time my husband cut a plastic bottle and started to pour water out of boat. Our clothes got wet so we were freezing and shivering from cold. My husband periodically controlled our baby against hypothermia and he was trying to calm us down. We absolutely noticed that we were so close to death. We surrendered to God and were praying as Prophet Jonas had done. Do-or-die journey lasted more than six hours and we finally set our feet in a Greek island. It was impossible to forget what we had lived but we took a new opportunity to leave everything behind us and build up new lives in the future. So, we decided to go to honest and reliable peoples’ land Norway, to benefit from that opportunity. Now, every day in this lovely country, we are so grateful to our God, enjoying what a correct decision we made, while we are living in such a fair and equal society surrounded by Norwegians warm and humanitarian hospitality.