Azad Tokmak: “I want my mother alive, not dead!”


Azad Tokmak will start a freedom campaign for his mother, Fatma Tokmak, a political prisoner suffering from serious heart diseases in Bakırköy Prison, to get his mother released and continue her treatment outside prison, Zeynep Kuray from Birgün Daily reported.

Tokmak is calling for everyone to support his campaign that will be launched today.

Azad Tokmak said that they wrote to the Ministry of Justice on the 1st of February to demand the release of his mother who has cancer but he has not received a reply yet.  “I want my mother alive, not dead,” he emphasized.

Azad Tokmak was taken into custody in 1996 with his mother after a police raid when he was only one and a half years old. Having been detained on charges of “aiding and abetting the PKK”, Fatma Tokmak was heavily tortured and developed a heart disease during detention.

Police officers at the Anti-Terror Branch put out cigarettes several times on the body of Azad, who was one and a half years old back then, to make his mother speak Turkish, a language she did not know. He still has scars caused by the cigarettes on his body.

Mother Tokmak was jailed pending trial for years and released due to her illness after more than nine years of trial.

Even though Azad was reunited with his mother in 2006, their happiness lasted for only three and a half years. When the court of appeal approved the ruling for life imprisonment, 38-year-old Fatma Tokmak was put in prison again. Azad said:

They grudged us our happiness. But when my mother was released, I felt on top of the world.

I was a student at primary school and when I learnt that they would release my mother, I was so overwhelmed with happiness that I tore my school uniform. I did not believe that my mother would be released until I reached the Gebze Prison. I said to my grandmother that we went there in vain. But when the iron door opened, and I saw my mother, I realized that it was real.

For three and half years, we compensated for the deep longing we had felt for each other. It was only when we settled down that they took my mother away from me again.

Azad Tokmak highlighted the fact that his mother’s health is worsening every day:

The last time I saw her was on 17 May. She said that her heart-throbs increased and she had difficulty breathing as the air temperature was rising. They transferred her to hospital every day for a week.

He went to the Turkish Parliament with the Human Rights Association (IHD) to demand the release of his mother and also applied to the Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) on the 1st of February for the release of his mother and deferral of her sentence but did not receive a reply yet, Azad Tokmak stated.

Tokmak said that he decided to start a campaign to call for his mother’s release and the signatures to be collected within the campaign will be submitted to the Ministry of Justice.

He added that preventing his mother’s release is a deliberate act of leading her to death:

Enough is enough! My mother has been in prison for 13 years although she is innocent and seriously sick.  I want my mother alive, not dead!

Update: The petition for the release of Fatma Tokmak has been launched. You can sign it here.