In one section of Istanbul, an imprisoned journalist’s family tries to cope after Turkey’s crackdown. In another, a neighborhood leader is proud to have taken a bullet for his government during the coup attempt. This is the second part in the State of Emergency series, in which our correspondent takes us behind the scenes of today’s Turkey, a nation in crisis.
After the Raid, a Family Reorients Around Prison
Just after noon, we set off for Turkey’s notorious Silivri prison to visit Nazire Gursel’s husband. She rides in a friend’s car today, but sometimes she takes a shuttle provided by the newspaper her husband works for, Cumhuriyet. So many journalists working for the paper have been arrested that it has hired a special bus service for their relatives.
Her husband, Kadri Gursel, a prominent columnist, is one of at least 81 journalists now imprisoned in Turkey, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Most of them were arrested after a failed coup attempt last July, accused of links either to the Islamist Gulenist movement or to a secular Kurdish militant group.
Mr. Gursel is paradoxically accused of both — an absurd charge, she says. He was a longtime critic of Gulenists. But still the police staged a follow-up raid on the family’s home, seizing his computer, and he was sent to prison in October.
Now, Ms. Gursel is doing what she can to try to help her husband and see him regularly, while trying to keep life as normal as possible for their son, Erdem.
Once, she had hoped Mr. Gursel would be free in time for Erdem’s birthday, in mid-February. But their son turned 11 without his father.
In the meantime, there is another in a long line of trips to prison to make.