As if the unlawful arrests in Turkey weren’t enough, convicts were sent to the prisons far away from their homes, just to torture their families. Accidents happen often after visits as a result of the emotional moments in open visits, abstractedness and people’s psychological state. Therefore roads to visits has become roads to death. Four members of the Civelek Family, two of them children, lost their lives in an accident on the way back from an open visit. “I lost my children; I have fractures in my spine, ribs and my arm. I need my husband, and my husband needs me. He can’t stay in cell anymore, please at least release him on probation and trial without arrest”. These words belong to Hatice Civelek who lost her two little daughters along with her dad and mother-in-law in an accident.
Enes Evren Civelek was under arrest and got permission to see his wife only for 10 minutes long, after the funeral of their little girls. In a video taken that day, Hatice Civelek expressed her desperation with the pain of losing her loved ones. She was worried of her husband’s psychological state, fearing that he would not be able to bare four losses, therefore asking for his release. That was the day they needed each other most. Unfortunately, Hatice Civelek’s cry did not get any response, apart from some weak reactions.
Enes Evren Civelek was a teacher just like Hatice Civelek. First, both were expelled from their jobs. On April 5, 2017 Enes Evren Civelek was imprisoned for allegedly being a member of a terrorist organisation. On December 7, 2018, Hatice Civelek’s dad Emin Balıkçı (55), her mother-in-law Havva Civelek (58), their little girls Betül (3) and Naime Civelek (8), lost their lives on their way back to Ankara, after visiting Enes in Kırıkkale.
To be closer to his wife and kids, Enes Evren Civelek requested his transfer to Düzce three times while he was imprisoned in Kırıkkale Keskin Prison. But every time Ministry of Justice rejected his requests. Since he heard about the accident, the prison turned into a hell for him. Nights, stars in the sky and next-door convicts are witnesses of him crying his daughters’ name into the sky, through his barred window.
Hatice Civelek could only visit her husband two months after the accident. After this visit, she said “my husband is struggling, I worry for his mental health. He went through a catastrophe. I at least have my family’s support and I can survive. But his situation is really different. It’s enough for someone to lose their mind when they are in a cell by themselves after all that happened”. While everyone expected him to be released or at least trial without prison, Enes Evren Civelek has been sentenced to prison for 26 years and 6 months.
Hatice Civelek, while staying with her mother and sister, told: “After my daughters’ funeral, my daughters’ hair clips were given to my husband. My husband kept one of them to himself and gave the other one to me. I told him to take care of himself, to stay strong and not to give up. He replied; OK. There is no need for a reminder; it is not possible to forget anyway. It just feels good to have something from them, even though they aren’t here anymore.”
What remained of the Civelek family are the hair clips of the two little girls, their sweaters, pinches from their first hair, their first pictures, a dad in prison and a grieved mother with many fractures in her body. As for happily smiling faces, they now only exist in old photos.