Purge in Turkey: The tragic story of Görmez family

Fatma Görmez, a former school teacher, passed away on January 11 after being purged. The tragic story of her family is only one example of many who suffer in Turkey during the recent purges.

KRONOS 12 Ocak 2021 ENG

Fatma and Bekir Görmez, residents of Turkey’s central province of Konya, were employees of a college for years. Their lives changed in 2016, after the notorious coup attempt of July 15. Since then, Görmez family had been trying to survive the purge. First, their college was shut down by the government with an emergency decree. Then, they lost their jobs, and then Bekir Görmez was arrested one night. The family’s lives were turned upside down, and it was only the beginning of a series of lawless conducts by the Turkish government.

Fatma Görmez, a former school teacher, had to take care of her disabled son alone after her husband’s arrest. She also had hearing difficulties, and without a hearing aid, she was unable to hear. The first shock came when she went to the prison to visit her husband for the first time. The prison management told her that it was not allowed to use hearing aids inside the facility. The couple was not able to chat, they could only cry together divided by a thick glass after being separated for days.

During that difficult time, Fatma Görmez’s kidney problems recurred. Later soon, Görmez found out that she also had a heart condition. She went through a serious surgery when her husband was still in prison. Fatma Görmez was too weak and her fragile body could not endure that much pain. She ended up losing a lot of weight and preparing for another surgery. After the second surgery, she applied for a disabled person’s pension, but it was rejected. She had a doctor’s report proving that she was 96 % disabled but her request was neglected by the authorities. Ultimately, she ended up becoming completely deaf.

Her son Berk Görmez (14) also had a hearing problem and went through two surgeries due to bowel obstruction. Fatma Görmez, desperate for help, opened a Twitter account and announced her situation. She kept writing to the authorities and representatives asking for help. The help came from a singer and human rights activist Haluk Levent, instead of the authorities.

In the first week of January in 2018, Fatma Görmez’s son died. He could not see his father during his battle with illness and could not endure the pain he suffered.

The father, Bekir Görmez, was brought to the funeral of his son with handcuffs. His 11 year old daughter was standing next to him, praying for her older brother.

After the death of her son, Fatma Görmez got weaker and she got cancer. In the meantime, she had two kidney surgeries and she was weighing only 63 lbs. Eventually, she was taken into intensive care. Her only wish was to have her daughter and husband by her side. Her last wish of seeing her family together one last time was ignored.

Fatma Görmez passed away on January 11, without her husband on her side.

As a last blow to the family, Fatma Görmez’s body was buried hastily by the authorities so that no one could attend the funeral including her husband.

The tragic story of Görmez family is only one example of many who suffer in Turkey during the recent purges.

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