Emine Altın, an arrested undergraduate student who managed to enroll in a Law Faculty with a top score, is not allowed to take her course exams. The grounds for denial of her rights: “She may endanger the security of the society!”
Emine Altın has been in İzmir Şakran Prison since February 14, 2018. She is not allowed to study despite the fact that she was one of the top-scorers of the 2019 Undergraduate University Placement Exams. Arrested within the scope of Gulen movement-related probes, Altın cannot take the course exams of Law Faculty of the Istanbul University.
After corresponding with the Presidential Communication Center (CIMER) 4-5 times, the family received a response on January 7, 2020. CIMER said that Mrs. Altin is not allowed to the course exams as “she can endanger the social security.”
The response read as follows:
“She may be barred by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office if it is considered that she may endanger the public security with the order of the penitentiary administration; she may enable the members of terrorist organizations or other criminal organizations to organize and operate for criminal purposes; she may also cause problems related to the road, Closed Penitentiary Institution that she is going to stay, examination center or school that she is going to have her exams..”
It is stated in the 42nd article of the Turkish Constitution that “Nobody can be deprived of the right to education,” and this law provision is outright ignored. Mrs. Fadime Mersin, the mother of Mrs. Emine Altın, reacted to the unlawfulness as her daughter’s right to education was taken away.
Stating that they enrolled their daughter in this Law School as Istanbul University is among the universities that allow detainees to have distance education, Mrs. Mersin explained that now the authorities not only don’t let her take the course exams but also they say “Your daughter is on trial on terror charges, she may harm our students. We cannot take responsibility. We can’t allow it”. They initially said that if the government allows, you could pay for the costs and she could take the exams. Now they say that the state does not allow it. If she weren’t allowed to study, why was she allowed to take the university placement exam? We became happy with her score, but they took the wind out of her sails.
Giving some more details for Mrs. Emine Altın’s admission procedure, Mrs. Mersin mentioned that “We struggled a lot in the registration process. Hovering between the prison and Notary Public for a mandate, we had to try for two months up until the last minute. After we had the mandate, the admissions officers aggravated the procedure. They said that if Emine was successful in the university placement exam first and then imprisoned, they could accept her, but they said they couldn’t get her registration because she was successful in the university placement exam when she was in prison. They also said they could not accept her for the course exams since she does not attend her classes. You have the freedom to have distance education in Turkey only in 5 universities. One of them is Istanbul University. Then they should not use the ‘distance education’ phrase if they don’t allow students to study without attending the classes.”
Stating that her daughter graduated from Manisa Turgutlu Rabia Hatun High School, Mrs. Mersin said, “My daughter did wonderful in the university placement exam, and she is a student who is trying to study under such conditions. When I go to visit her in prison, they ask me if she is my daughter, who had an amazing score in the test. I cannot explain how much they upset us. We suffered a lot.”
Her second degree
Emine Altın is actually a math teacher. She graduated from the Department of Mathematics Education of İzmir 9 Eylül University. She enrolled in her second university with a top-score in Turkey. Mrs. Emine Altın’s husband, Mr. Armağan Altın, is a mining engineer, and they married a year after finishing her university. Mr. Armağan has been detained in the same prison since 2017. Mrs. Altın, who was pregnant when her husband was arrested, lost her 1.5-month-old baby. Mrs. Emine was arrested four months later than her husband. Emine Altın was also detained just before her marriage but released then.
Conjugal visit denied
The newly married couple was granted only two non-contact visits within two years because they were arrested within the scope of Gulen movement probes. Relatives of Armağan Altın stated that Mr. Armağan Altın has health problems now in prison, and added, “It is necessary to have a blood test, but they did not take blood samples. He wrote petitions 3-4 times regarding the blood test, but the prison authorities just ignored it. Normally he had surgery due to a heart valve. So we requested a specialist doctor’s examination. They took him to check after a really long time.”
Emine Altın also learned how to play Turkish bağlama in a course at İzmir Şakran Prison.