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“When they see me on the street, some people ask, ‘Is that a sport implement on your foot, does it count your steps?’ Some say, ‘It looks nice, is it new fashion?’ In fact, the thing on my foot is shackles put on me by the state. While I am explaining people what it really is, I also raise awareness about freedoms in Turkey. For me, it is a way of expressing justice.”
Özge Doğan is a student at the Faculty of Law in İstanbul University. She has “modern shackles” on her foot, in her own words.
“It has been like that for a full month”, she tells bianet. She smiles while she is speaking about it. Doğan was detained around a year ago in an operation conducted against the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP). After serving some time in prison, she was released at her first hearing on November 20, 2018 on the condition that “she does not go beyond the borders or İstanbul.”
Doğan has abided by the verdict and did not leave İstanbul. Six months after her release, she was called by police officers from the Security Directorate of İstanbul. “You need to come here tomorrow,” the officers told her. When she informed her lawyer about it, her lawyer said, “They might put an electronic bracelet on you foot.” When she remembers that moment now, she says, “That thought was bad for me; though I stayed in prison, it made me feel something else. You live with a device on your body, I felt that it was bad.”
Doğan went to the Security Directorate of İstanbul on May 15 and they attached an electronic bracelet on her right foot.”
The officers who put the bracelet on her foot told her ‘If you go outside İstanbul, this device will send us a signal” and added, “Do not ever try to break it, if the slightest harm comes to it, in the event of a slightest breakdown, you will be responsible for it.”
Since then, Doğan has been moving with the electronic bracelet on her foot. She has been going everywhere from to the bazaar to school, bathroom or street protests with “her modern shackles”, in her own expressions.
Speaking to bianet about the issue, Doğan says,
“As a young woman, as a university student, I have always thought that ‘we are not free, but isolated’, I have always felt like that. But, with the concrete device touching my right foot, I have felt it more deeply.
“I knew that I had boundaries. I was aware of it as the daughter of a laborer family, as a woman, as a university student… I was aware that there was a policy setting boundaries for the ones other than themselves. I was aware that it was a result of government policies.”
Touching upon the Judicial Reform Strategy recently announced by President and ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Doğan underlines that the strategy document refers to long periods of arrest and arrest without strong evidence:
“So, they are thinking of emptying the prisons. Then, they will either place people under house arrest or they will attach electronic bracelets on their feet. They introduce it as a judicial reform. Judicial Reform does not mean anything in terms of freedoms.”
Concluding her remarks, Özge Doğan says,
“I have a request from certain people, but not from the ones who have attached a bracelet on my foot. Though not everyone has visible bracelets on their feet, invisible handcuffs dominate all areas of our lives. I feel that everyone has boundaries, I feel that we are not free. I request that we all realize that we live in isolation, speak and stand against it.” (EMK/SD)