A just judge with a conscience wanted for this mother
A four-year-old child was screaming in the corridors of the courthouse. She ran to her mother, crying and screaming. She said, “I’m begging you father. Don’t take me away from my mother.”
Her name is Aylin and she is now eight years old. Aylin last saw her mother seven months ago, as her mother’s ex-husband does not Aylin’s mother to see her. Every time she sees Aylin the child is unhappier, more scattered. Her fingernails were always long and dirty; she had been infested with lice four times. Once her eyebrow was gone because of sorrow and stress. It was obvious her father was not able to take care of the little girl.
This small child was separated from her mother at the age of two-and-a-half. Her separation pain has been going on for more than five years. The architect of this mercilessness is the father, as well as the Turkish courts, which abstain from serving justice.
Starting from square one, Zarina Albegonova was from a Muslim family in North Ossetia. She met her ex-husband, Murat Aydemir, at a U.S. university. They got married in North Ossetia in 2004 and started living in Turkey. Both of their two daughters were born in the U.S. Aydemir wanted to register her daughters in Turkey but refused to have his marriage to Zarina recorded. Zarina’s only wish was to reside legally in Turkey. However, Aydemir insisted, “You will obey me. I will register my children. You will live as a tourist here.” He was violent to her in front of the children. He would shout, “Where is my gun? I will throw you out of the window.” Zarina felt her life was threatened and she didn’t know how to protect her children.
When Zarina’s visa was about to expire, Aydemir stole all of their passports and kidnapped Aylin, their elder daughter. His plan was to call the police when Zarina’s visa expired and to have her deported. Zarina had to take her younger daughter, Selin, and leave the house to stay in a hotel. She started her legal battle to get Aylin back.
According to Article 337 of the Turkish Civil Code, it is stated openly and clearly that if the mother and the father are not married, custody belongs to the mother. Because Aydemir refused to record their North Ossetia marriage in Turkey, under Turkish law they were unmarried, thus the custody unquestionably belonged to Zarina.
She opened a custody case. She could not see her daughter for six months. Judge Hatice Kıdır reached an unlawful decision and transformed the case into “forming a personal relationship.” Aylin was to stay with her father practically. The judge banned the girls from traveling abroad. Aylin could only see her mother for five hours a month. Zarina dropped the case, but the judge sent the case as an “appeal” to the Supreme Court of Appeals. As long as the case was at the high court, Zarina could only see her daughter once a month.
In the criminal case, on the other hand, Aydemir was sentenced to five months for kidnapping a child but was set on parole for five years.
Aydemir applied to the Family Court on grounds that “Zarina will take the children abroad.” Judge Betül Bozkurt, even though Aydemir had been convicted of kidnapping, ruled an unlawful injunction. Aylin again stayed with her father.
Aydemir opened a paternity and custody suit which lasted four years. They were both rejected, the injunction was lifted.
The office of the prosecutor demanded that Aylin should be taken from her father and given to her mother, but Judge Hülya Özsoy refused this with illogical reasons.
Finally, Zarina opened a custody and “handing over the child” case. The judge accepted the case and decided that she could see Aylin weekly. However, two weeks later the same judge reversed the decision and rejected the case. It was because, in his reply petition to the court, Aydemir had stated the names of all the judges who had ruled in favor of him up until that day, pressuring the judge, “How can you rule in opposition to all the judgments of these judges?”
For many years Aydemir and his family told several lies to Aylin about her mother.
Zarina is appealing to judges who have a conscience: “According to Turkey’s laws, the custody of my daughter belongs to me. In a democratic country, how come so many judges overlook this unfairness when it is the life of a child in question? How come my child’s rights are violated as such? Despite all the pressure they have put on the judges, I know that I am right. I may not have gone far legally, and my daughter is with him, but he does not have a single document proving that he is right. I believe I will have my daughter. I have hope in this democracy. Sooner or later justice will be served.”