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Warning Against Senior Turkish Aide’s Abduction Threats in US

On September 25, 2018 Erdogan’s Long Arms Aiming to Reach US Territory

Turkey Seeks to Target Erdogan Opponents on US Soil

Turkey’s long-running campaign to target and capture political opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan living abroad has taken a new turn after his spokesman threatened to conduct operations in the U.S., similar to the ones which took place in Moldova, Ukraine, Kosovo, Malaysia, Gabon and a number of other countries.

Ankara’s indulgence in risky and bold operations, in clear disregard and violation of international norms, have already aroused controversy and a state of tension with its allies and the countries where such kidnappings or captures occurred. As recently as in September, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) snatched a group of Turkish teachers critical of the Erdogan government from Moldova after collaboration with the local security agency.

Almost all incidents, without an exception, have stirred political controversy and intense partisan bickering among political parties within countries where Ankara’s long arms involved in controversial security operations to target opponents, mostly affiliated with Gulen Movement, a banned civil society group in Turkey.

Turkey’s assertive and robust push to get Gulen-linked people shows no signs of receding. And after Ibrahim Kalin, President Erdogan’s spokesman, stepped in to declare that Turkey may conduct similar operations on the U.S. soil as well, things would stumble into an uncharted territory and would inject a new layer of uncertainty into an already perilous and tense relationship between the two NATO allies.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara in late September, Kalin vowed that the Turkish government would never relent its campaign against Gulen people. “They will feel Turkey breathing down their neck,” he said.

He went on to say: “Relevant units and institutions will continue their operations in countries where Gulen Movement operates, whether in the U.S. or another country. The Turkish Republic will not let them rest.”

Turkey’s authorities describe the Gulen Movement as a terrorist organization and ascribe the blame for the abortive 2016 coup to the movement, without offering a convincing evidence.

The presence of Fethullah Gulen, the inspired leader of the movement, in the U.S. territory remains a lasting source of friction between Ankara and Washington. Turkey’s numerous attempts and endless demands for the extradition of Gulen from the U.S. have yielded no result so far today. Although Ankara sent countless boxes of documents and dossiers supposedly containing evidence to Washington, the U.S. authorities did not budge their position.

The U.S. officials say Turkey has yet to offer tangible evidence linking Gulen to the coup.

While Turkey’s relentless pursuit of Gulen people in countries with weak rule of law and corrupt governments is a well-known phenomenon, the hint from a senior aide to Erdogan about a potential attempt to snatch people linked with the movement from the U.S. soil is a first of its kind.

This evidently illustrates the zeal and ambition of the Turkish government to get their opponents from anywhere else with little regard for diplomatic ramifications. It also clearly reveals that Ankara, otherwise unanimously and collectively condemned and pressured by its Western allies, would never abate its operations to target Gulen people, even in the U.S.

Kalin’s threat comes on the heels of an ongoing dispute regarding the continuing imprisonment of a U.S. pastor in Turkey. Erdogan already unveiled his plan for a potential prisoner swap to get Gulen back to Turkey in exchange of Pastor Andrew Brunson. But his proposal was bluntly rebuffed by the U.S. officials in 2017.

Kalin’s remarks appear as no mere speculation or wishful thinking. Rather, his statement points to the existence of determination and a certain course of policy on behalf of the Turkish government to haunt Gulen sympathizers in the U.S.

In 2017, the U.S. prosecutors revealed a scheme involving Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor of President Donald J. Trump, to spirit Gulen away from the U.S. territory. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, former Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Turkish envoy to the U.S. and a former CIA chief were also present during the discussion of a plan to smuggle Gulen. Flynn also lobbied on behalf of Ankara for the extradition of Gulen.

Against this backdrop, Kalin’s threatening remarks have taken a special meaning and context. The Turkish government has already expertly versed in the business of overseas operations to capture Erdogan’s opponents. The U.S. authorities should keep an eye on this possibility and would remain alarmed in the face of threats for conducting similar operations on the U.S. soil.

We write you to emphasize our great concern about such threats and urge the U.S. authorities to seek clarification from the Turkish administration over Kalin’s threatening remarks. In this respect, the State Department may summon the Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. to demand further elaboration and elucidation of Kalin’s remarks.

Separately, we request from the U.S. law enforcement agencies to pay extra attention to the situation and keep a closer eye on any suspicious moves or acts of pro-Erdogan Turks living in the U.S. with regard to the security and wellbeing of Gulen Movement sympathizers across the U.S.

Download this statement as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Warning-Against-Senior-Turkish-Aide’s-Abduction-Threats-in-US.docx

We request from the U.S. authorities to pay extra attention to this situation in the U.S. with regard to the security and wellbeing of Gulen Movement sympathizers across the U.S.

Download the sample letter for your local authorities as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Senator-Letter.docx

You can find your U.S Senator from the link below.

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

You can find your U.S Representatives from the link below.

https://www.house.gov/representatives

We also request from the U.S. law enforcement agencies to pay extra attention to the situation and keep a closer eye on any suspicious moves or acts of pro-Erdogan Turks living in the U.S. with regard to the security and wellbeing of Gulen Movement sympathizers across the U.S.

Download the sample letter for your local Law Enforcement authorities as a word document:

http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/To-Law-Enforcement-Officials.docx

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement to following addresses:

1)Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 (202) 612-6700
Email: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr
Twitter: @TurkishEmbassy
Website: http://washington.emb.mfa.gov.tr/Mission

2) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

3) U.S. Department of State
Phone: (202) 647-6575
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/

4) Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States
Phone: 202-456-6213
Email: vice.president@whitehouse.gov
Twitter: @VP

5) Senator Cory Booker
Phone: (202) 224-3224
Fax: (202) 224-8378
Email: https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=contact
Twitter:@SenBooker

6)Human Rights Watch U.S.
Phone: +1-212-290-4700
Email: hrwpress@hrw.org
Website: https://www.hrw.org/united-states

7) Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher, House of Representatives
Phone: (202) 225-2415
Twitter: @RepRohrabacher, @DanaRohrabacher
Email: https://rohrabacher.house.gov/contact

News articles on the raid:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/turkey-will-conduct-operations-against-erdogan-s-enemies-u-s-n912996

https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/24/erdogan-operations-america/

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-us/turkish-presidents-spokesman-threatens-operations-against-opponents-us-soil

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1022726/turkey-news-Recep-Tayyip-Erdogan-Fethullah-Gulen-FETO-Ibrahim-Kalin-pensylvania-USA

https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/09/23/turkey-says-operations-targeting-gulen-movement-could-extend-to-us/

https://theregion.org/article/13128-turkey-threatens-to-target-dissidents-abroad-039-anytime-anywhere-039

Ibrahim Kalin’s threatening video

Ibrahim Kalin’s threatening video

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Kurdish Politician Says Erdogan Behind Latest Crackdown

Co-Chair of pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) pointed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as someone who pulled the strings behind a massive crackdown that targeted more than a 100 politicians and journalists in the latest wave last week.

In simultaneous raids, the Turkish police raided offices and houses of tens of politicians linked with HDP and a group of journalists in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir and other cities. The clampdown has aroused international and national criticism.

Sezai Temelli accused Erdogan of giving the order for the latest move that inflicted a new blow to the party already bleeding in the face of incessant waves of the crackdown. Former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag were imprisoned in late 2016 and are still in jail over terrorism charges. Thousands of party members have been jailed over similar charges.

This week saw another phase. The Turkish government has already taken over the administrations of more than 100 Kurdish-run municipalities. The president has repeatedly shown no signs of backing down and signaled a further escalation of crackdown amid armed clashes between Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish security forces.

A fragile truce between the PKK and the Turkish military collapsed in 2015 and renewed urban fighting gave Erdogan additional tools and excuse to crack down on the Kurdish political party which he portrays as the political wing of the armed militants.

The HDP rejects such blanket definitions and refuses association with PKK, which has been fighting the Turkish state since the early 1980s to carve out an autonomous zone for self-governance in southeastern Turkey.

A round of peace negotiations in 2015 came to an abrupt end when Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in Parliament in June 7 elections. When Demirtas cruised HDP to Parliament after an upsetting electoral victory that denied AKP the chance to form another single-party government. HDP’s unexpected triumph appeared to be a turning point after the president altered his policy course regarding the Kurdish conflict and adopted a security-first approach to resolving the decades-old issue.

The military solution, although tried during countless different governments over the past four decades, has ultimately proved to be elusive and untenable. The latest bout of violence reduced cities to rubble in many parts of southeastern Turkey, leading to the displacement of nearly half a million people. Both Human Rights Watch and the United Nations well documented the scale of devastation that swept the entire region, revealing the scope of its social and economic cost in fullest form.

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Denied Early Medical Treatment, Turkish Man Dies After Released From Prison

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The health condition of Ozbir, a businessman of modest scale from Alasehir district in the western province of Manisa, steadily worsened in recent months. He was imprisoned as part of a sweeping crackdown on people affiliated with Gulen Movement in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

The businessman was imprisoned in pretrial detention for 17 months before his release. The denial of proper medical treatment and the refusal by authorities to release him on time only exacerbated his situation.

One of his arms was amputated because the medical treatment was provided so late. When his health state worsened, the prison officials agreed to his release to avoid any responsibility in the case of his death.

Despite efforts by doctors in recent weeks, Ozbir succumbed to worsening cancer in the hospital.

His death reveals an acute problem in Turkish prisons. There are tens of people who died because of denial of access to medical treatment in prison. Ozbir’s case is only the latest example in this regard.

Ozbir was imprisoned over an anonymous tip and for his membership in ASIAD, a non-profit business organization affiliated with Gulen Movement in Alasehir.

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On the occasion of the International Day of the Girl Child, Set Them Free launched a video on the violations of the girl children rights in Turkey.

The video was prepared by SetThemFree.com

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Turkish Journalist in Germany Concerned Over Life Amid Threats From Erdogan

As the whole world still struggles to make sense of the shroud of fog over the mysterious case of a Saudi journalist whose sudden disappearance in Istanbul shuddered the international community, a Turkish journalist living in self-imposed exile in Germany has expressed fears over his own wellbeing and his family’s safety in Turkey.

Can Dundar, former editor-in-chief of the opposition Cumhuriyet daily, revealed his deep-seated anxiety and dread over threats by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Speaking in an interview with Deutsche Welle, Dundar said Erdogan’s opponents are at risk everywhere in the world. His remarks came in the wake of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s startling disappearance in Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. The incident is still riddled with mystery and enigma, with little answers available over a set of questions about the fate of the critical journalist.

Dundar has found himself again in the crosshairs of the Turkish president as he accused the journalist at a recent press conference in Berlin of being a foreign spy working for foreign governments. In the eyes of the Turkish government, he has already been painted as an enemy figure after the Cumhuriyet, under his editorial watch, published records of Turkey’s arms shipment to the warring sides in Syria in 2015.

President Erdogan vowed to not let him go without a punishment for leaking “classified state secrets.” After serving a brief time in jail, the journalist was released pending trial. He survived an assassination attempt outside Istanbul Caglayan Courthouse.

It was the last straw that paved the way for his departure from Turkey en route to Germany. But the Turkish authorities seized her wife’s passport and did not allow her to travel with Dundar.

In remarks to Deutsche Welle, Dundar dismissed Erdogan’s spy allegations as politically motivated.

When asked about Erdogan’s treason and spy remarks, Dundar called the Turkish strongman a liar.

“Because there are no journalists in jail on terrorist charges. They are all convicted or accused of leaking state secrets, writing against the government, being critical about the government’s policies, etc.. So they are just journalists, not terrorists,” he told Deutsche Welle. “But calling that kind of thing terrorism is a kind of traditional attitude of this government, unfortunately,” he added.

Dundar whose family is still in Turkey is extremely worried about their wellbeing. He thinks that the Erdogan government keeps her wife as a hostage in Turkey.

When Erdogan was invited to Germany for an official visit, the invitation divided political parties and generated a heated debate over how to handle with an increasingly unruly and authoritarian leader. Many parties in Bundestag expressed their opposition to Erdogan’s visit.

When asked about Germany’s response to Erdogan so far regarding the state of political affairs in Turkey, Dundar appeared satisfied with the messages and calls clearly conveyed by the German side to the Turkish leader during his visit to Berlin in late September.

In the beginning, Dundar thought that the German approach was meek and tepid against Erdogan’s crackdown on media and democracy in Turkey. But later, the Turkish journalist has begun to appreciate Germany’s dire challenge to tread a delicate balancing act between pushing Ankara for democratic reforms and the need to preserve the bilateral relationship as smoothly as possible.

On Thursday, writing for Foreign Policy, Steven Cook shared Dundar’s concerns in the face of threats from authoritarian leaders.

“Ours is an era of international thuggishness combined with a total absence of norms. That makes everyone a target,” he wrote, delving into the riddling case of Saudi journalist and recalling the authoritarian shift in the past decade around the world.

From Egpyt to China, from Turkey to Hungary and Venezuela, dissidents and critical journalists increasingly feel less safe. The unknown fate of Khashoggi remains as a dreadful warning and lesson for others to see. Dundar is one of them. Facing Erdogan’s incessant threats, he is right to be concerned and alarmed.

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Disappearance of Saudi Journalist in Istanbul Consulate Stuns Whole World

The disappearance or alleged murder of a critical Saudi journalist in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul has created shockwaves across the world and sent a chilling echo for other Saudi dissidents across the region.

According to the Turkish authorities, Jamal Khashoggi has been killed by Saudi agents and his body was dismembered. Riyadh has categorically denied those allegations and pledged to work with the Turkish officials for a robust and thorough investigation to enlighten the incident.

The international community, already dismayed and alarmed by acts of the increasing violence against members of the media world, is, quite understandably, rattled by the startling case of Khashoggi. And it came after INTERPOL’s Chinese president’s arrest in China, adding a new layer of anxiety over the international fallout of domestic political score-settling.

If the Turkish claims about murder are true, it represents completely a new phase in the crackdown on critical journalists. The venue of the incident, a consulate, serves as a stark reminder for dissidents living abroad about the stakes of any form of engagement or contact with an official body of their home country. No critic would feel safe to enter a consulate or a diplomatic compound of a given country, without having second thoughts after the Khashoggi incident.

The Turkish government appeared appalled and therefore reacted in indignation against the Saudi act breaching diplomatic norms in blatant disregard of the friendly relationship that mostly defined the nature of bilateral ties between the two powers of the Middle East.

Still, the case remains to be a matter of puzzling mystery, with both Turkish and Saudi sides lacking credibility to bolster their narratives. While pro-government media and some anonymous Turkish security sources were quick to squarely pin the blame on the Kingdom, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has struck a measured and cautious tone, refraining from finger-pointing at Riyadh.

Khashoggi was last seen on Saturday. His fiancee Hatice Cengiz told media that he went to the Consulate but never showed up again. The Turkish media released video footage of a group of people believed to be Saudi agents were specifically assigned by Riyadh to kill and remove the journalist’s body. But the Turkish authorities did never offer evidence to back up their claims, while the Saudi side also stumbled in its account of the story by failing to prove Khashoggi’s departure from the Consulate via camera footage.

The issue has expectedly unsettled Turkey’s political landscape and created an uproar. But,
considering Turkey’s own dismal record in mind, Ankara’s concerns for morality and norms ring hollow and seem self-contradictory. Steven Cook, writing for Foreign Policy, addressed such moral contradictions in a recent op-ed.

Not long ago, Turkey’s intelligence operatives, in cooperation with local security agency, conducted a bold operation in Moldova to snatch a group of teachers linked with a civil society movement critical of President Erdogan’s rule.

Here a question emerges. Where did the Saudi regime get such confidence to push the boundaries of handling with critics with that extreme path? The question appears more pertinent after bearing Turkey’s similar operations in mind. It is no exaggeration, after all, to meditate that it was Ankara’s brutal clampdown on opponents at home and abroad with all means available that would have encouraged Riyadh to execute the murder or steered the disappearance act in its consulate in Turkey, but not somewhere else.

In this respect, Turkey’s own practices might plausibly have emboldened Saudi Arabia. Turkey used its own embassy in Kosovo to spirit Gulen-affiliated teachers away from the country. Similar methods also took place in Ukraine, Pakistan, Malaysia and Gabon where Turkey’s diplomatic compounds served as launchpads for conducting operations. Both Ankara’s use of its diplomatic facilities as a cover to disguise its intelligence operations and the disappearance of a journalist in Saudi Consulate in Istanbul mark a new step in countries’ zealous haunt for critics living abroad.

For dissidents, as Cook and all other commentators opined, the message is disheartening and worrisome. Nowhere is safe for free-minded and critical people. The whole world, especially the Western countries with strong democratic traditions, must lend additional voice to condemn, denounce and criticize the disappearance of the Saudi journalist at a diplomatic compound.

Unless the whole world unites in their strong condemnation, the Istanbul incident would set a terrible precedent for future behaviors of autocratic governments in dealing with dissident citizens abroad.

In conclusion, an act of crackdown, overseas operations to target dissidents abroad and the use of diplomatic compounds for such operations would no doubt set an example or a source of inspiration for other authoritarian regimes to follow through. In Istanbul, all contours of such a possibility were abundantly present and pointed. To stop this learning process through copy-past practices from one another’s authoritarian playbook, a collective international response and cooperation is a must, and a long overdue effort that is urgently needed to be employed.

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Persecuting the future: The child victims of Turkey’s purge under Erdogan’s Regime

Children struggle in the prison of Turkey.
The current panel execution law No:5275 reads” imprisonment is adjourned for women who are pregnant or who have not passed 6 months since birth”.
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The mothers of 668 babies in jail committed no offense, they are not proven guilty of the offense, and their indictments are not written…

668 children in Turkish Jails… %64 of them are under the age of three…
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International Bar Association Raises Judicial Independence in Turkey to UN

09/28/2018

International Bar Association Raises Judicial Independence in Turkey to UN

In a joint submission with two other groups, the International Bar Association (IBA) raised the issue of independence of judges and judicial independence in Turkey to a special rapporteur from the United Nations.

The dismal state of rule of law and the judiciary in Turkey continues to attract attention from relevant international bodies. In cooperation with the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and the Law Society of England and Wales, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) submitted a report to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the independence of Judges and Lawyers.

The report mostly focuses on the collapse of the rights and protections regarding the legal profession in a steady way since 2010. But, according to the study, the situation concerns Turkey’s judiciary, judicial independence and other legal rights have dramatically been shredded and worsened since the failed 2016 coup. Both during and after the state of emergency, members of judiciary faced political crackdown and imprisonment en masse.

“Prior to the failed attempt, the Turkish government had been increasingly interfering with, and exercising undue influence over, the legal profession using adverse constitutional and legislative reforms together with systematic attacks against judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other legal professionals,” the study noted.

Since the failed coup, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has only sharpened its clampdown on its social and political opponents, as well as members of the judiciary.

Thousands of military officials, police officers, diplomats, academics, teachers, judges and prosecutors have been dismissed over coup terrorism-related charges with little evidence.

To this date, the report stated that “4,279 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed.”

“Five hundred and ninety lawyers have been arrested, 1,546 prosecuted and 181 convicted.”

Resource:
https://twitter.com/IBAHRI/status/1045312267762487297

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