Emrah Çelik had to leave her job as a teacher at a Quran school because of her postpartum problems. During August of 2016, a month after the failed coup attempt, her husband Halil Çelik was taken into custody for involvement in the coup attempt and being sympathizer of the Hizmet Movement. Emrah Çelik was also detained two weeks later for the same charges. Their three children was brought to the Child Protection Agency. The children’s uncle later became their guardian and takes cares of them now. The children are allowed to meet their parents who reside in two separate prisons for 10 minutes every two months. There are thousands of families like the Çelik family whose rights are violated and are imprisoned with no evidence.
Mesut Dinç, who worked as office secretary at a Courthouse, became a target of the inhumane operations carried out against sympathizers of the Hizmet Movement. Dinç was detained and later arrested after the failed coup-attempt. The AKP regime used failed coup as an excuse to fire Dinç from his job. Dinç, who did not participate in the coup attempt in any way, spent 3 months in prison under bad conditions. He was able to get out of prison by taking advantage of effective remorse law. Dinç could not find a job upon his release from prison and Dinç started to suffer from depression. He got Multiple Sclerosis disease due to extreme stress and grief caused by his unemployment, forced “confession” due to effective remorse law, and the pressure other social problems. Dinç passed away on January 10th, 2018 as his disease progressed and exacerbated. He has left behind his wife and 3-year-old girl.
A private who spent 11 months in prison over his alleged coup involvement has been charged TL 34 million [$9.5 million] in compensation for the damages to the Ankara Police Headquarters on the night of July 15, 2016, according to a columnist.
“My brother was released 5 months ago and he ultimately found a job with a minimum wage and started looking an apartment to rent. But his banking account had been emptied. On top of it, he seemed to have TL 34 million in debt, where did that come from? We asked our lawyers and people around. It has turned out that the government made a decision. Following the decision to charge coup plotters for the pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages given during the coup, the state institutions calculated their damages item by item,” Posta columnist Yazgulu Aldogan cited a letter from a Twitter user.
Aldogan also shared a screenshot of the soldier’s banking details captured from a bank’s mobile app.
“[It seems that] attachment warrants were issued for coup suspects. Newly recruited soldiers who have yet to hold an arm and who have been on trial in Ankara Police Headquarters case spent 11 months in prison before being released, and now they face millions of dollars of debt. Hundreds of soldiers will get their earnings seized until the trials are completed and they are cleared of the charges. For the same reason, they may not find jobs, nobody will hire them and they will be subject to hunger. Is that fair?” she maintained.
Pro-government media outlets reported on Dec 4 that state-run Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) head Muhittin Gülal sent a notice to all state institutions on Nov 14, asking them to calculate their losses stemmed between July 15, 2016 to Oct 31, 2017.
“Legal steps will be taken against people and institutions affiliated with the FETO/PDY organization to at least compensate the
material costs of this damage,” the notice added.
Turkish government accuses the Gulen movement of masterminding the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and calls it FETO/PDY terror organization. The movement denies coup and terror accusations.
Some 150,000 have lost their jobs, 130,000 have been detained and 60,000 arrested over Gulen links so far.
Nearly 1,000 companies with a total value of $12 billion in assets have been seized and then transferred to TMSF July 15, 2016.
The companies in question were mostly targeted over their links to the movement.
A Turkish human rights lawyer has reported the torture of his brother under custody of anti-terror police in the southeastern city of Şanlıurfa, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Monday.
The Şanlıurfa branch of the Human Rights Association (İHD) is to submit evidence from İlhan Öngör, who is the co-chair of the Adana branch of İHD, to a prosecutor and ask for an investigation into what happened to his brother, Mahmut Öngör, in police custody.
“Physical torture was carried out: electrocution, bastinado, beatings, etc.” he wrote in his submission to the association.
According to a report by online news outlet Ahval, İlhan Anger has stated that “He cannot use his left hand from the wrist down. His nose is covered in wounds and there are scars across different parts of his body. There is extreme bruising above the left part of his groin. The scars resemble those made through electrocution. He struggles to talk and his entire body shakes.
“As the meeting was carried out under police supervision, my brother could not talk freely. When he tried to talk, his teeth rattled and he could not talk due to the pain from his injuries. He has experienced intensive insults and psychological violence.
“My brother was tortured due to using his right to remain silent when he was previously arrested to give a statement at the police station.
“Despite all this, my brother has not been brought to a doctor. His arrest and torture continue.”
A Kurdish-language audio library, opened specifically for disabled children in 2014, has been shut down after the government seized the administration of the Diyarbakir Municipality over terror charges.
Diyarbakir Municipality’s Social Services Unit established a web portal for the audio library where children’s stories were available to listen in Kurmanji, Dimilki and Sorani dialects of the Kurdish language.
“All institutions that used to provide service in social and cultural fields were closed after the government appointed trustees to the municipality. The employees working at such organizations were either dismissed or transferred to unrelated branches. The audio library was affected in the face of this cultural genocide as well. Access was banned to our online archive that we had earlier made huge efforts to establish for the disabled children,” Mustafa Demir, the library’s former supervisor told Mezopotamya news agency.
Like many of his colleagues, Demir was also removed from his job following the seizure of the municipality.
Turkish government has stepped up political pressure on Kurdish minority in recent months, seizing Kurdish-run municipalities and arresting their mayors. Dozens of trustees have been appointed by the Interior Ministry to mostly pro-Kurdish municipalities in Turkey’s Southeast, replacing the elected mayors and municipal council members. Pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party’s (HDP) co-leader and former presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas has been also behind bars for some time.
One of Turkey’s leading broadcast journalists Cuma Ulus has been languishing behind bars for 482 days over social media messages that were posted by others.
Turkish public prosecutor included a retweeted message sent by a news portal P24’s campaign to support journalists who were being tried with a hashtag “#BenGazeteciyim #GazetecilikSuçDeğildir [#IamJournalist #Journalismisnotcrime] as evidence of membership to an alleged terror group.
Cuma Ulus, 42-year-old journalist, had worked as the managing director of critical Erzincan TV network until the government shut it down in July 2016. When he learned that his name was mentioned among dozens of journalists whose detentions were ordered, Ulus turned himself into a police station in İstanbul on July 25, 2016. The police raided his home early in the morning but could not find him because he was not home at the time.
Ulus was formally arrested and placed in notorious Silivri Prison on July 29, 2017, over dubious terror charges and assertion that he poses a flight risk. The court ignored the fact that Ulus voluntarily surrendered himself to the police when he could, in fact, flee the country. He faces up to 15 years jail sentence if convicted.
He was able to learn about the evidence of terror charges against him only after seven months later when the indictment was accepted by an İstanbul court.
The politically motivated indictment failed to present any solid evidence against him. Instead, the prosecutor included social media posts, a text of remarks to a news agency and a bank deposit book. His son’s enrollment in a school affiliated with the civic Gülen movement is also mentioned in the indictment as an evidence for Ulus’ membership of “FETÖ”, a hoax terror organization that was fabricated by the regime of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to persecute government critics.
Social media posts in the indictment that were presented as evidence of trumped-up terror charges include 22 retweets and 3 tweets. One of the posts Ulus retweeted was sent by a news portal, P24, which kicked off a campaign for tried journalists with hashtags of #IamJournalist and #Journalismisnotcrime.
Ulus retweeted a message by a veteran journalist Derya Sazak on July 8, 2016, in which Sazak slammed criticisms against exiled journalists who faced arrest warrants. That was also included in the indictment.
Another farcical evidence is the text of his remarks to Cihan news agency when Millet daily, in which Ulus was the coordinator, was raided by the police on October 28, 2015. The government unlawfully seized critical İpek Media Group that published Millet daily and appointed trustees in order to turn the prestigious media outlet into a mouthpiece of Erdoğan. The police attacked and detained a number of journalists who were gathering peacefully in front of the building to protest the unlawful seizure.
Ulus commented to Cihan news agency that this was a dark day for Turkey and he had nothing but a pen. He told how the police got inside and broke the doors and windows of the office.
“I have been a journalist for 21 years. Today a police officer handed my dismissal notice. I experience such a thing for the first time in my life,” Ulus added.
This statement appeared in the indictment as evidence of spreading terrorist propaganda.
Ulus appeared before judges for the first time on March 27, 2017. He started his testimony by underlining that he has been in jail for saying that journalism is not a crime.
Ulus asked the panel if he should have said the otherwise.
“I am asking prosecutor to tell me about what my prohibited act or conduct was? He simply replies, ‘I tweeted and made a statement’. This must be a joke!” said Ulus.
He also expressed his confusion about why he was tried over the retweeted messages whereas the people who posted the messages in the first place faced no legal action if there was a suspicion that a crime was committed.
Ulus concluded his testimony by talking about the last evidence against him, a Bank Asya deposit book which police found at his home.
According the courts under Erdoğan regime, if suspect has a bank account at Bank Asya that is affiliated with the Gülen movement, which was one of the three banks with the highest liquidity in Turkey, that is also considered to be criminal evidence although the bank was duly authorized and licensed by the government until it was seized. The government unlawfully took over the bank on February 4, 2015, contrary to strict statutory banking regulations against such a drastic move.
Ulus told he opened a bank account at Bank Asya in order to pay tuition fees for his son’s private school.
The hearings in the case of Ulus and 24 other journalists lasted for five days. To the surprise of many, the court decided to release 21 journalists including Ulus at the completion of first hearings.
The moment after the court’s decision was announced, pro-government journalists including ones from Aydın Doğan’s media group, pro-Erdoğan trolls and figures in social media kicked off a campaign questioning the journalists’ release.
Before the court’s judgment to release journalists pending trial was executed, the government brought new charges. Thirteen journalists were told a new investigation on serious allegations of crime was launched against them despite the fact that they had been in prison for 9 months already.
New detention orders issued and they were taken to the police station from the prison cell in a new cycle of processing that led them back to prison again with newly added charges. Ulus was one of them.
The other 8 journalists who were ordered to be released were re-arrested after the prosecutor challenged the release order and the judge issued a new arrest warrant within hours without even examining their cases and hearing the defendants’ arguments. Kaya, unfortunately, was one of these 8 journalists.
A few days later three judges who decided to release 21 jailed journalists were suspended by the Turkey’s judicial council the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK).
Ulus was re-arrested on April 15, 2017. The court ruled continuation of his arrest at two successive hearings on April 27, 2017, and July 27, 2017. The next trial will be held on December 4, 2017.
Ulus started his media career as an intern at İhlas news agency in 1995. He worked at numerous TV stations and newspapers owned by different outlets; Kanal 9, CNN Turk, Kanal 7, Ülke TV, Kanaltürk, Tv8, Sabah daily and TGRT Haber.
He was fired at Habertürk, a pro-government TV station after he covered news on the biggest corruption investigations that incriminated cabinet ministers and President Erdoğan’s family members at the end of 2013.
After being unemployed for some time, he got an offer from a newly launched daily, Millet, run by İpek Media Group which was critical to Erdoğan regime. He became the news coordinator of the daily in 2014. However, that did not last long either since the government seized his media group on the eve of the first anniversary of the paper’s birth. He was the first one who was dismissed by the government-appointed trustees without any compensation and severance allowance.
Ulus did not quit and continued doing journalism. He joined a modest satellite TV station Can Erzincan TV with his colleagues who were also fired by the government.
Can Erzincan TV was also shut down by the government amid controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, as a part of Erdoğan’s escalating crackdown on the critical media.
Ulus is married and has two sons.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the SCF has shown that 256 journalists and media workers are in jails as of November 21, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 230 are arrested pending trial, only 26 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.
The Supreme Court of Appeals President Ismail Rustu Cirit said there are 6.9 million people who are considered as suspects in judicial investigations according to 2016 data.
“According to judicial record statistics in 2016, there are nearly 6.9 million suspects in our 80-million country. It means 8 percent of the Turkey’s population are suspects, being subject to first-instance investigations,” Cirit said during an Istanbul symposium on Thursday.
More than 130,000 people have passed through police custody over links to the July 15, 2016 coup attempt over the past one and a half year meanwhile 60,000 of them were put in pretrial detention.
Fact Sheet State of Emergency Measures in Turkey
The EU report noted that following the failed coup attempt of July 15 and under the state of emergency rule, this type of state intervention has become more widespread.
“Several private companies, private foundations and universities were seized on the basis of alleged links with the Gülen movement.”
The Turkish-language Zaman newspaper has decided to halt its operations in Germany after its readers received threats over their subscriptions to the paper, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported on Friday.
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Date: January 18, 2018
Ayşe Ateş, an accountant dismissed from her job due to the statutory decrees in Turkey, gave birth today. Despite ...
- Bitter story of the Çelik family
Date: January 16, 2018
Emrah Çelik had to leave her job as a teacher at a Quran school because of her postpartum problems. ...
- Mesut Dinç, who was exposed to AKP's persecution, lost his life due to extreme sorrow
Date: January 16, 2018
Mesut Dinç, who worked as office secretary at a Courthouse, became a target of the inhumane operations carried out ...
- AST Turkey's Human Rights Violations Weekly Jan 15
Date: January 15, 2018
Download as pdf: AST_Turkey's Human Rights Violations Weekly_Jan 8 Turkey's Human Rights Violations