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Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay should be immediately released

Amnesty International Orange County:

On January 11, 2018, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled in a criminal case that Mehmet Altan and fellow journalist Sahin Alpay’s rights were being violated by pre-trial detention and ruled that they should be released, nut the 27th High Criminal Court in Istanbul declined to implement the Constitutional Court decision.

Following the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, and the imposition of a state of emergency, over 180 news outlets have been shut down under laws passed by presidential decree. There are now at least 148 writers, journalists, and media workers in prison, making Turkey the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.

Prof. Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay are only two of the hundreds of victims of this horrific violation of democratic values and principles within Turkey.

Mehmet Altan, the Faculty of Economics at Istanbul University since 1986, was also a journalist working in the daily Sabah (1987-2006) and worked as an editor-in-chief in the daily Star until 2012. He has been dismissed from his newspaper because of the government’s pressures on free media.

Sahin Alpay, faculty in Bahcesehir University since 2001, was arrested in 2016. He worked as a writer and editor for Cumhuriyet, Sabah, and Milliyet Newspapers. He directed the “Intellectual Perspective” a weekly program at Turkish CNN and he was a columnist at the now closed-down Zaman Newspaper. He also hosted a program, which aired on the now closed-down Mehtap TV channel.

In September 2016, Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay were detained as part of a wave of arrests of thinkers and writers following the failed July 2016 coup attempt. Arrested for allegedly giving “subliminal messages” to announce the coup on a television roundtable discussion show, Mr. Altan was charged with attempting to overthrow the “constitutional order”, “interfering with the work of the national assembly”, and “interfering with the work of the government” through violence or force.

Amnesty Orange County call the authorities in Turkey to respect and implement the ruling of the Turkish Constitutional Court for Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay to be released immediately alongside all the other journalists and writers, including Mehmet Altan’s brother Ahmet Altan who is also among the incarcerated writers and journalists.

We urge everyone to take action. Please sign the petition linked below: https://www.change.org/p/turkey-mehmet-altan-and-sahin-alpay-should-be-immediately-released?recruiter=841476427&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

This petition will be delivered to:
Turkey Consulate of Turkey in Los Angeles
Embassy of Turkey, Washington, D.C.
TURKEY MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

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It is high time for the European Court of Human Rights to step in!

Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The 3-month State of the Emergency regime which was declared immediately after the coup attempt (21/07/2016) by the Cabinet “to preserve the democratic order” has since been extended for five times.Despite calls by the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the Venice Commission and numerous human rights institutions for the Turkish government to end it, the State of Emergency Regime remains in effect. In defiance of its purpose, The Turkish government has subversively used the State of Emergency Regime against the country’s democratic parliamentary system, the rule of law and human rights.

During the state of emergency, so far;
-28 deputies have been taken into custody, duly elected mayors of 90 different towns/cities have been removed from office,
-61,247 individuals, including 16 deputies, two members of the Constitutional Court, 193 members of the Court of Cassation, 2360 judges and prosecutors, 571 lawyers and 308 journalists have been arrested,
-As of today, a total of 128,998 people have been taken into custody for terrorism-related offenses (being the members of an armed terrorist organization. 100 people a day are being arrested on average.

With thirty different Emergency Decree Law, which is exempt from judicial review;
-146,713 public servants including 4463 judges and prosecutors, 8693 academics, 6687 doctors and paramedics 44,392 teachers have been dismissed from their jobs,
-3003 private hospitals, schools, student dorms and universities, 187 media outlets, 1,412 associations and 139 charities have been shut down, and their assets have been confiscated,
-1,020 private companies have been seized.

On the face of these human rights breaches, European Court of Human Rights is the ultimate hope of the victims. Yet, the ECHR has been consistently refusing applications on the grounds that the domestic remedies in Turkey is not yet consummated.In order to prevent conviction at the ECHR, the Turkish government instituted the Constitutional Court as an additional court of appeal for individuals and established a highly unproductive Commission on Statutory Decrees Under State of Emergency. Neither institution helps the victims.

Only last week, four separate criminal courts of the first instance have refused to implement an order of the Turkish Constitutional Court to release veteran journalist Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay:
-On 11 January 2018, the Turkish Constitutional Court decided that the detention of journalists Sahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan were unlawful and that it constituted a violation of their rights protected by both the Turkish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights,
-On the same day, Istanbul 13th and 26th High Penal Courts refused to release Altan and Alpay on the grounds that the decisions (of the TCC) have not yet been published in the Official Gazette,
-On 12 January 2018, Istanbul 13th and 26th High Penal Courts declined release of Altan and Alpay once again on the grounds that the TCC exceeded its authority as specified in the Constitution itself,
-On 15 January 2018, Istanbul 14th and 27th High Penal Courts turned down objections from the lawyers of Altan and Alpay that the decision of the TCC had to be implemented without delay and ordered their detention to continue.

In the light of the above, there is without a doubt no effective domestic remedy in Turkey and the judicial hierarchy as determined by the Turkish Constitution has been disrupted.

We, therefore, urge The European Court of Human Rights to reconsider its current view that the Turkish Constitutional Court offers an effective domestic remedy and start without further delay reconsidering applications brought by thousands of victims against Turkey.

It is high time for the European Court of Human Rights to step in!

We urge everyone to take action. Please sign the petition linked below:
https://www.change.org/p/the-european-court-of-human-rights-the-council-of-europe-it-is-high-time-for-the-european-court-of-human-rights-to-step-in?recruiter=735343625&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_twitter_responsive

This petition will be delivered to:
The European Court of Human Rights
The Council of Europe

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STATUTORY DECREE NO. 696

After the July 15th failed-coup attempt, the Turkish state has engaged in many illegal activities. The Erdogan regime passed several statutory decrees including the Decree number 675, which is mentioned in detail below, to suppress fear of persecution its supporters possess and encourage them to continue their work. As a matter of fact, the statutory decree mentioned provides impunity to the government officials who have acted in an illegal manner toward masses demonized by the government aided media, in the direction of Erdogan regime’s policies. Nonetheless, it protects them from being prosecuted for any crimes they commit.

Currently, Erdogan regime has issued a new statutory decree (KHK) which indicates that all citizens, regardless of whether they are public servant, are entitled to any kind of intervention against those who are demonized and labeled as terrorist by the regime. Accordingly, any person or group considered to be a terrorist in the eyes of the government may be deprived of all rights recognized as universal human rights. Furthermore, anyone who unfairly treats these labeled individuals, without any authorization or court decision, will get impunity from legal or criminal penalties.

The new arrangement is such a dangerous law that can cause execution of a judge who acquits someone who has been unfairly judged as a member of a terrorist organization because doing so would seem as if the judge was supporting the terrorist organization.

Likewise, any person or group who is a terrorist in the eyes of the government can become a victim of any person who sees themselves as a supporter of the Erdogan regime.

To conclude, this arrangement has made lawlessness lawful and severely harms the independence of the Turkish judiciary. With this arrangement, everyone who receives government support becomes a judge, a prosecutor and everyone also become a legal victim.

Read AST’s statement on the Decree Law: http://silencedturkey.org/statement-statutory-decrees-no695-696

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

U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senators
State Representatives
State Senators

Find your members of Congress:https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members

American Bar Association
https://www.americanbar.org/about_the_aba/contact.html

Federal Bar Association
http://www.fedbar.org/Menu/Contact-Us.aspx

Supreme Court Bar Association
https://www.supremecourt.gov/contact/contactus.aspx

Download sample statement for Bar associations as a word document: AST_Letter_Decree_Bar

Download sample statement for members of Congress as a word document: AST_Letter_Decree_Representatives

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PROTECTING ERDOGAN DISSIDENTS IN THE U.S

Advocates of Silenced Turkey urges The U.S. authorities to take necessary precautions to protect Erdogan dissidents in the U.S

Since the attempted coup of July 15, 2016, staunch supporters of President Erdogan of Turkey, in Turkish politics, media and also public sphere have engaged in threatening and hate speech to silence dissidents in other countries including the U.S. Journalists, academics and businessmen who have been labeled with the Movement have been the main target of this threats.

On December 4 2017, former speechwriter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Aydın Ünal threatened Turkish journalists in exile with extrajudicial killings, in his column published in the pro-Erdoğan Yeni Şafak daily.

The AKP deputy listed the names of journalists to be targeted: Ekrem Dumanlı, Adem Yavuz Arslan, Celil Sağır, Bülent Keneş, Abdülhamit Bilici, Erhan Başyurt, Emre Uslu, Akın İpek and Can Dündar.

“You carry out an operation against Turkey with judges and prosecutors, you give logistical support to this judicial theatre with information and documents that you have stolen through espionage, and your men here [in Turkey] and in the world will live in peace?” Ünal threatened.

In another article published on Nov. 27 in Yeni Şafak, Ünal threatened sympathizers of the Gülen movement in Turkey, saying tougher days lie ahead as a result of the case against Reza Zarrab.

Some of the names listed by Aydin Unal are known to be located in the U.S. Ekrem Dumanli, Adem Yavuz Aslan, Abdulhamit Bilici, Emre Uslu have been living in the U.S and openly carry out their works with their articles and YouTube videos and live Periscope broadcastings especially focusing on Turkish politics and ongoing persecutions.

Ekrem Dumanli who was targeted by Aydin Ünal was previously an editor-in-chief of Zaman Daily and fled Turkey after the controversial coup attempt in 2016. On October 30, 2016, Ragip Soylu, the Washington correspondent of Daily Sabah, which is used for propaganda and spying activities by the Turkish Intelligence in the U.S posted secretly taken photos of Mr. Dumanli. It should be considered as an important indication that Mr. Dumanli was under the surveillance of Turkish Intelligence in the U.S. (https://twitter.com/ragipsoylu/status/792736573217439745)

Dr. Emrullah Uslu, the former columnist for Today’s Zaman is one of the leading figures that continuously has been threatened by the the Turkish Government affiliated figures. He is a full-time professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at VIU.

Following President Erdoğan’s statement on September 19, 2016 that ‘no country is safe for Gülen movement sympathizers, the pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) media has targeted Emre Uslu, along with some other journalists such as Adem Yavuz Aslan, Tuncay Opçin, Aydogan Vatandas and Dr. Atilla Yayla by publishing their secretly taken photos in different parts of the U.S. (https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/09/19/no-country-safe-gulen-sympathizers-erdogan-says/)

Adem Yavuz Aslan, a well-known Turkish investigative journalist, who was threatened in Aydin Ünal’s article has become the main focus of these threats when he followed the ongoing federal trial in New York where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accused of personally approving a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran. Adem Yavuz Aslan states that he was informed by some colleagues that he might be a target of an assassination attempt because of his coverage of the trial.

During his coverage of the trial, he was continuously harassed by the Anatolian Agency which secretly took his footage and published it Turkish media as if he is a criminal.

Cem Küçük, another staunch supporter of Erdogan and mouthpiece of Turkish Intelligence has also threatened the Turkish journalists and academics in the U.S.

‘People who are well known by the public such as, Ekrem Dumanli, Emre Uslu, Tuncay Opcin, and Seref Ali Tekalan will be grabbed by the nape of their neck and taken to Turkey. When they wake up whey will find themselves in the hands of the Turkish police and the court. Those days are not too far away.’

‘We will see the end of those who say, ‘I am safe in the US,’ ‘They cannot do anything to me.’ Wherever you flee, the Turkish state will bring you back. Many of your residences have been located. Your homes and workplaces are known. Even the countries where you demanded asylum will not protect you but will extradite you. It is soon. Wait…’ added Küçük. (https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/20/pro-govt-journalist-turkey-to-abduct-gulen-followers-in-us-europe/)

Serif Ali Tekalan, who is threatened by Cem Küçük is a medical professor who took charge of North American University, based in Houston, Texas, early in 2017. He has been target of baseless allegations and smear campaigns by the pro-government media in Turkey since then.

Tuncay Opcin, an investigative journalist who now resides in Houston is another well-known Turkish journalist who continuously has received death threats from figures like Cem Kucuk. Opcin says that the threats and the surveillance against him started after the coup attempt. He states that the first surveillance against occurred on Sept. 11 in 2016 at a shopping mall. The lengthy surveillance job against him made him think it was “a professional intelligence and surveillance job.”

Opcin chalks his targeting to his intense criticism of Erdogan’s government and his work as an investigative journalist. Opcin also says that he is disappointed about CPJ and Amnesty International since they did not pay attention to these threats and violations as expected. (http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/03/who-is-spying-on-turkish-journalists-in-the-us/)

Abdulhamit Bilici, the last editor-in-chief of Daliy Zaman before Government takeover in 2016 is another well-known journalist threatened in Aydin Unal’s article who now resides in the U.S.

While the exiled journalists and academics mentioned above were openly threatened by the Turkish Government linked figures, some other leading figures affiliated with Gulen movement in the U.S were harassed and covertly threatened by the Turkish Anatolian Agency and some other pro-government Turkish media organizations.

Pro-government Turkish Star Daily published the house photographs and addresses of Cemil Teber, Faruk Taban, Yuksel Alp Dogan, Hasan Ali Yurtsever, Burak Yeneroglu, Talha Sarac and Hakan Sukur who reside in different parts of the U.S. (http://www.star.com.tr/pazar/himmet-malikaneleri-haber-1279150/)

Besides, the threats from the Turkish media and Government affiliated figures towards the journalists and some leading participants of Hizmet Movement in the U.S, some business owners, grocery stores and even bookstores have been attacked by pro-Government groups in the U.S.

Nizam Market, a Turkish grocery store based in NJ has been attacked and verbally threatened by a Turkish government supporter on July, 2016.

Ant Bookstore, based in NJ has also been targeted and attacked several times in 2016 and 2017. Dr. Huseyin Senturk states that they detected several spying and surveillance activities in the store which were conducted by some Turkish nationals. He also says that the store was attacked and costumers were verbally threatened by a Turkish government supporter adding that the windowpanes of the store were also broken by some unknown figures.

On November 7 2017, Vakkas Doğantekin, a pro-government columnist and the president of the California-based Turkish community organization, TURCA, has attacked a Turkish speaking ice-cream seller affiliated with Hizmet Movement by calling him “terrorist” and “Jewish dog,”.

Dogantekin’s bio on TURCA’s website says he is a California resident for over 10 years and a freelance journalist contributing to Al Jazeera. He wrote at least three Op-Eds in 2017 for the pro-Erdogan daily newspaper, Daily Sabah.

Conclusion:

Considering all these particular incidents, some journalists, academics and NGO directors, businessmen affiliated with Hizmet Movement in the U.S has been continuously targeted by Turkish Government linked figures. The U.S federal and local security authorities should be aware of the fact that Turkish Government doesn’t function and operate as a regular democratic state respecting the international laws and principles. Therefore, it is safe to analyze that Turkish Government can try some undercover operations by using mob groups or militia forces trained by the Turkish Intelligence overseas here in the U.S as well. Advocates of Silenced Turkey strongly urges U.S security forces to take all necessary precautions to protect the lives of the people who might be in danger.

For more detailed information about these risks, please look at the report prepared by the Advocates of Silenced Turkey on the current and possible threats supporters of the Gulen Movement face abroad titled “I Cannot Say We Are Absolutely Safe Even Abroad.” Read more here: http://silencedturkey.org/protection-of-hizmet-participants

Download the report on threats supporters of Gulen Movement face abroad as pdf: AST_Report_Threats_Gulen-Movement

We urge everyone to take action. Please express your views or send attached letter to your two senators and representative to protect dissidents of Erdogan in the U.S.

Find your representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
Find your senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/

Download the sample statement as pdf: AST_Letter_Threats_Gulen-Movement

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STATUTORY DECREE NO. 696 AND THE DEMISE OF RULE OF LAW

Since the July 15 alleged coup attempt, which President Erdogan defined as a blessing from God, Turkish democracy and justice have continuously deteriorated every day. Within the 24 hours after the alleged coup attempt, the Turkish state that was future-promising and showing signs of being able to compete with countries such as those of the European Union changed drastically. In less than 24 hours after the July 15th, Turkey woke up the widespread chaos; unresolved crimes, kidnappings, coffee shop raids, corruption and many illegal acts that would are accustomed to Third World Countries.

After the July 15th failed-coup attempt, the state has engaged in many illegal activities. The Erdogan regime passed several statutory decrees including the Decree number 675, which is mentioned in detail below, to suppress fear of persecution its supporters possess and encourage them to continue their work. As a matter of fact, the statutory decree mentioned provides impunity to the government officials who have acted in an illegal manner toward masses demonized by the government aided media, in the direction of Erdogan regime’s policies. Nonetheless, it protects them from being prosecuted for any crimes they commit.

Currently, Erdogan regime has issued a statutory decree (KHK) which indicates that all citizens, regardless of whether they are public servant, are entitled to any kind of intervention against those who are demonized and labeled as terrorist by the regime. Accordingly, any person or group considered to be a terrorist in the eyes of the government may be deprived of all rights recognized as universal human rights. Furthermore, anyone who unfairly treats these labeled individuals, without any authorization or court decision, will get impunity from legal or criminal penalties.

Turkey, once shown as a model country for the Middle East, is being rebuilt by the Erdogan regime which is taking conscientious steps to change the state structure and amplify social polarization.

As stated above, on November 8, 2016, the AKP regime issued the 675 numbered Decree Law and tried to cover up crimes committed by civil servants on July 15th. According to this decree: m.37/1:”Within the scope of suppression of the acts of coup d’etat and terrorist acts carried out on 07/15/2016 and their continuing actions, the persons who make decisions or implements measures, and who take part in all kinds of judicial and administrative measures, are immune from legal, administrative, financial and criminal liability within the scope of the decree laws issued during the state of emergency. ”

The following provision has been added to the Decree Law No. 675, with the Decree Law No. 696. According to this:

It is indicated that “Regardless of whether they carry an official position or whether they fulfill an official duty, the first clause shall apply to those who act within the scope of suppression of acts of coup and terrorism carried out on 15 July 2016 and their continuing actions”.

According to the new regulation, regardless of an individual carrying an official position or irrespective of whether or not they have fulfilled an official duty, the persons acting in the context of the suppression of terrorist acts and their continuing actions on July 15th shall have immunity from legal, administrative, financial and penal responsibilities.

The decree law will allow individuals who may not be an official, someone in the law enforcement such as military or police, to take actions and measures without considering their legal, penal, judicial, or administrative consequences. This is a clear violation of the main criteria of fighting crimes, such as being moderate and following principles such as lawfulness. With this arrangement, people have a legal basis to perceive themselves as police officials, which is not possible under a normal legal system. As a result, individuals in the society who feel the government’s support will be able to act with unlimited power.

In a country where it is a crime to even torture a street dog, the legal right to kill any human in any inhumane manner on the basis of unfounded accusations illustrates the extremity of this arbitrary regulation. Accordingly, under the protection of the government, individuals can be a judge, prosecutor and executioner at the same time, and the treat anyone as they wish without the pressure of any time constraints.

Since the arrangement issued inherently protects any kind of actions taken, victims whose rights will be violated will not have any right to file appeals regarding the violations. As a matter of fact, rights have been granted that would not have been granted to anyone or be recognized in any legal system in any country governed by democracy with the noted decree law.

The new arrangement is a declaration of the demise of rule of law, and its replacement with a new state order. In recent times in Turkey, the concepts of acts of terror and terrorism have ceased to be clad in terms of legality. These terms are now merely political in nature. A new concept as ‘unarmed terrorist organization’ has been introduced the courtrooms in Turkey. In the noted decree-law, the concepts related to acts of terror or the term, “continuation of acts of terror”, has not been clarified. This issue is the greatest threat to the hundreds of thousands of people who are subject to or potentially will face unfair trials in the country.

The expression of “suppression of the continuity of the actions” mentioned in the decree-law stipulates that any kind of intervention in the name of suppressing actions regarded as a continuation of actions related to the coup attempt and acts of terror cannot be prosecuted. Furthermore, “the persons who, within the context of the decree laws issued during the state of emergency, makes decisions and acts according to their duties”, whether official or civilian, are given the right to intervene on matters related to individuals whom they label as a terrorist or affiliated with terrorist attacks.

According to this, when someone who has been purged with decree-laws gets in touch with someone else in a similar situation for any reason, they are accepted to potentially have a connection to the July 15th coup attempt.

In this case, since there is no authority to object to the uncountable unlawfulness that may arise, individuals that resorts to inhumane or illegal actions may continue their lives from where they have left it without facing any kind of legal action. Thus, if someone confiscates another’s car, the car owner will not be able to ask “Why did you take it?” Because the regulation in question blocks all kinds of legal initiatives.

Likewise, terrorist organizations close to the current government, mafia-like communities, and paramilitary organizations will get immunity from prosecution and will not be held responsible for their actions. These are privileges that even the state do not possess.

In this context, it is clearly seen that the AKP government seeks to establish a Turkish version of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Notions related to Democracy and human rights can be read in Turkey, yet these concepts will no longer be beyond imagination.

The new arrangement is such a dangerous law that can cause execution of a judge who acquits someone who has been unfairly judged as a member of a terrorist organization because doing so would seem as if the judge was supporting the terrorist organization.

Likewise, any person or group who is a terrorist in the eyes of the government can become a victim of any person who sees themselves as a supporter of the Erdogan regime.

To conclude, this arrangement has made lawlessness lawful and severely harms the independence of the Turkish judiciary. With this arrangement, everyone who receives government support becomes a judge, a prosecutor and everyone also become a legal victim.

Download the statement as pdf: Statutory Decree No. 696 and The Demise of Rule of Law

Download the statement in Turkish as pdf: AST_696 sayılı KHK ve hukuk devletin çöküşü

NEWS ARTICLES ON THIS SUBJECT:

Erdogan Law Stirs Fears of Legalized Extra-Judicial Violence
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest emergency decree risks inciting political violence by giving legal cover to pro-government vigilantes, opposition parties and legal authorities warned. The order, declared in the Official Gazette on Sunday, grants sweeping immunity for acting against terrorism or attempts to overthrow the government. Civilians won’t face legal consequences for actions against last year’s coup attempt — or more importantly — anything that could be considered its “continuation,” the decree said.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-25/erdogan-decree-stokes-fears-of-legalized-extra-judicial-violence

Immunity to civilians thwarting coup stirs debate in Turkey
“A new state of emergency decree released on Dec. 24 providing immunity to civilians who fought against last year’s coup attempt and terrorist acts that followed it has triggered a fresh debate in Turkey. Metin Feylzioğlu, the head of the Bar Associations in Turkey, said such a law granting immunity to civilians who confronted the July 15 coup attempt and terrorist acts that followed it would result in “people shooting each other in the head on the streets.” “I was terrified when I inspected the decree law no. 696. I was very sad,” Feyzioğlu said.”
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/immunity-to-civilians-thwarting-coup-stirs-debate-in-turkey-124701

Erdogan decree stirs fears of legalized extrajudicial violence in Turkey
““They’ve paved the way for anyone who claims to be fighting against terrorism to slaughter everybody else,” Ozgur Ozel, a CHP parliament whip, said in televised remarks in the western province of Manisa. “They will unleash vigilantes on us in a future democratic rally and will face no charges.””
https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/12/25/erdogan-decree-stirs-fears-of-legalized-extrajudicial-violence-in-turkey.html

Images of the articles in Turkish:

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Afghanistan’s Intelligence Agency Released Four Teachers of Afghan-Turk School

NDS Releases Four Teachers of Afghan-Turk School
“Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has released four teachers of Afghan-Turk School including three Turkish and one Afghan national in Kabul, officials confirmed on Sunday. The Attorney General’s Office, however, did not elaborate on the reasons behind the detention of the teachers, but stressed that the released individuals will be under “serious” supervision of the security forces.”
https://ariananews.af/nds-releases-four-teachers-of-afghan-turk-school/

NEWS ARTICLES ON THIS SUBJECT:

http://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/fate-two-turkish-nationals-unknown
Fate of Two Turkish Nationals Unknown
The fate of two teachers – both Turkish nationals – of the Afghan-Turk school in Kabul who were detained by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) last week, remains unknown.Sources say the government has confiscated the passports of family members of the two teachers. Meanwhile, the Attorney General Office (AGO) said three teachers of Afghan-Turk schools, two Turks and one Afghan national, were freed on Sunday. Earlier the Turkish government had urged Afghanistan to hand over the teachers, but the AGO said the two Turks and one Afghan national who were freed are not on Turkish government’s list. “An order has been issued to free them and make arrangements for their safe and secure release,” AGO spokesman Jamshed Rasuli said. Parents of Afghan-Turk students have meanwhile asked the Afghan government to make clear for what allegations the teachers were detained and also to respond to questions on why the security forces raided on an Afghan-Turk school in Kabul. “We want the government to investigate NDS’s raid on an Afghan-Turk female school in Kabul,” Sediqullah Tawhidi, a member of Afghan-Turk students’ parents’ committee, said. The AGO said they are investigating the NDS raid on the Afghan-Turk school in Kabul. “The raid of the forces is under investigations to figure out if their actions were in line with the law or not,” Rasuli added.

http://ariananews.af/committee-lodges-complaint-to-ago-on-afghan-turk-school-raid-case/
Committee Lodges Complaint to AGO on Afghan-Turk School Raid Case
“The Afghan-Turk Students’ Parents Committee on Saturday submitted its complaint to the Attorney General Office over the “illegal” action of the security forces against the school in Kabul. The parents of students who were gathered at the Attorney General’s Office, urged investigation into the security forces’ raid on Afghan-Turk Girls school in Kabul.“We came here to submit our [complaint] letter, so the institutions which have taken this illegal action, get investigated,” said Yusuf Pashtun, Head of the Afghan-Turk Students’ Parents Committee.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZkgkin4ksc&feature=youtu.be
An int’l witch-hunt? ‘Four teachers working in the Afghan-Turkish schools were detained’

http://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/security-forces-detain-four-afghan-turk-school-teachers
Security Forces Detain Four Afghan-Turk School Teachers
Afghan security forces raided an Afghan-Turk female high school in Taimani area in Kabul on Tuesday evening and surrounded the school for at least three hours, students claimed.
“The National Directorate of Security operatives detained four teachers today (Tuesday) morning, who were on their way to an Afghan-Turk high school. We were informed that they were kidnapped. We thought the country’s enemies may have abducted them, but later we found out that the officers of the National Directorate Security have detained them,” said Yusuf Pashtun, member of the Afghan-Turk students’ parents association”

http://www.tolonews.com/index.php/afghanistan/parents-afghan-turk-students-lodge-complaint-against-nds
Parents Of Afghan-Turk Students To Lodge Complaint Against NDS
“Students’ parents said they will lodge complaint at the Attorney General’s Office against the National Directorate of Security (NDS) over detaining the teachers of Afghan-Turk schools.President Ghani’s spokesman says they apologize if the security forces’ act has worried the students or their parents. It is said that if Afghan government handover these individuals to Turkish government, it will be a move which happens for the first time in the country and will be an unprecedented act. Even at the end of the Second World War, Afghanistan did not accept to handover Nazi Germany diplomats to the conquerors of the war.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-afghanistan-turkey/turkish-teachers-linked-to-erdogan-foe-detained-in-afghanistan-idUKKBN1E621Z?il=0
Turkish teachers linked to Erdogan foe detained in Afghanistan
“One Afghan and three Turkish teachers linked to an organisation regarded with suspicion by the Turkish government were detained by Afghan intelligence officials on Tuesday, the organisation’s head said.The move against Afghan Turk CAG Educational NGO (ATCE), the body that runs the schools, appeared to be part of a Turkish campaign against followers of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric it accuses of being behind a coup attempt in July 2016 aimed at ousting President Tayyip Erdogan.ATCE, which says it is an independent organisation, runs schools in several cities including the capital, Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar and Herat and has been in Afghanistan since 1995.”

http://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/fate-four-afghan-turk-teachers-remains-uncertain
Fate of Four Afghan-Turk Teachers Remains Uncertain After Raid by National Directorate of Security
Parents of Afghan-Turk school on Wednesday said the fate of the four teachers of Afghan-Turk girls school who have been held by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), is unknown. The NDS officials do not want to comment on the issue. Meanwhile, former government officials have strongly criticized last night’s raid by the security forces on the school, calling it a sort of “political levy” paid by the Afghan government to the Turkish government.They said that the raid by the NDS was totally against the law and that the government is exploiting the educational institution. But deputy presidential spokesman has said that the move was not politically motived and said it is legal action.Reacting to the raid, former NDS chief has described the move unprecedented in recent years. He said that move was a shame for the government. Former government officials have said that the government leaders are using the security forces as tools for their political objectives. “It was a politically motivated and unethical move,” said former deputy minister of education Sediq Patman. Sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said that a court in Turkey had ordered the arrest of three teachers of the Afghan-Turk schools, including a Turkish restaurant owner in Kabul.The Turkish embassy in Kabul reportedly informed the Afghan government about the decision in a letter.The Turkish government has asked the Afghan government to hand over these individuals to Turkey. But there is no an agreement between Afghanistan and Turkey about the extradition of individuals between the two countries. Amid speculation about the link between the raid and President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Turkey, the presidential palace has said that the move was not linked to the trip of the president. It was action taken against some suspects. Neither the NDS nor the presidential palace is ready to comment on the fate of the teachers.But documents seen by TOLOnews reveal that the United Nations has provided asylum to one of the Turkish teachers currently in the detention of the NDS and has asked for the prevention of his extradition to Turkey.“It is a political and intelligence move which is moved forward by a certain team inside the national unity government to offer it as levy and bribe to Mr. Erdogan of Turkey,” said political analyst Asif Ashna. “The Afghan government wants to destroy the secure place of general Dostum by its move on the girls’ hostel of Afghan-Turk school and to gain the satisfaction of the Turkish republic because the Turks want these schools to be under their control,” said MP Arif Rahmani.

https://www.rt.com/newsline/412881-afghanistan-turkish-teachers-gulen/
Afghan officials detain Turkish teachers ‘linked to Gulen’ – report
“One Afghan and three Turkish teachers linked to an organization regarded with suspicion by the Turkish government were detained by Afghan intelligence officials on Tuesday, according to the head of Afghan Turk CAG Educational NGO. The move against ATCE, the body that runs the schools, appeared to be part of a Turkish campaign against followers of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric it accuses of being behind a coup attempt in July 2016, Reuters said. ATCE says it is an independent organization which runs schools in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar and Herat, and has been in Afghanistan since 1995. Numan Erdogan, the chairman of ATCE, said the men who detained the teachers presented themselves as members of the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency. President Ashraf Ghani was on his way to Istanbul on Tuesday to attend the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Summit.”

https://www.bbc.com/persian/amp/afghanistan-42328644

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Ex-NDS chief Amrullah Saleh’s strict reaction regarding police operation on the girl’s high school hostel:
“I condemn the attack on Afghan Turk girls high school, girls hostel and attempt of searching this dignified institution by the National Unity Government without any court command, legal steps or any proper legal documents. The Last time when the police forces had attacked such a hostel and our people were evident of such an event, was the first years of the Soviet occupation in which some girl students from Ayesha Durranai school were martyred and injured. From the last forty year, it’s the second time in which girls school is attacked. If there was any report on suspicious activities of someone, the responsible people should have politely requested the school administration to cooperate with them.
This institution has the proud of educating and empowering thousands of sons of this land. With operating in such a brutal way, the NUG has required to make a breaking news so that they could make a certain chain happy in the outside of our country.
In the end of WWII(world war 2), Afghanistan was even not ready to forcefully deport the Nazi diplomats and succeeded to keep it’s dignity and culture. For sure this will be a black stain engraved on the face the current government for a long time.
All of my children and descendants have studied from these schools and as one of the thousand parents, I am thankful to them.”

https://www.facebook.com/QatraTv/videos/320780471740093/
Dr. Jahantab:
“I want to refer to the main concept of the two verses that I mentioned before, it says that the problems you have In Turkey, solve them there, don’t bring them to the schools inside Afghanistan. The hadith that I read have a conceptual message to you, the reporters: cover this program, this will be the biggest jihad for you. As a PhD holder in Law and shariah, I want to recommend you to give it a vast coverage, this coverage may be the cause of your entry to Jannah. Third I am proud of my MP brother Mr. Osuli, I am proud of teacher Mr. Dadras and I am proud of Mr. Mnawi. They said the things that every Muslim should be proud of them. The thing that happened yesterday was not an ordinary situation, it hasn’t happened in the history of Afghanistan. The Pashtun tribe Khogyanai is popular for the story that a pig had entered their area and they didn’t give it to anyone else. If you read the history of king Mahmood Ghaznavi, once upon a time he had gone for a hunt, he hunts a deer but the deer goes to the land of a shepherd and falls there, the king goes to pick up the deer but the shepherd says that now the deer is in his territory and he cannot give it. The king says that I am sultan Mahmood but the shepherd denies even if it is the king. And offers the king that there are many sheep take as much as you can but don’t touch the deer. Mr mMnawi referred to some very critical truths, the thing that happened yesterday, me, as a PhD in law and sharia, from the point of Islamic views Quran, hadiths and from the point of international law and human rights the crime that occurred yesterday can be the reason for the resignation of President Ghani, CEO Abdullah Abdullah and the current government, the NDS and even the present Education minister Mr. Shinwari . Although he is a kind and brave person, but today he talked in a very week way. Respected Minister, hang the flag in a half altitude because today a historical fault happened by the government.”

https://www.facebook.com/QatraTv/videos/320793458405461/
Abdul Shakoor Daadras, Law specialist and Speaker of the Afghan Turk Parent’s Committee:
“Our president is defending Islam and defending the rights of Quds in Palestine but here people are attacking innocent girl’s hostel in Afghanistan! Dear president, we talked to all your authorities yesterday. I do not know how they can say that they are not aware of anything. We talked to the head of NDS but he does not know what has happened to our four teachers. He is not sure if ISIS has kidnapped them or Alqaeda has taken them. We also talked commander of Kabul city’s security office. He was totally unaware. This is strange! No one knows anything about our four teachers. Everyone is unaware!Maybe one day we all will drown and authorities are unaware and maybe one day people will break your palace and still authorities are unaware. We know the reason why all this happened. The reason is because your authorities want to have at least a gift for Turkish government and for the gift security officers played with Afghanistan’s honor, Afghan people’s honor, Muslim people’s honor and Law’s honor. This is a very big shame!
I appreciate the acting Minister of Education for joining us today. Thank you for joining the community of education and community of cultural people today. We are so happy for your existence here.
I wish you could see here last night. Trust me even Hitler’s troops had not done this kind of action. Even if Hitler’s most cruel and tyrant commanders saw that situation, they would retreat.
Afghan Girls are our country’s honor. In current situation of Afghanistan that most of girls are not allowed to go to school, these girls have taken permission from their families to study in this school and hostel. But our government comes to their hostel for searching at night and this is not true in any country in the world. But they call it Islam, Law, Honor, and security.
They are saying that these teachers who are cordially serving our country with offering education are terrorist! Turkish government has suddenly seen a dream that Afghan Turkish schools have terrorists in them. This is a big shame!
If this is the case, then Turkish intelligence is very weak, Intelligence of the world is very weak and Afghanistan’s Intelligence has also problems. Afghan Turkish schools were offering education when Mr Atmar was Minister of Education. They were in Shahe do shamshera, just 1 KM away from presidential palace. Previously were they not aware what kind of people were working in this NGO? Was the presidential palace also not aware about them? If this is the case then it means all our authorities are unaware of everything in Afghanistan.
We want the answer for our questions. We want them to answer why they have kidnapped our teachers and attacked our school. If they do not answer and we cannot defend these schools, then we are only wasting everyone’s time here. We want Prosecutors office to answer us. We want to know who these guys were who attacked the school. They did not have ID and they also did not show us any official paper. These guys must be identified, submitted to court and all details must be shared with media.
Not only those who attacked this school but also those who ordered them to attack these innocent girls’ school at night, scare to them to death, watch them shouting and crying.
This is a very big shame!
All together with one voice we hardly condemn this attack that was opposite to our culture. We want to see the attackers in prison immediately otherwise it means there is no jurisdiction of law in our country.
Secondly I want to say that this is my fortieth year that I have been doing legal works and still I have not seen this kind of arresting. According to our rules when someone is arrested, at least their family should be informed but no one has been informed about our teachers yet. So it means this is not a legal arresting. Yesterday’s attacks were exactly same as those people’s attacks who do not accept any rules and regulations in the world.
It is enough!
We have been deceived for more than nine months. We were told that government would not take any action against these schools without talking to us. But they talked to none of us before yesterday’s attacks. This is called deceiving and it is not allowed according to Islam and according to law
We want our four teachers to be released ASAP. If there is any authentic documents against them that are not fake documents bring them to us and prove them to the committee of students’ parents. We definitely accept the rules and regulations.
We want Prosecutors office to submit this case to court and we want The NDS to release our teachers and apologize for what they have done!”

https://www.facebook.com/QatraTv/videos/320812508403556/
Fazal Ahmad manawi, EX-IEC chief (Independent Election Commission):
First of all I want to thank Mr. Osuli and Minister of Education Mr. Shinwari for joining us and are present here. There are persons who can take our voices to the certain authorities and I want to especially thank the media who had a very vast coverage and I hope this press conference would also have a wide range coverage. I will try to compress my speeches within the time that is given to me. In Quran there is a certain verse which says (talking abusive words, and abusing and making fun of is not a good deed). But when it comes to brutal and violent persons they could be given bad words by the innocent persons as they deserve it. Staying calm against oppression and cruelty is worse than the cruelty itself. And there is no cruelty worse then the one done with this school. Within my age I have been through many regimes but no regime has done such a cruel and voilent action. İts your fault that you accepted such a government, i know that you hadn’t chosen this government but it’s you who accepted this government. A government whose heads families are 95% out of the country, how can they know your feelings and what you want. They don’t have kindness, they don’t have enthusiasm and they don’t have empathy. Accepting 100s of suicides, blasts, kidnappings and voilences and find an amount of money to seek a better place for educating your child and they even don’t let this happen. The others talked about several issues but the thing they didn’t talk about is that the action which happened yesterday was a ( government kidnapping). The 134. Article of the constitution says that the discovery of crime should be done by police the investigation should be done by the prosecution office and the evidence, proved by the court. The NDS takes the teachers from the main road without any proper documents. Now you say is it an arrest or a kidnapping, for sure it’s kidnapping. And friends talk about the islamic point of the government, i am ready, if the heads of this government were able to recite fatiha in a right way, i will come and slaughter. Worse then that, in order to motivate people, they talk of Afghaniyet. İn the dictionary of afghans there is no such thing to disgrace your guest, and disguise the honor of daughters of this land. İt’s a shame that they use the Afghan word. And there is no such thing in Pashtunwali, the proud of Pashtuns is that they are hospitable. They lost their kingdom but did not deport or disrespect their guest. İ say that Leave the discussion of islam and sharia and law, this is not even present in the dictionary of social behavior. The things which i saw yesterday evening didn’t let me sleep the whole night. The weeping of the small girls standing there, the girls who were scared of the voilence and the scary people, in the safest place possible for a girl to think of. Every student thaught of being voilently tortured infront of their families, everyone was completely feared. Their family was also not able to sleep of the thaughts about their children. İ feel really confused and embarassed, but its really good to see the acting education minister mr. Shinwari among us.
At the first time of my formal job, my boss was a shinwari, in the court also my boss was Sheikh saib Shinwari. May he rest in peace, he was an honorable and a person ful of efforts. And i also believe in your honor, but i am embarassed that you are the education minister and there be a disgrace for the school and you stay silent against it. There is no worse historical crime than this. You are the first responsible of this issue. This doesn’t have to do anything with the parents of the students. The people have trusted you, and the government is created. The jobs are distributed, and you are given the responsibility of caring about the children of this nation. Representing all, first you had to raise your voice against this brutal actions. İ swear to god if for an hour i was the responsible of such a seat i would have taken this event to the high court. And this is a kidnapping and is destroying the constitution of Afghanistan. The Afghan constitution states that nobody is allowed to enter the personal premises of someone without legal permission. What kind of documents and proofs did they have in order to do such a brutal activity. I believe that Stanikzai, the current NDS head, is a muslim and faithful person. İf he had information about this and have given the permission for such an action, my trust is completely taken and changed. And trust me that there is no any further coward, dependent government in the whole history of Afghanistan. İf this agreement with the US is the presence of US forces here, we accept it. But if for the sake of the agreement with other countries we damage and disguise ourselves it means that neither ther government nor the people have the sound sense of patriotism. i want to satisfy you my dear daughters that there is no need of making slogans in order to express your feelings. Your feelings are already expressed. Mr. Akbar requested me to be patient and don’t be too much ful of emotions. But here emotions are to be used, Allah jj has given us in order to use them in the right place. So that the defence mechanism of the humans would be used in the right place. if this doesn’t give us the right defence mechanism, that will be the time where our humanism will be questioned.
Be sure that we won’t let to government to do such a disgrace action one more time. They are already shameful. There is no more embarrassing than this situation for this government. Mr. Ghani wanted to travel to Turkey with a trump card in hand. The president of Afghanistan claim himself as a father of own his nation but all of his actions are show off.
Today he took this trump card in his hand as a gift to the president of Turkey, tomorrow he will hand over all own his nation to the Trump. There are many things motions but time is limited, be sure that we will built walls from our bodies to protect you all teachers. Let the government we are weak. My last warning to the all the member of government starting from Ghani to NDS; if these situation happen again we won’t accept neither the police nor NDS as a national. For example when the military face of Egypt were ordered to shout or protestors by Hosni Mubarak but they didn’t accept his order and talk that they are children of Egyptian and we are too. We can’t shout own our nation. If you are national police and citizen of this nation. How could you enter the premises of girl’s hostel? How could you commit such rude brutal crime against own your daughter and sister.
Thus they have to immediately release the kidnapped teachers and excuse from teachers and students. If you have a proof then take to authority. And it should be investigate according to the constitution.
We will never let anyone take our educational institute to political era. You corrupted the election, we endured you robbed people’s many with different names. We endured BUT we won’t let you to steal our children’s knowledge.
You have the right to send your daughter to one of the best university in USA, and also you have to accept to send our children to an approximately fair institution inside the country. If they don’t release our teachers and they continue this kind of issues I request you without any emotional feelings go on strike and built tend in this cold weather and let the whole world see us. Then we will see the weather they kill us under the names of terrorist Talib, ISIS or anything else. They didn’t leave us any other option.

https://www.facebook.com/QatraTv/videos/320806715070802/
“As previously Mr. Pashton motioned there are many problem which people face in Afghanistan should be solved. It was not acceptable situation which is happened yesterday in girl’s high school for me as a representative of human right commission of Afghanistan. And all the students were in dorm during this issue. Especially the students who are living outside of the city they chosen to stay in this dormitory because of they believe it is one of the best safest place. In addition it is the best school in Afghanistan.
In this raid neither ministry of education nor administration of school have been informed. And again in this raid several students had been faint. A group of people in NDS have illegally entered the most valuable school of the country and this is not acceptable for Islam and afghan culture.
The whole people shouldn’t be judged because of one person’s sin if there is. There are many other ways! All the families were worried because of that issue. To separate out of this violent and fears among the students completely against the human rights. And we want this issue to be followed up seriously. It is an unfortunate mistake to say that I don’t know. I hope that the education should not be tooled for politics.
Because politics and politicians are changeable. We have a good religious with Turkey, and misunderstanding should be solved in diplomatic ways.
Teachers and students shouldn’t feel themselves frightened, scared and unsaved. And this problems have to be solved immediately. Teachers who are detained have to release as quick as possible.
The highest standard of education in this schools shouldn’t be effected negatively because of political issues. And I ask to minister of education to solve this problem as quick as possible. And he should make my sister (principle of girls high school) feel sound and safe to concentrate on her work.”

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=319916571826483&id=101711293647013

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STATEMENT ON MISSING TEACHERS IN AFGHANISTAN

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghan intelligence agency, abducted four teachers including one Afghan and three Turkish nationals from one of the schools run by the Afghan Turk CAG Educational NGO (ATCE) on 12 December 2017. Families and friends of the teachers have indicated they are very much worried that there has not been any sign regarding their whereabouts. The ATCE was founded by Gulen inspired Turkish businessmen and teachers and has been running several schools in different cities of Afghanistan since 1995. Despite all the difficulties in the region, the ATCE has continued to maintain its services believing that education is the only way to overcome those difficulties.

Former Deputy Minister of Education, Sediq Patman classified the situation as “politically motivated and unethical.” Former NDS chief has also defined the move as unprecedented in recent years, also as a shameful act for the government. According to former government officials, the raid by the NDS was illegal in the sense that the security forces have been used by the government leaders for political objectives. Despite these statements, there has not been an official comment on the incidence, neither by the government nor the intelligence agency.

Moreover, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani traveled to Istanbul a day before the incidence (12/11/17) to attend a summit organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Ministry of Education said, “it was satisfied with the functioning of these schools, but decision on their fate rested with President Ghani.” Reportedly few days before the operation, the Turkish government announced arrest warrant on teachers’ name for taking part in the so-called coup attempt. Documents indicate that the UN has provided asylum protection to one of the abducted teachers and asked authorities not to extradite him to Turkey.

The operation against the ATCE is part of a Turkish campaign against the followers of Fethullah Gulen who is a Turkish cleric which lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. He promotes a moderate form of Islam, supports inter-faith communication and inspires to promote education in different parts of the world. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses him of orchestrating the failed coup-attempt. Mr. Gulen has strongly been denying all the allegations.

As the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we strongly ask the government of Afghanistan to step back and release the teachers immediately. We also invite all international organizations and everyone caring about human rights and fundamental freedoms to speak out to create awareness and also to take urgent action against such an abduction towards the teachers as it violates many human rights enshrined by international human rights law. Number of cases of illegal abductions committed at the request of the Turkish government have been increasing day by day. The situation is likely to get worse if we do not protect the victims. Therefore, we lastly urge President Erdogan to stop resorting to illegal ways to clampdown innocent people.

Download as pdf: AST_Statement_Teachers_in_Afghanistan

Please send a letter to your representatives, relevant individuals or organization regarding the illegal abductions of members of Gulen Movement. A letter sample is attached as a word document: AST_Letter_Urgent Appeal regarding Turkish Teachers in Afghanistan

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Statement on Human Rights Day

As Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we are pleased to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Human Rights Day. Yet, unfortunately, the values emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are today undermined in many countries. It is the duty of each informed citizen to advocate for peace and sustain justice. Human Rights Day is therefore not only about few people, but it is about all of us.

Turkey is one of the countries that have experienced significant deterioration in regards to values mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After the failed coup, more than 130,000 people have been arbitrary detained and more than 60,000 people have been arrested. Many of those arrested do not have any evidence against them. Nonetheless, there are 17,000 women in jail and 688 babies under age of six. Furthermore, there has been more than 2,200 torture and numerous abduction cases. All independent media in Turkey have been shut down and confiscated by the government. More than 4,400 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed. The government has also seized more than 800 companies worth more than $10 billion.

We urge every individual to voice the silenced voices of people in Turkey. As mentioned earlier, it is the duty of each of us to advocate for peace and justice in order to attain it. We hope the situation in Turkey will get better for those in Turkey and abroad who are oppressed by the ruling government of Turkey.

Download as pdf: AST_Statement-on-Human-Rights-Day

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