1-540-209-1934
help@silencedturkey.org

Persecution & Genocide

Petition Campaign Launched In Turkey For Release Of Ailing 78-Year-Old Female Prisoner

A petition campaign has been launched for the release from prison of 78-year-old Sise Bingöl, who is suffering from heart and lung disease and hypertension, as reported by Bianet.

Bingöl was detained and arrested in the Varto district of Muş province on April 6, 2017. She was sentenced to four years, two months in prison on charges of “willingly and knowingly aiding an illegal organization.”

She suffered a heart attack one month before she was imprisoned.

Bingöl was first confined to Muş’s Type E Prison when she was arrested. She was later transferred to the Tarsus Type T Closed Prison, on October 4, 2017, without the knowledge of her family. The prison administration informed her relatives a week after the transfer.

The petition campaign text demands that Bingöl, whose health has been worsening while in prison, to be released on probation.

Sick prisoners can apply to the court with their medical reports for a deferral of their sentences. As of the time of writing, more than 2,500 signatures had been collected for Bingöl’s release.

According to data compiled by the Human Rights Association (İHD), there are currently 1,025 sick prisoners in Turkish penal institutions, 357 of whom are in critical condition.

Campaign link (in Turkish):
https://www.change.org/p/adalet-bakan%C4%B1-sis%C3%AA-bing%C3%B6l-serbest-b%C4%B1rak%C4%B1ls%C4%B1n?recruiter=526409120&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_petitionSource:
https://stockholmcf.org/petition-campaign-launched-in-turkey-for-release-of-ailing-78-year-old-female-prisoner/

Read more

An open letter to President Erdoğan from 38 Nobel laureates

Dear President Erdoğan,

We wish to draw your attention to the damage being done to the Republic of Turkey, to its reputation and the dignity and well-being of its citizens, through what leading authorities on freedom of expression deem to be the unlawful detention and wrongful conviction of writers and thinkers.

In a Memorandum on the Freedom of Expression in Turkey (2017), Nils Muižnieks, then Council of Europe commissioner for Human Rights, warned:

“The space for democratic debate in Turkey has shrunk alarmingly following increased judicial harassment of large strata of society, including journalists, members of parliament, academics and ordinary citizens, and government action which has reduced pluralism and led to self-censorship. This deterioration came about in a very difficult context, but neither the attempted coup nor other terrorist threats faced by Turkey, can justify measures that infringe media freedom and disavow the rule of law to such an extent.

“The authorities should urgently change course by overhauling criminal legislation and practice, redevelop judicial independence and reaffirm their commitment to protect free speech.”

There is no clearer example of the commissioner’s concern that the detention in September 2016 of Ahmet Altan, a bestselling novelist and columnist; Mehmet Altan, his brother, professor of economics and essayist; and Nazlı Ilıcak, a prominent journalist – all as part of a wave of arrests following the failed July 2016 coup. These writers were charged with attempting to overthrow the constitutional order through violence or force. The prosecutors originally wanted to charge them with giving “subliminal messages” to coup supporters while appearing on a television panel show. The ensuing tide of public ridicule made them change that accusation to using rhetoric “evocative of a coup”. Indeed, Turkey’s official Anatolia News Agency called the case “The Coup Evocation Trial”.

As noted in the commissioner’s report, the evidence considered by the judge in Ahmet Altan’s case was limited to a story dating from 2010 in Taraf newspaper (of which Ahmet Altan had been the editor-in-chief until 2012), three of his op-ed columns and a TV appearance. The evidence against the other defendants was equally insubstantial. All these writers had spent their careers opposing coups and militarism of any sort, and yet were charged with aiding an armed terrorist organisation and staging a coup.

The commissioner saw the detention and prosecution of Altan brothers as part of a broader pattern of repression in Turkey against those expressing dissent or criticism of the authorities. He considered such detentions and prosecutions to have violated human rights and undermined the rule of law. David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, concurred and dubbed the legal proceedings a “show trial”.

Turkey’s own constitutional court concurred with this criticism. On 11 January this year, it ruled that Mehmet Altan and fellow journalist Şahin Alpay’s rights were being violated by pre-trial detention, and that they should be released. Yet the first-degree courts refused to implement the higher constitutional court’s decision, thus placing the judicial system in criminal violation of the constitution. Mr President, you must surely be concerned that the lower criminal court’s defiance and this non-legal decision was backed by the spokesperson of your government.

On 16 February 2018, the Altan brothers and Ilıcak were sentenced to aggravated life sentences, precluding them from any prospect of a future amnesty.

President Erdoğan, we the undersigned share the following opinion of David Kaye: “The court decision condemning journalists to aggravated life in prison for their work, without presenting substantial proof of their involvement in the coup attempt or ensuring a fair trial, critically threatens journalism and with it the remnants of freedom of expression and media freedom in Turkey”.

In April 1998, you yourself were stripped of your position as mayor of Istanbul, banned from political office, and sentenced to prison for 10 months, for reciting a poem during a public speech in December 1997 through the same article 312 of the penal code. This was unjust, unlawful and cruel. Many human rights organisations – which defended you then – are appalled at the violations now occurring in your country. Amnesty International, PEN International, Committee to Protect Journalists, Article 19, and Reporters Without Borders are among those who oppose the recent court decision.

During a ceremony in honour of Çetin Altan, on 2 February 2009, you declared publicly that “Turkey is no longer the same old Turkey who used to sentence its great writers to prison – this era is gone for ever.” Among the audience were Çetin Altan’s two sons: Ahmet and Mehmet. Nine years later, they are sentenced to life; isn’t that a fundamental contradiction?

Under these circumstances, we voice the concern of many inside Turkey itself, of its allies and of the multilateral organisations of which it is a member. We call for the abrogation of the state of emergency, a quick return to the rule of law and for full freedom of speech and expression. Such a move would result in the speedy acquittal on appeal of Ms Ilıcak and the Altan brothers, and the immediate release of others wrongfully detained. Better still, it would make Turkey again a proud member of the free world.

Full list of Nobel laureate signatories:

Svetlana Alexievich, Philip W Anderson, Aaron Ciechanover, JM Coetzee, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Elias J Corey, Gerhard Ertl, Albert Fert, Edmond H Fischer, Andrew Z Fire, Andre Geim, Sheldon Glashow, Serge Haroche, Leland H Hartwell, Oliver Hart, Richard Henderson, Dudley Herschbach, Avram Hershko, Roald Hoffmann, Robert Huber, Tim Hunt, Kazuo Ishiguro, Elfriede Jelinek, Eric S Maskin, Hartmut Michel, Herta Müller, VS Naipaul, William D Phillips, John C Polanyi, Richard J Roberts, Randy W Schekman, Wole Soyinka, Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas C Südhof, Jack W Szostak, Mario Vargas Llosa, J Robin Warren, Eric F Wieschaus

Source:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/28/nobel-laureates-president-erdogan-turkey-free-writers

Read more

Turkish Teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu, Tortured To Death Under Police Custody, Reinstated To His Duty

It was revealed that Turkish teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu, who had been tortured to death under police custody in the wake of a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, over his alleged membership to the Gülen movement, was found innocent after 1,5 years and he was reinstated to his duty(!)

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which led to the death of Açıkkollu under the police custody, has eventually decided over the innocence of the deceased teacher.

The reinstatement decision for teacher Açıkkolu was given by Turkish Education Ministry on Feb. 7, 2018, with the decision number E.2561776. The official document for the reinstatement of Açıkkolu was delivered by the principal of the school, that he used to work for, to Açıkkollu’s teacher wife, who had also been dismissed from her duty by a government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Thus, the honor of the late Gökhan Açıkkollu was restored by saying a simple ‘pardon’ after 1,5 years passed over his death(!)

Açıkkollu was detained on July 24, 2016 on trumped-up charges of coup plotting and terrorism and stayed in police custody for 13 days, during which time he was subjected to both physical and psychological torture. He was never officially interrogated, and the police did not even take a statement from him. Instead, he was taken from his detention cell every day to face torture and rushed to the hospital when his condition deteriorated, only to be shipped back to detention. He told doctors about abuse and torture; yet, in some cases, his statements were not even registered in medical reports, and evidence of physical abuse was covered up under pressure from the police.

Teacher Açıkkollu was beaten, slapped in the face, kicked in the rib cage, kneed in the back and his head banged against the wall. His medical check-up before he was put in detention showed no signs of any heart troubles; yet, he was pronounced dead due to heart failure. When he collapsed in his cell, emergency services were belatedly called and he died in detention, although official records were doctored to reject the false fact that he died at the hospital.

Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), emphasized that Açıkkollu lost his life in consequence of a heart attack due to the torture he was exposed to in her report.

His family had found out his death when they were called to the İstanbul Forensic Medicine Institute. The ill-treatment for Açıkkollu continued here as well. It was said that the funeral could be given on condition that he was to be buried in “a graveyard of the traitors,” prepared by İstanbul Greater Municipality for the alleged “traitors,” despite he was not tried yet and even his interrogation was not done. Imams assigned by the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) did not even wash his funeral and they had refused to conduct a funeral prayers for Açıkkollu.

His family had to disinfect the funeral with their own efforts and was obliged to take him to his hometown, Konya province, with their own vehicle. Here too, the imam of the local mosque did not perform the funeral prayer because of the instruction given by the Religious Affairs Directorate by saying that the ‘funeral prayer will not be performed for the traitors.’ So, the last duty for him was also done by his close relatives.

Source:
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-teacher-gokhan-acikkollu-tortured-to-death-under-police-custody-reinstated-to-his-duty/

Read more

Turkish Gov’t Detained 845 People To Date Over Critical Stance On Afrin Offensive

Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Monday announced that 845 people have been detained on terror charges due to their protests or posts on social media critical of a Turkish military incursion in the northern Syrian town of Afrin, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Meanwhile, two construction workers who went to İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport on Feb. 23 to fly to their hometown of Diyarbakır were detained by police after officers seized their mobile phones and checked their social media accounts, the Evrensel daily reported on Monday.

The workers, Nazım Toplu and Ahmet Polat, were stopped by the police after they arrived at the airport on the grounds that they looked suspicious. They underwent criminal record checks (GBT), and the police found that they were not the subject of any investigation.

Yet, the police officers asked the workers to open their Facebook accounts when the workers were about to board their plane. The workers refused and said it was illegal for them to ask this. Then, the police officers seized the workers’ mobile phones and entered their social media accounts from the phones.

The police officers detained the workers due to their social media accounts. It was not clear what messages the workers had posted, but nowadays the detention of individuals due to their critical messages on social media about the government or Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is very common.

The Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters launched Operation Olive Branch in Afrin against the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The despotic Turkish government and autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have reacted strongly to people who oppose the operation, and prosecutor’s offices have initiated investigations into those who share social media messages critical of the operation.

President Erdoğan on Jan. 21 warned the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) not to take to the streets to protest the operation in Afrin: “You are being closely followed. If you try to take to the streets, know that our security forces will be at your neck.”

“If anyone is in the streets upon calls [from the HDP], they will pay dearly for it. This is a national fight, and whoever opposes us will be crushed,” Erdoğan added.

Kral FM radio host Ali Şentürk, known as “Afrikalı Ali,” called on security forces to kill anybody who criticizes Turkey’s operation in Afrin.

Yusuf Ozan, a presenter for the pro-government Akit TV, last Sunday targeted the Cumhuriyet daily over a story it ran on the Afrin operation in Syria, saying Cumhuriyet journalists deserve to be executed.

Source:
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-detained-845-people-to-date-over-critical-stance-on-afrin-offensive/

Read more

Turkish Police To Journalist: If You Don’t Speak, We’ll Throw You Off Balcony

Turkish police have reportedly raided the house of journalist Buğrahan Aydoğan in Çorlu district of Tekirdağ province on Sunday night for the second time to detain him and allegedly threatened him before detention by saying that “If you do not speak, we will throw you off the balcony. And in the police report, we would write that when he saw the police, he jumped from the balcony and committed suicide.”

Aydoğan, who used to work as a provincial representative of a national newspaper before the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, was released after 160 days of imprisonment over an unfounded denunciation. After being released, he has reportedly been worked in various jobs including stall-holder in order to be able to adapt to his life.

However, a large number of police have reportedly launched an operation in Aydoğan’s house on Sunday midnight. Aydoğan’s family members have shared what they have experienced during the police raid on their Twitter account and wrote as follows:

“On February 25, 2018, at 00:30, Buğrahan Aydoğan opened the door without wasting time as the door was knocked very hard. He was very surprised to see the police again. Seven policemen entered the house with their shoes as they were insulting him at the same time.

“After locking Buğrahan in one of the rooms, the police officers searched the apartment. With the anger of being unable to find anything they handcuffed Buğrahan’s hands behind his back.

“The fattest police officer got Buğrahan Aydoğan on the ground and started to jump on him. The police started hitting his head with a laptop brought from the other room. They said something unclear such as ‘Talk to me! Where are the money you collected?’

“They said that ‘If you do not speak, we will throw you off the balcony. And in the police report, we would write that when he saw the police, he jumped from the balcony and committed suicide.’ When Buğrahan Aydoğan asked what the crime he committed, he was insulted as ‘triator, terrorist…’

“When all this happened, they didn’t take anyone from the family to the room. With the stream of insults they detained Buğrahan Aydogan.

“Buğrahan Aydogan is now in the custody of police headquarter in Çorlu district of Tekirdağ province and has not allowed to meet his lawyer. We are concerned about the ill-treatment for Buğrahan.”

Source:
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-police-to-journalist-if-you-dont-speak-well-throw-you-off-balcony/

Read more

Turkish Teacher, Not Assigned Over His Alleged Links To Gülen Movement, Killed In Workplace Accident

A Turkish teacher, who has not been assigned by the Turkish government led by autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his alleged membership to the Gülen movement, was killed in a workplace accident on Saturday.

According to a report by online news outlet Aktif Haber, the recently graduated social science teacher Hasan Songur had to work in a plastic and mold factory in Organised Industrial Zone in Manisa province after he was refused to be assigned to duty as teacher by the Turkish government.

It was reported in leftists Evrensel daily that Songur used to work in a public school as a contracted teacher. However, he was dismissed from this part-time teaching job after he was accused of having links to the Gülen movement over his former job at a factory which was seized over its alleged affiliation to the movement.

He has later started to work at a plastic and cold factory in Manisa province. He lost his life after he was squeezed by a piston of an injection machine as he was working on the plant. Twenty-five-year-old Hasan Songur has reportedly been working in this workplace for last 20 days.

According to the data compiled by the Union of Education (Eğitim-Sen), 41,005 educators including 33,965 teachers, 5,740 academic personnel, 1,300 administrative staff at educational facilities were dismissed by government with 28 decree laws under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Moreover, the teaching licenses of more than 23,464 teachers, who used to work for the private schools affiliated with the Gülen movement, were revoked by the government. The number of the teachers, who have shared the same fate since they used to work for university preparation schools affiliated with the Gülen movement, is officially unknown. However it is assumed that the number is about 30,000.

Source:
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-teacher-not-assigned-over-his-alleged-links-to-gulen-movement-killed-in-workplace-accident/

Read more

80 women reportedly subjected to inhumane treatment at Mersin police station

At least 80 women, including high school and university students, were reportedly subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of officers at the Mersin police station, according to several Twitter accounts and media outlets.

The women were believed to be affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The alleged victims were reportedly detained by police from the Smuggling and Organized Crime Directorate (KOM) after “helping Gülenist families in need of food and resources” in Mersin province, according to a Twitter account named @Turkeydeiskence (Torture in Turkey).

The claim has neither been confirmed nor denied by the Turkish authorities.

The same Twitter account also tweeted that among the detainees are a mother and her 2-month-old infant who have been held in police custody for four days. Also, a 15-year-old high school student has been held in detention at the juvenile facility of the provincial police department.

The Twitter account also claimed that a lawyer representing the detainees fainted at the police department exit after witnessing the torture and ill-treatment of their clients in police custody. (Turkey Purge)

Source:
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/26/80-women-reportedly-subjected-to-inhumane-treatment-at-mersin-police-station/

Read more

Turkey sentences journalists to life in jail over coup attempt

Sentencing over alleged role in failed coup in 2016 condemned as devastating precedent that shows disregard for rule of law.

A Turkish court has sentenced six defendants, including three prominent journalists, to life in prison over allegations of involvement in a 2016 coup attempt, in the first conviction of journalists in trials related to the failed putsch.

The harsh verdict was swiftly condemned by press freedom advocates as a “devastating precedent” that shows “utter disregard for the rule of law” in Turkey.

It came after a months-long trial during which it was alleged that the journalists sent “subliminal messages” via TV appearances and newspaper columns urging the overthrow of the government, and that they maintained contact with members of the Fethullah Gülen network, a movement widely believed in Turkey to have orchestrated the coup attempt.

The verdict constitutes a major defeat for press freedom in the Nato member state, which has cracked down on dissent in the aftermath of the coup. At least 73 journalists remain behind bars, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which ranks Turkey the world’s worst jailer of journalists, ahead of China and Egypt.

The journalists sentenced on Friday were the brothers Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, who have been detained since 2016, and Nazlı Ilıcak. The conviction defies an order by Turkey’s highest court to release Mehmet Altan, after it found last month that his imprisonment had violated his constitutional rights.

Sarah Clarke, the policy and advocacy manager for the writers’ association PEN International, tweeted her dismay at the sentences.

The International Press Institute said it was “appalled” by the verdict.

The sentencing came on the same day another Turkish court ordered the release of Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist who spent just over a year in pre-trial detention without an indictment, in a case that tested relations between Ankara and Berlin and highlighted the precarious state of press freedom in Turkey.

A criminal court in Istanbul decided to release Yücel pending a trial after prosecutors said they had completed their investigation into the journalist. The court accepted the indictment filed by prosecutors, who are seeking an 18-year prison sentence over allegations of spreading propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organisation.

The order to release him was confirmed by the state-run Anadolu Agency, the German foreign minister, and Yücel’s lawyer, Veysel Ok, who tweeted a photograph of Yücel embracing his wife after he was freed.

The Die Welt correspondent was detained on 14 February 2017 after going to an Istanbul police station for questioning. He got married in prison and spent months in solitary confinement at Silivri maximum security prison outside Istanbul. He spent 366 days in detention without formal charges.

Yücel’s detention came amid a deep rift in relations between Germany and Turkey. Berlin barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies in Germany with Turkish citizens ahead of a referendum on presidential powers, and condemned growing authoritarianism under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who in turn has condemned rising Islamophobia in Europe. Talks on Turkey’s future membership of the EU have been stalled for years.

Source:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/16/turkey-sentences-six-journalists-life-imprisonment-failed-coup

Read more

Hundreds of young Turkish children jailed alongside their moms as part of a post-coup crackdown

It was a snowy January morning in Istanbul last year when Ayse, a 32-year-old primary school teacher and mother of two, kissed the kids goodbye at school and headed home.

She didn’t make it to her front door before she was surrounded by seven policemen, accused of membership in a terrorist organization, handcuffed and taken away. Two months after being jailed, Ayse was joined behind bars by her youngest son, Ali, then just 4 years old.

For another four months, she said, their lives unfolded like a horror movie. Built to hold 10 people, Ayse said, her cell was packed with 23 detainees. She remembers babies unable to get vaccines, and burning themselves with hot tea. She remembers, too, the traumatic cries at night.

“Loud music blared through our ward every morning, every morning I would wake up scared with my son,” she told Fox News in a recent interview from a refugee camp in Greece. “The ward was a very dangerous place for children. Our bunks were iron. One baby there was learning to walk and hit his head badly, other children were screaming. It was an incredibly difficult time.”

The case of Ayse and Ali is hardly unique. Based on monitoring government decrees and other reports from official sources, by the end of August 2017, advocacy groups had highlighted some 668 cases of children under the age of 6 being held in jails with their mothers. And 23 percent of those youngsters were infants less than a year old.

Several thousand children ages 6-18 are also being held.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry provided a somewhat lower figure, stating that a total of 560 children under the age of 6 were being held in Turkish prisons along with their mothers.

Mothers and their children continue to be rounded up with tens of thousands of other Turks following the July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The country has, since that attempt, been in a legal “state of emergency,” one that allows the government to jail anyone believed to have ties to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen and his Hizmet movement.

Whatever the number of prisoners, “prison is no place for children in any civilized country,” said Dr. Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society, a British foreign policy think tank, He called the policy of jailing mothers and children without charge “a travesty of justice” that will have “lasting effects on the lives of innocent children.”

Other critics of Turkey’s policy noted that the imprisoned women and children were victims of guilt by association.

“What is striking about detained women since the failed coup is that some of them are simply wives or children of suspects, but not suspects themselves. This amounts to collective punishment,” said Merve Tahiroglu, a research analyst with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based nonpartisan institute focusing on national security.

Ugar Tok, director of the Belgium-based Platform for Peace and Justice (PPJ), a human rights monitoring group focused on Turkey, said it can take six to 10 months of detention before the women in jail can stand in court. In the meantime, “the government prevents detainees from accessing lawyers and files in order to defend themselves.”

According to the World Prison Brief, as of October of last year, women comprised 4.4 percent of Turkey’s prison population. The official number of females behind bars is just under 10,000, but Tok estimates the numbers could be as high as 17,000.

Kam, a 34-year-old university teacher in İzmir Province at the time of her arrest in October 2016, said she was held for two months for investing – as thousands of other Turks have – in the Gulen-affiliated Bank Asya. She was kept in a cell with her 7-month-old son and two other babies, where they were prohibited from crawling on the floor. Toys were also prohibited, she said, and at times they could not access clean water.

“We were all treated like terrorists, we were isolated,” Kam told Fox News from Germany, where she and her family are now refugees. “We were all humiliated. … I don’t know what was worse, to have my baby in the prison or to have my other son, who was 11, outside the prison. When I saw him, he was changing.”

Case summaries and photographs viewed by Fox News, provided by international human rights investigators and lawyers, bring the grim statistics to life. They showed babies still on jail floors, with no play areas or facilities; women with chunks of hair ripped from their scalp in alleged prison mistreatment; and dozens of infants smiling before being whisked away to detention, where many are believed to remain.

Nurhayat Yildiz, 27, a housewife expecting twins, was arrested on Aug. 29, 2016, after boarding a bus from the northern Turkish province of Sinop, headed for her 14-week checkup. Nurhayat was detained and charged with Hizmet membership – because she allegedly had a popular encrypted messaging app, ByLock, on her phone. The Turkish government believes members involved in the coup attempt communicated through ByLock, and despite the app being commercially available to anyone, the government has systematically rounded up thousands of those who have it.

Yildiz’s supporters say she didn’t even have the app on her phone. In any case, at 19 weeks, on Oct. 6 that year, the first time mom-to-be suffered a devastating miscarriage behind bars.

“Nurhayat lost her dreams,” a prominent Turkish legal activist with Washington-based Advocates for Silenced Turkey (AST), who recently fled to California and requested anonymity for the safety of her relatives in Turkey, told Fox News. “And now she is suffering immense psychological problems, she barely talks. Her twins never got to live.”

Then there are stories like that of Filiz Yavuz, who was suddenly arrested – taken in a wheelchair – just eight hours after giving birth at a maternity hospital in the southeastern province of Mersin on Feb. 7, 2017.

“The police came for me at 3 in the morning. They said I was a terrorist because someone in my dormitory room from 2008 gave them my name,” Nur, 27, a human rights lawyer who was once a student at the Ankara University Faculty of Law, recalled of that frightful morning on Jan. 18, 2017. That’s when she was whisked from her home in the city of Eskisehir to a dark detention cell.

Nur considers herself one of the lucky ones. She was released by a judge after five days due to her severe asthma and a heart condition. She quickly boarded a smugglers’ boat. Today, Nur – from the safety of the United States – is trying to draw attention to the plight of other detained moms, their children and other of pregnant women who she says have suffered miscarriages amid the psychological ordeal of arrest and captivity.

Turkey’s Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Turkish officials have consistently defended the widespread arrest and detention of thousands of Turkish citizens, including women and children, as vital to national security. They also insist that the detainees are being held in compliance with international law.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which monitors the health and well-being of detainees in crisis spots around the world, confirmed it is not currently present in Turkey, and thus cannot monitor the situation.

But that situation remains a cause of concern for many human rights groups, which routinely spotlight the seemingly arbitrary detainment of Turkish citizens.

“ Following the coup attempt in July 2016, tens of thousands of people have been detained. The vast majority are not accused of participating in the events of the coup and in many cases that Amnesty International has examined there is no credible evidence of criminal acts,” a spokesperson for that group told Fox News.

Source:
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/13/hundreds-young-turkish-children-jailed-alongside-their-moms-as-part-post-coup-crackdown.html

Read more

At Least 3 Victims Of Erdoğan’s Persecution Targeting Gülen Movement Drowned As Trying To Cross River Between Turkey And Greece

At least three victims of the massive post-coup persecution of Turkish government, led by autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement, have reportedly drowned on Tuesday morning as they were trying to cross the Meriç/Evros river between Turkey and Greece.

Eight Turkish citizens, including 3 children, 2 women and 3 man, have been missed after their rubber boat capsized in Meriç/Evros river on the border between Turkey and Greece on Tuesday. The bodies of the two drowned brothers, estimated to be aged around 11 and 3, and their mother were discovered.

The names of the victims are 37-year-old Ayşe (Söyler) Abdurrezzak from Havran district of Balıkesir province, her sons 3-year-old Halil Münir Abdurrezzak, who was born in Maltepe district of İstanbul and 11-year-old Abdul Kadir Enes Abdurrezzak.

It was learned that contact with the 8 people has been lost at 5 a.m. on Tuesday morning as they were trying to fled from Turkey to Greece via Meriç/Evros river. Uğur Abdurrezzak, the bodies of his wife and his children were found, is still missing.

Ayşe Söyler Abdurrezzak, who was graduated from Turkish Language Department of İstanbul’s Marmara University in 2005 and used to work as a teacher. She and her teacher husband were dismissed by a government decree under the rule of emergency as they were working at a school in Kartepe district of Kocaeli province in the wake of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

It was also learned that Doğan Family was accompanying the Abdurrezzak Family on the rubber boat as they were crossing the Meriç/Evros river and the members of the family, Fahreddin Doğan, his wife Aslı Doğan and the couple’s 2,5-year-old son İbrahim Selim Doğan are still missing.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency (AA) has reported previously that the emergency services are searching for up to 10 migrants reported missing after a boat capsized in a river that flows along the Turkish-Greek border. According to the report, the emergency services were alerted on Tuesday by border guards who heard cries for help from the river, known as Meriç in Turkish and Evros in Greek.

The report said between eight and 10 migrants, including women and children, were trying to cross into Greece aboard the rubber boat, which was found punctured.

Thousands of refugees and migrants enter Greece every year from Turkey on their way to Europe. Most choose the sea crossing in flimsy smuggling boats to the eastern Aegean islands. However, Evros has also been used for passage from Turkey to Greece.

In recent years, beside of refugees from other countries using Turkey as a transit route, some Turkish citizens who had to fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, have also used the same route. Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government canceled their passports like thousands of others.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Source:
https://stockholmcf.org/two-child-migrants-die-others-reported-missing-during-river-crossing-between-turkey-and-greece/

Read more