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Severity of Human Rights Violations in Turkey & Support to Turkish Migrants and Refugees

Since the attempted coup of July 15, 2016, the government of Turkey has been taking strict measures to silence dissidents in other countries from various ideologies recently. One of these opposition groups, the Gulen Movement (a.k.a “Hizmet Movement”, meaning service in Turkish), has been the main target since 2013. The Gulen Movement is a faith-based non-political, cultural and educational movement. The Movement is composed of a cluster of religious, educational and social organizations inspired by Fethullah Gulen.

After the July 15 failed coup attempt, the Turkish government accused Fethullah Gulen and his sympathizers for having a connection with the failed coup. Gulen has repeatedly dismissed any involvement in the coup attempt. Foreign intelligence units such as Germany’s BND Foreign Intelligence Agency’s chief, EU intelligence-sharing unit (Intern), UK Parliament and U.S. House Intel Chair have all noted that there is no evidence that shows Gulen’s involvement. Nonetheless, Gulen spoke to global media outlets right after the coup attempt and called for an open international investigation to find out who was behind the attempt.

Yet, the Turkish government chose to declare state of emergency, which still continues, to purge thousands of people. Alleged supporters of the Movement in Turkey have been dealing with arrest, imprisonment, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, confiscation and passport seizure. After the failed coup, more than 130,000 people have been arbitrarily detained and more than 60,000 people have been arrested. Most of them are from the elite part of the society and are all well-educated individuals with different backgrounds such as doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, engineers and so on. The striking point is that most were imprisoned with no compelling evidence of any criminal activity. Nonetheless, there are 17,000 women in jail and 1914 children, where 688 are babies under age of six. There have also been several cases where women who just gave birth have been put in prison with their few days old babies. Moreover, more than 4,400 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed. The government has also seized 3,003 schools, dormitories, and universities. The government has also confiscated more than 800 companies worth more than $10 billion.

All independent media in Turkey have been shut down and confiscated by the government. Turkey is the leading country to imprison most journalists. Turkey has arrested 319 journalists since the coup. A lot of people are arrested for talking against government’s policies. Many students get imprisoned for their critical tweets. 70 thousand students are currently in jail in Turkey.

People are also arrested for having downloaded an encrypted messaging phone application called ByLock. The government believes coup plotters used this application. The Turkish Intelligence Organization (MIT) has handed over a list of people who have allegedly downloaded the application. People who are alleged of downloading the application have been imprisoned. Prof. Izzet Özgenç, who is one of the founders of the Turkish Penal Code, emphasized that the Bylock arrests made without revealing any evidence are unlawful. Recently, Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that close to 11 thousand people have been mistakenly investigated for use of ByLock. Turkey has also put the Amnesty International’s Turkey head, Taner Kiliç in jail for having downloaded block. While Kiliç claims that he has never downloaded the application, he is facing imprisonment for up to 15 years.

International human rights organizations have condemned and reported the human rights violations occurring in Turkey. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) announced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as the winner of ‘Most Outrageous Use of Terror Laws Against the Press’ and ‘Most Thin-skinned’ awards. A new report released by the independent, non-profit and non-partisan watchdog organization Freedom House concluded that democratic principles such as election integrity and freedom of the press, political and civil rights have severely downgraded in Turkey that is no longer ‘a free country’. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported in its recent “World Report 2018” that innocent people are imprisoned with no substantial evidence, inalienable rights have been taken away, and that there are more than 2,200 cases of torture and ill-treatment. Hugh Williamson, Europe, and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch said that “everywhere you look, checks and balances that protect human rights and rule of law in Turkey are being eroded”.

Due to increasingly severe human rights violations in Turkey, families have chosen to leave their country to seek safe haven. Many families have sought to enter Europe to seek asylum due to geographical proximity. However, there are also thousands of people who have also successfully reached and sought asylum in the United States. Unfortunately not everyone successfully reaches Europe. On November 21, 2017, Greek media reported that Greek authorities have found bodies of five members of the Maden family, including three children, a short time ago on the Greek Island of Lesvos. The father, Huseyin Maden, and mother, Nur Maden, were allegedly linked to the Gulen Movement and was forced to flee due to arrest warrant issued out on their names. The drowning has sparked outrage over an ongoing political purge.

Regrettably, Turkish government’s actions against the Gulen Movement are not limited to Turkish borders but are also extraterritorial. There are many examples of abductions and physical violence incidents in several countries as well as threats by pro-government people referring to the supporters abroad. Recently some Turkish teachers and principles who worked at schools funded by the Gulen Movement in Malaysia, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan have been abducted, and in some cases illegally deported back to Turkey.

Families who have successfully reached the United States by escaping the oppression of the Turkish government are now facing new challenges. Most of the families have left everything behind in Turkey; jobs, houses, education, relatives and the Turkish government have blocked their bank accounts. Some families were able to only bring a single luggage.

These families are now in need of shelter, financial support, and acceptance of their asylum applications. You could help by personally providing donations to these individuals, or donate through human rights organizations like Embrace Relief or Advocates of Silenced Turkey, who focuses on these Turkish nationals. You could also help with helping them attain legal help and cover legal fees for their asylum applications, with their education fees. Some other ways you can help is by sending support letters regarding the persecution of these Gulen sympathizers to relevant bodies such as the State Department, embassies and the European Court of Human Rights. You can also create awareness using social media and encourage other human rights and humanitarian aid organizations to create campaigns on behalf of these individuals. Given their circumstance, we hope that you can help these people through your support. Every bit of help will aggregate to make a big difference.


Download as a PDF File: AST_1-25-2018_SEVERITY OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY & SUPPORT TO TURKISH MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES_P9

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The Freedom House concludes Turkey is no more a free country. What is next?

The Freedom House concludes Turkey is no more a free country. What is next?

A new report released by the independent, non-profit and non-partisan watchdog organization Freedom House concluded that democratic principles such as election integrity and freedom of the press, political and civil rights have severely downgraded in Turkey that is no longer ‘a free country.’ The study added that Turkey’s status declined from Partly Free to Not Free due to a deeply flawed constitutional referendum that centralized power in the presidency, the mass replacement of elected mayors with government appointees, arbitrary prosecutions of rights activists and other perceived enemies of the state, and continued purges of state employees, all of which have left citizens hesitant to express their views on sensitive topics.

The Freedom House has been publishing annual reports since 1973 for assessing the condition of political rights and civil liberties around the world.

It has been a great source for scholars and academics since then. Their methodology is very strong and reliable. Their ranking provides a snapshot of the world and political circumstances in each state. It has always been interpreted seriously by international organizations and financial institutions as well.

The report noted that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan broadened and intensified the crackdown on his perceived opponents that began after a failed 2016 coup attempt. In addition to its dire consequences for detained Turkish citizens, shuttered media outlets, and seized businesses, the chaotic purge has become intertwined with an offensive against the Kurdish minority, which in turn has fueled Turkey’s diplomatic and military interventions in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

According to Freedom House, which analyzed data from 195 countries over the 2017 calendar year, Turkey’s passage over the threshold from Partly Free to Not Free is the culmination of a long and accelerating slide in Freedom in the World.

‘The country’s score has been in free fall since 2014 due to an escalating series of assaults on the press, social media users, protesters, political parties, the judiciary, and the electoral system, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan fights to impose personalized control over the state and society in a deteriorating domestic and regional security environment. Erdoğan has pushed out his rivals and former allies within the ruling party, reshaped media ownership to fit his needs, and rammed through an unpopular constitutional referendum to create a “super-presidential” system without meaningful checks and balances.’

The study also noted that President Erdogan’s response to the July 2016 coup attempt has become a sprawling witch hunt, resulting in the arrest of some 60,000 people, the closure of over 160 media outlets, and the imprisonment of over 150 journalists. The leaders of the third-largest party in the parliament are in prison, and nearly 100 mayors across the country have been replaced through emergency measures or political pressure from the president. The government has even pressed its crackdown beyond. Turkey’s borders, triggering a flood of Interpol “red notice” requests to detain critics abroad, among other effects.

How will the report affect the Asylum seekers?

Since the controversial coup attempt, thousands of military officials, government officials, academics, and civilians have been detained, arrested or fired from their positions. The purge has led to a large number of these individuals to flee Turkey and seek asylum elsewhere.

It is safe to analyze that The Freedom House report will have major consequences on several issues especially asylum applications of thousands of people since the report extensively provided all the necessary data about the failure of democracy in Turkey. The report which confirmed Turkey’s passage over the threshold from ‘Partly Free to Not Free’ is considered both essential and useful for the court processes of the Asylum applications.

How should NATO respond?

A core principle of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is that member states adhere to democratic values. Here is how NATO defines its core principle and the purpose of its very existence:

‘NATO’s purpose is to guarantee the freedom and security of its members through political and military means. POLITICAL – NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defense and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.’

As a democratic security organization, NATO should clarify its stance and policies towards Turkey, which is openly defined as a non-democracy and not-free? Can NATO promote democratic values while one of its biggest members is already defined a dictatorship by non-partisan international organizations?

The recent study by the Freedom House which reports the decline in Turkey’s human rights record may cause some U.S. lawmakers and decision makers to question the country’s NATO membership.

ECtHR appears as a new venue

The shocking lower court rulings of the last several days rejecting the authority of Turkey’s Constitutional Court to hear individual applications has also been considered as the end of the rule of law in Turkey. This new episode in Turkish judiciary will lead the Turkish citizens who seek legal recourse to violations of their rights at European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which still remains a proper venue that they should pursue. The recent study by The Freedom House can definitely be used as a source by the Turkish citizens to strengthen their cases at the ECtHR despite the fact that the ruling processes of the Court may take so long.


Download as a PDF File: AST_Turkey_is_no_longer_free_country_what_is_next

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Erdogan’s Government Established Political Control over Turkish Judiciary and Selective Application of Law

ERDOGAN’S GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHED POLITICAL CONTROL OVER TURKISH JUDICIARY AND SELECTIVE APPLICATION OF LAW

Following the attempted coup, very extensive suspensions, dismissals and arrests took place in Turkey. There are numerus reports of extremely serious human rights violations, including alleged widespread ill-treatment and torture of detainees.


Download PDF File: Political Control over Turkish Judiciary and Selective Application

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AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly Nov. 6

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_Nov6

Human Rights Violations committed by Turkey | 10/30/2017-11/06/2017

1-“1,025 in poor health in Turkish prisons, 357 seriously ill: rights group”
https://turkeypurge.com/1025-turkish-prisons-poor-health-357-seriously-ill-rights-group

2-“Tearful Balıkesir Mayor Uğur resigns in the face of threats to his family”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/30/tearful-balikesir-mayor-ugur-resigns-in-the-face-of-threats-to-his-family/

3-“759 detained in operations targeting Gülen movement in past week”
https://turkeypurge.com/759-detained-operations-targeting-gulen-movement-past-week

4-“İzmir police detain 6 lawyers on terror charges: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/izmir-police-detain-6-lawyers-on-terror-charges-report

5-“12 journalists detained, 4 arrested, 11 imprisoned in Turkey in October”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/30/12-journalists-detained-4-arrested-11-imprisoned-in-turkey-in-october/

6-“31 more sought for detention over alleged Gülen links”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/30/31-more-sought-for-detention-over-alleged-gulen-links/

7-“3,158 detained in October over Gülen links”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/30/3158-detained-in-october-over-gulen-links/

8-“EP’s Harms calls on EULEX to look into Turkish teacher case”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/30/eps-harms-calls-on-eulex-to-look-into-turkish-teacher-case/

9-“Local businessman gets 42.5-year jail time plus $35,000 fine”
https://turkeypurge.com/local-businessman-gets-42-5-year-jail-time-plus-tl-130000-fine

10-“Academics Flee Turkey for Germany as Erdogan targets teachers”
http://www.dw.com/en/academics-flee-turkey-for-germany-as-erdogan-targets-teachers/a-41181311

11-“Letter reveals visually impaired journalist can barely survive in prison”
https://turkeypurge.com/letter-reveals-visually-impaired-journalist-can-barely-survive-prison

12-“Turkey detains four more journalists over coup charges: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-detains-four-journalists-coup-charges-report

13-“Turkish court orders 81-year-old man to stay behind bars on coup charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-court-rules-81-year-old-man-stays-behind-bars-coup-charges

14-” Detention warrants issued for 112 over links to gov’t-closed writers foundation”
https://turkeypurge.com/detention-warrants-issued-112-links-govt-closed-writers-foundation

15-” Cumhuriyet daily journalists to remain in jail following Tuesday hearing”
https://turkeypurge.com/cumhuriyet-daily-journalists-remain-jail-following-tuesday-hearing

16-” Turkish activist charged with trying to overthrow government: media ”
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-arrest/turkish-activist-charged-with-trying-to-overthrow-government-media-idUSKBN1D13NV

17-“3,158 detained in October over Gülen links”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/30/3158-detained-in-october-over-gulen-links/

18-“Historian Armağan sentenced to 15 months for insulting Atatürk”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/31/historian-armagan-sentenced-to-15-months-for-insulting-ataturk/

19-” Turkish Government Imprisons One More Mother With Her Baby Over Links To Gülen Movement”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-government-imprisons-one-more-mother-with-her-baby-over-links-to-gulen-movement/

20-“Opposition deputy being investigated for calling Erdoğan ‘a fascist dictator’”
https://turkeypurge.com/opposition-deputy-investigated-calling-erdogan-fascist-dictator

21-” Municipal worker commits suicide following investigation over Gülen links”
https://turkeypurge.com/municipal-worker-commits-suicide-following-investigation-gulen-links

22-“All demonstrations, public gatherings banned for 3 months in capital Ankara”
https://turkeypurge.com/demonstrations-public-gatherings-banned-capital-ankara

23-” Anonymous witnesses fail to identify suspects they earlier tipped off as Gulenist”
https://turkeypurge.com/anonymous-witnesses-fail-identify-145-suspects-earlier-tipped-off-gulenist

24-” Court rules to keep award-winning human rights lawyer in jail”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/03/court-rules-to-keep-award-winning-human-rights-lawyer-in-jail/

25-” Man with speech, hearing impairment gets 3-year jail time for ‘chanting terror slogans’”
https://turkeypurge.com/man-speech-hearing-impairment-gets-3-year-jail-time-chanting-terror-slogans

26-” Famous baklava maker says under arrest for 15 months over a book seized at workplace”
https://turkeypurge.com/famous-baklava-maker-says-arrest-15-months-book-seized-workplace

27-“Journalist Hidayet Karaca gets 31-year jail time over 2013 TV series”
https://turkeypurge.com/journalist-hidayet-karaca-gets-31-year-jail-time-2013-tv-series

28-“EU calls on Turkey to respect standards of European Convention on Human Rights
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/03/eu-calls-on-turkey-to-respect-standards-of-european-convention-on-human-rights/

29-“Detention warrants issued for 41 including comedian Demirci”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/03/detention-warrants-issued-for-41-including-comedian-demirci/

30-“Yet another child put behind bars along with jailed mother”
https://turkeypurge.com/yet-another-child-put-behind-bars-along-jailed-mother

31-“Turkey seizes another company on coup charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-seizes-another-company-coup-charges

32-“Dozens take to Parliament Hill to protest Turkish human rights violations”
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/parliament-hill-protest-turkey-human-rights-violations-1.4388041

33-“Purge In Turkey Worries KC Emigres”
http://www.flatlandkc.org/commentary/kc-turkish-community-fears-repression-home/

34-“Report: Torture inflicted by founding member of new Turkish party exposed”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/05/report-torture-inflicted-by-founding-member-of-new-turkish-party-exposed/

Türkiye tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 10/30/2017-11/06/2017

1-“Hapisteki 668 bebek için dünya nasıl ses verdi?”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/hapisteki-668-bebek-icin-dunya-nasil-ses-verdi-h106594.html

2-“Gizli tanık, “sanıkları” tanımadı””
http://aktifhaber.com/genel/gizli-tanik-saniklari-tanimadi-h106579.html

3-“Tahliye edildiği cezaevinde gözaltına alınan öğretmen Nazife Onay tutuklandı”
http://www.diken.com.tr/tahliye-edildigi-cezaevinde-gozaltina-alinan-ogretmen-nazife-onay-tutuklandi/

4-“100 barış akademisyenine terör davası!”
http://aktifhaber.com/egitim/100-baris-akademisyenine-teror-davasi-h106593.html

5-“‘Muayeneye giden tutuklulara kamerayı kapatttığı gerekçesiyle dayak'”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/muayeneye-giden-tutuklulara-kamerayi-kapatttigi-gerekcesiyle-dayak-h106652.html

6-“70 bin öğrenci hapiste”
http://aktifhaber.com/genel/70-bin-ogrenci-hapiste-h106618.html

7-” 3 gazeteci daha gözaltına alındı!”
http://aktifhaber.com/medya/3-gazeteci-daha-gozaltina-alindi-h106723.html

8-” Gazeteci Çetinkaya işkence nedeniyle böbreklerini kullanamaz halde”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/gazeteci-cetinkaya-iskence-nedeniyle-bobreklerini-kullanamaz-halde-h106692.html

9-” Tekirdağ Cezaevi’nde tutuklulara sistematik işkence!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/tekirdag-cezaevinde-tutuklulara-sistematik-iskence-h106669.html

10-“Gazeteci Arat cezaevinde yaşadığı mağduriyetleri mektupla paylaştı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/gazeteci-arat-cezaevinde-yasadigi-magduriyetleri-mektupla-paylasti-h106686.html

11-“Kazakistan’ta kaçırılan öğretmenlerin eşlerinden yeni açıklama”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/kazakistanta-kacirilan-ogretmenlerin-eslerinden-yeni-aciklama-h106776.html

12-“Tahşiye davasında karar açıklandı”
http://aktifhaber.com/genel/tahsiye-davasinda-karar-aciklandi-h106826.html

14-“Bir anne daha bebeğiyle tutuklandı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/bir-anne-daha-bebegiyle-tutuklandi-h106835.html

15-“Atalay Demirci yeniden gözaltına alındı”
http://aktifhaber.com/genel/atalay-demirci-yeniden-gozaltina-alindi-h106828.html

16-“Terör gazisi Belediye işçisi intihar etti!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/teror-gazisi-belediye-iscisi-intihar-etti-h106786.html

17-“Şahitler gelmedi diye serbest bırakılmadı!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/sahitler-gelmedi-diye-serbest-birakilmadi-h106790.html

18-“Ölseniz de hastaneye götürmeyeceğiz”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/olseniz-de-hastaneye-goturmeyecegiz-h106807.html

19-“Ali Türkşen’in ifadelerdeki işkencelerini yazdı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/ali-turksenin-ifadelerdeki-iskencelerini-yazdi-h106890.html

20-“Bursa’da işkence Adli Tıp raporuna girdi!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/bursada-iskence-adli-tip-raporuna-girdi-h106877.html

21-“Konya Emniyeti’nde işkence yapılıyor!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/konya-emniyetinde-iskence-yapiliyor-h106873.html

22-“Cezaevleri ölüm evi oldu; her yıl 215 kişi hayatını kaybediyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/politika/cezaevleri-olum-evi-oldu-her-yil-215-kisi-hayatini-kaybediyor-h106909.html

23-“Cezaevinde cinayet gibi ihmal: Hamile kadın ve karnındaki bebeği hayatını kaybetti”
http://www.tr724.com/ohalde-cezaevinde-cinayet-gibi-ihmal-hamile-kadin-karnindaki-bebegi-hayatini-kaybetti/

24-“Tutuklu Tuğgeneral Ankara’da hayatını kaybetti”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/tutuklu-tuggeneral-ankarada-hayatini-kaybetti-h106968.html

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Turkish police arrest 8 human rights activists

Turkish police arrested local director of Amnesty International along with seven other human rights activists for “blatantly without cause”. Their whereabouts were unknown and had not been granted access to lawyers or family.

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This is how many people Turkey has arrested since the failed coup

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/29/europe/turkey-post-coup-arrest-numbers/index.html

Many low-ranked soldiers found themselves on the street while media outlets were announcing that the military was attempting a coup. Although most of these soldiers were told that they were out for a drill, a very large portion of them got beaten and imprisoned. Moreover, many allegations of torture and rape of have emerged.

 

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