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Rights groups say 2,278 people tortured, 11 abducted in Turkey in 2017

The Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) on Saturday said 2,278 people were tortured and 11 abducted in Turkey during the first 11 months of 2017, Gazeteduvar reported.

Releasing a human rights report in Turkey under an ongoing state of emergency, the IHD and TİHV noted that human rights violations have reached worrying levels in Turkey. Recalling that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has issued 28 decree-laws since July 20, 2016, and that only five of them were approved on time by Parliament despite the fact that all legislation must be approved in accordance with the Turkish Constitution, the IHD and TİHV underlined that with its state of emergency decrees the government has created guarantees for state officials that they will not be prosecuted for violations committed during the period of emergency rule.

According to the report issued by the two rights organizations, security forces killed 36 people and wounded 12 in extrajudicial killings and by firing arbitrarily into a crowd on the pretext that they did not obey an order to stop, in the first 11 months of 2017.

A total of 695 people including 183 soldiers, 460 militants and 52 civilians were killed and 310 injured during clashes in Turkey.

Twenty-three people including six children were killed and 46 injured in accidents involving armored security vehicles.
A total of 570 people applied to the TİHV as victims of torture; 2,278 faced torture and maltreatment with 423 of such cases took place while in detention.

According to the İHD report, by May 30, 2017, 11 abduction or enforced disappearance cases had been reported in Turkey.
As of Nov. 1, there were 230,735 people in Turkish prisons, including 1,037 with health problems. The prison population numbered 178,089 in 2015 and 154,179 in 2014.

Source: https://turkeypurge.com/rights-groups-say-2278-tortured-11-abducted-turkey-2017

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Freedom of the Net 2017

FREEDOM OF THE NET 2017 REPORT PREPARED BY THE FREEDOM HOUSE

SUMMARY OF THE PARTS CONCERNING TURKEY

In November 2017, the Freedom House[1] published a report titled Freedom of the Net 2017[2] which assesses the internet freedom around the world making country-based evaluations.

According to the Report, Turkey falls into the category of “Not Free” in 2017. Together with Egypt and Ukraine, Turkey is in the top three countries who declined most compared to the last year. Turkey and Russia are both ranked as 15th among 65 countries falling behind countries such as Myanmar, Sudan and Venezuela.[3] The Report refers to different applications in Turkey many times showing that the State has been taking considerably restrictive measures.

Especially in 2017 thousands of people were arrested and/or taken into custody for downloading a mobile communication app called ByLock reasoning that coup plotters allegedly used the same app as well. The Report highlights that the app was easily accessible as well as publicly available in different app stores.

According to the Freedom House, the Turkish government has not only been using the internet to accuse government critics of serious crimes, but also to manipulate public discussions and control particular agendas. As per the allegations, around 6,000 people were employed to achieve these aims. To illustrate, many dissident journalists and academics have been dealing with online harassment by pro-government troll accounts through social media websites. Disinformation methods used by the State vary including paying government commentators (without explicit sponsorship), maintaining pro-government media and propaganda, hijacking politically dissent websites (such as social media accounts and news sites), and lastly creating fake news around elections intentionally to affect voters.

Besides these direct methods, the Turkish government uses indirect restrictions as well to control the use of the internet. To exemplify, WhatsApp as the most common mobile communication app was throttled many times especially right after significant political events and became almost inaccessible. Moreover, Turkey has taken measures to limit and control VPNs channels which enable internet users to reach banned websites and content. For example, Tor which is one of the most secure VPNs has been targeted by repressive governments. The Report emphasizes that Turkey has also applied new blocking orders to limit the use of Tor network making it harder for users to reach.

The Report specifies topics and content censored by the Turkish government; some of which can be listed as criticisms of authorities, corruption, conflict, political opposition, satire as well as mobilization for public causes. Out of 9 types of key internet controls categorized by the Freedom House, Turkey has been applying 7 of them including blocking of online communication tools, network shutdowns, increasing censorship through new laws, arrest and imprisonment of opposing internet users.

To sum up, the Freedom of the Net 2017 report illustrates how Turkey has been using the internet to serve the government’s own interests and also to limit individual freedoms such as freedom of expression and right to privacy.

1- Freedom House is a US based non-governmental organization “dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world.”; “About Us.” Freedom House, freedomhouse.org/about-us.

2-Freedom House, Freedom of the Net 2017, Nov 2017, available at: https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/FOTN_2017_Final.pdf

3- It must be noted that these 65 countries represent 87% of the world’s internet users.

 


Download PDF File: Freedom of the Net 2017

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