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Erdogan regime

Turkish 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. While three Turkish nationals and one Afghan teacher were released, two Turkish nationals are still under house arrest and face possible deportation to Turkey.

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 request your assistance to remind the Afghan authorities to ensure that the individuals at risk avoid expulsion in Turkey, where they would, with a great deal of certainty, be subject to torture and ill-treatment. We do believe that this is also an important moment to act in accordance with the Constitution of Afghanistan and relevant provisions of accepted international human rights treaties, in particular, CAT Article 3. We further believe that this is also an opportunity to demonstrate Afghanistan’s resolute commitment to upholding the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, ahead of its upcoming UN Human Rights Council membership.

Read AST’s statement on the Turkish teachers in Afghanistan : http://silencedturkey.org/missing-teachers-in-afghanistan

Read more on the situation of Turkish teachers in Afghanistan : http://silencedturkey.org/fate-of-four-afghan-turk-teachers-remains-uncertain
http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/12278-erdogan-s-long-shadow-reaches-g-len-s-schools-afghanistan

Download sample statement as a word document: AST_Letter_Teachers_in_Afghanistan

Download UPDATED (4/5/18) statement as a word document: AST_Sample_Letter-Afghanistan_Updated_4/5/18

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

1. Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan
Twitter: @ashrafghani
Phone: 0202104444, 0202104445
(Can be reached through the Acting Spokesperson for the President’s Office)

Shah Hussain Murtazawi, Acting Spokesperson for the President’s Office
Phone: +93 (0) 728 998 907
Email: murtazawi84@yahoo.com

2. Salahuddin Rabbani. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Address: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Malek Asghar St. Kabul, Afghanistan
Phone: 0093 (0) 20 2100372, 0093 (0) 20 2100371
Email: info@mfa.af
Twitter: @mfa_afghanistan
http://mfa.gov.af/en/form/contactus

3. Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States
Address: Embassy of Afghanistan, 2341 Wyoming Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202-483-6410
Fax: 202-483-6488
Twitter: @hmohib
info@afghanembassy.ushttps://www.afghanembassy.us/contact-us/

4. Mahmoud SAIKAL, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New York
Address: 633 Third Avenue Floor 27A, New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-972 1212
Fax: 212-972 1216
@AfghanMissionUN
info@afghanistan-un.org

5. U.S. Embassy Kabul
Phone: (00 93) (0)700-10-8000
Fax: (00 93) (0)700-108-564
@USEmbassyKabul
KabulACS@state.gov

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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

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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/

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UN expert says deeply concerned by rise in torture allegations in Turkey

GENEVA (27 February 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, expressed serious concerns about the rising allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in Turkish police custody since the end of his official visit to the country in December 2016.

Melzer said he was alarmed by allegations that large numbers of individuals suspected of links to the Gülenist Movement or the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party were exposed to brutal interrogation techniques aimed at extracting forced confessions or coercing detainees to incriminate others.

Reported abuse included severe beatings, electrical shocks, exposure to icy water, sleep deprivation, threats, insults and sexual assault.

The Special Rapporteur said no serious measures appeared to have been taken by the authorities to investigate these allegations or to hold perpetrators accountable.

Instead, complaints asserting torture were allegedly dismissed by the prosecutor citing a ‘state of emergency decree (Article 9 of Decree no. 667)’ which reportedly exempts public officials from criminal responsibility for acts undertaken in the context of the state of emergency.

“The human right to be free from torture and other ill-treatment is absolute and non-derogable, and continues to apply in all situations of political instability or any other public emergency,” the Special Rapporteur said. No circumstances, however exceptional and well argued, can ever justify torture or any form of impunity for such abuse.

“Torture is not only a notoriously ineffective interrogation method, but it constitutes the most fundamental assault on human dignity and is invariably listed among the most serious international crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Melzer said by inviting his mandate to visit the country in December 2016, soon after an attempted coup, the Government had demonstrated its commitment to its official “zero tolerance” policy on torture.

“However, the authorities’ failure to publicly condemn torture and ill-treatment, and to enforce the universal prohibition of such abuse in daily practice seems to have fostered a climate of impunity, complacency and acquiescence which gravely undermines that prohibition and, ultimately, the rule of law,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur also said he remained keen to engage in a “direct and constructive dialogue” with the Turkish authorities to achieve full implementation of the prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.

Source:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22718&LangID=E

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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

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