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

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 a word document: AST_Letter_Teachers_in_Afghanistan

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEWS ARTICLES ON THIS SUBJECT:

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

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

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

Images of the articles in Turkish:

Read more