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Erdogan regime

Warning Against Senior Turkish Aide’s Abduction Threats in US

On September 25, 2018 Erdogan’s Long Arms Aiming to Reach US Territory

Turkey Seeks to Target Erdogan Opponents on US Soil

Turkey’s long-running campaign to target and capture political opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan living abroad has taken a new turn after his spokesman threatened to conduct operations in the U.S., similar to the ones which took place in Moldova, Ukraine, Kosovo, Malaysia, Gabon and a number of other countries.

Ankara’s indulgence in risky and bold operations, in clear disregard and violation of international norms, have already aroused controversy and a state of tension with its allies and the countries where such kidnappings or captures occurred. As recently as in September, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) snatched a group of Turkish teachers critical of the Erdogan government from Moldova after collaboration with the local security agency.

Almost all incidents, without an exception, have stirred political controversy and intense partisan bickering among political parties within countries where Ankara’s long arms involved in controversial security operations to target opponents, mostly affiliated with Gulen Movement, a banned civil society group in Turkey.

Turkey’s assertive and robust push to get Gulen-linked people shows no signs of receding. And after Ibrahim Kalin, President Erdogan’s spokesman, stepped in to declare that Turkey may conduct similar operations on the U.S. soil as well, things would stumble into an uncharted territory and would inject a new layer of uncertainty into an already perilous and tense relationship between the two NATO allies.

Speaking to reporters in Ankara in late September, Kalin vowed that the Turkish government would never relent its campaign against Gulen people. “They will feel Turkey breathing down their neck,” he said.

He went on to say: “Relevant units and institutions will continue their operations in countries where Gulen Movement operates, whether in the U.S. or another country. The Turkish Republic will not let them rest.”

Turkey’s authorities describe the Gulen Movement as a terrorist organization and ascribe the blame for the abortive 2016 coup to the movement, without offering a convincing evidence.

The presence of Fethullah Gulen, the inspired leader of the movement, in the U.S. territory remains a lasting source of friction between Ankara and Washington. Turkey’s numerous attempts and endless demands for the extradition of Gulen from the U.S. have yielded no result so far today. Although Ankara sent countless boxes of documents and dossiers supposedly containing evidence to Washington, the U.S. authorities did not budge their position.

The U.S. officials say Turkey has yet to offer tangible evidence linking Gulen to the coup.

While Turkey’s relentless pursuit of Gulen people in countries with weak rule of law and corrupt governments is a well-known phenomenon, the hint from a senior aide to Erdogan about a potential attempt to snatch people linked with the movement from the U.S. soil is a first of its kind.

This evidently illustrates the zeal and ambition of the Turkish government to get their opponents from anywhere else with little regard for diplomatic ramifications. It also clearly reveals that Ankara, otherwise unanimously and collectively condemned and pressured by its Western allies, would never abate its operations to target Gulen people, even in the U.S.

Kalin’s threat comes on the heels of an ongoing dispute regarding the continuing imprisonment of a U.S. pastor in Turkey. Erdogan already unveiled his plan for a potential prisoner swap to get Gulen back to Turkey in exchange of Pastor Andrew Brunson. But his proposal was bluntly rebuffed by the U.S. officials in 2017.

Kalin’s remarks appear as no mere speculation or wishful thinking. Rather, his statement points to the existence of determination and a certain course of policy on behalf of the Turkish government to haunt Gulen sympathizers in the U.S.

In 2017, the U.S. prosecutors revealed a scheme involving Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor of President Donald J. Trump, to spirit Gulen away from the U.S. territory. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, former Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, Turkish envoy to the U.S. and a former CIA chief were also present during the discussion of a plan to smuggle Gulen. Flynn also lobbied on behalf of Ankara for the extradition of Gulen.

Against this backdrop, Kalin’s threatening remarks have taken a special meaning and context. The Turkish government has already expertly versed in the business of overseas operations to capture Erdogan’s opponents. The U.S. authorities should keep an eye on this possibility and would remain alarmed in the face of threats for conducting similar operations on the U.S. soil.

We write you to emphasize our great concern about such threats and urge the U.S. authorities to seek clarification from the Turkish administration over Kalin’s threatening remarks. In this respect, the State Department may summon the Turkish Ambassador to the U.S. to demand further elaboration and elucidation of Kalin’s remarks.

Separately, we request from the U.S. law enforcement agencies to pay extra attention to the situation and keep a closer eye on any suspicious moves or acts of pro-Erdogan Turks living in the U.S. with regard to the security and wellbeing of Gulen Movement sympathizers across the U.S.

Download this statement as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Warning-Against-Senior-Turkish-Aide’s-Abduction-Threats-in-US.docx

We request from the U.S. authorities to pay extra attention to this situation in the U.S. with regard to the security and wellbeing of Gulen Movement sympathizers across the U.S.

Download the sample letter for your local authorities as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Senator-Letter.docx

You can find your U.S Senator from the link below.

https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

You can find your U.S Representatives from the link below.

https://www.house.gov/representatives

We also request from the U.S. law enforcement agencies to pay extra attention to the situation and keep a closer eye on any suspicious moves or acts of pro-Erdogan Turks living in the U.S. with regard to the security and wellbeing of Gulen Movement sympathizers across the U.S.

Download the sample letter for your local Law Enforcement authorities as a word document:

http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/To-Law-Enforcement-Officials.docx

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

1)Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Phone: +1 (202) 612-6700
Email: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr
Twitter: @TurkishEmbassy
Website: http://washington.emb.mfa.gov.tr/Mission

2) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

3) U.S. Department of State
Phone: (202) 647-6575
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/

4) Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States
Phone: 202-456-6213
Email: vice.president@whitehouse.gov
Twitter: @VP

5) Senator Cory Booker
Phone: (202) 224-3224
Fax: (202) 224-8378
Email: https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=contact
Twitter:@SenBooker

6)Human Rights Watch U.S.
Phone: +1-212-290-4700
Email: hrwpress@hrw.org
Website: https://www.hrw.org/united-states

7) Dana Tyrone Rohrabacher, House of Representatives
Phone: (202) 225-2415
Twitter: @RepRohrabacher, @DanaRohrabacher
Email: https://rohrabacher.house.gov/contact

News articles on the raid:

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/turkey-will-conduct-operations-against-erdogan-s-enemies-u-s-n912996

https://dailycaller.com/2018/09/24/erdogan-operations-america/

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-us/turkish-presidents-spokesman-threatens-operations-against-opponents-us-soil

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1022726/turkey-news-Recep-Tayyip-Erdogan-Fethullah-Gulen-FETO-Ibrahim-Kalin-pensylvania-USA

https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/09/23/turkey-says-operations-targeting-gulen-movement-could-extend-to-us/

https://theregion.org/article/13128-turkey-threatens-to-target-dissidents-abroad-039-anytime-anywhere-039

Ibrahim Kalin’s threatening video

Ibrahim Kalin’s threatening video

Read more

Urgent action about detainments of six Turkish educationists in Moldova

On September 6, 2018 six Turkish nationals in Moldova were detained. SIS agents of Moldova conducted the detainment of Vice Director and five educationists in Orizont Moldovan-Turkish Educational Institutions early hours in the morning. The detainees’ names were affirmed as Riza Dogan, Hasan Karacaoglu, Yasin Ozdil, Mujdat Celebi, Huseyin Bayraktar and Feridun Tufekci. The wife of Hasan Karacaoglu, the Vice director, stated that they have been living in Moldova for 20 years. Except Huseyin Bayraktar, five of the detainees are asylum seekers who are supposed to be granted by the end of September.

Additionally; the director of Orizont Schools, Turgay Sen, was detained without
any explanation in March 2018 and released in April after applying for asylum.

It is internationally known that Turkish government tracks the Gulen followers or sympathizers who have been targeted oppressively since the failed coup attempt. Abductions, detainments and deportations take place in such countries where rule of law and democracy are not applied. And Turkish government urges those countries to implement these illegal actions. Given the recent abduction cases in different countries such as Mongolia, Kosovo, Ukraine, Malaysia, Kirghizistan, Pakistan and also threats of deportation to Turkey where a fair trial is not likely nowadays and there is fear of torture; an urgent action to release these people and to provide protection for them is extremely vital.

As reported by families of detainees and local media resources, the lawyers are not allowed to communicate with them. Amnesty International Moldova Director Cristina Pereteatcu stated that a possible deportation would be taken into consideration. It was also reported that the operation was conducted by SIS Antiterror agents which means judicial authorities are not involved in the case. Whereabouts of detainees is still unknown. The Minister of Justice stated that Moldova could be exposed to penalty by ECHR because of the detainment and possible deportation of Turkish educationists.

We write you today to emphasize our great concern about the detainment and prospective extradition of these six educationists and also to request to take urgent action from the Government of Moldova to release and provide protection of human rights of them along with all other Hizmet movement affiliated people.

Sincerely,

Download sample statement as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Moldova-case.docx

Download AST statement signed by AST spokesperson Hafsa Yildiz as a pdf document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Moldova-case.pdf

Download Letter of the European Parliament Members as a pdf document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/letter-for-co-signature-Turkish-teachers-deported.pdf

Download Letter of the Arrested Lawyers Initiative as a pdf document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/LETTER.pdf

Download Letter of the London Advocacy Group as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Turkish-regime-continues-with-the-witch-hunt-in-Moldova.docx

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

1) Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, U.S. Helsinki Commission
Phone: 202-225-1901
Fax: 202-226-4199
Email: INFO@CSCE.GOV
Twitter: @HelsinkiComm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helsinkicommission/

Chairman: Senator Roger F. Wicker
Address and Contact:
555 Dirksen 555 Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-6253 |Fax: (202) 228-0378 | Twitter: @SenatorWicker
Email: senator@wicker.senate.gov

Co-Chairman: Representative Christopher H. Smith
Washington DC Office: 2373 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3765 | Fax: (202) 225-7768 | Twitter: @RepChrisSmith
https://chrissmith.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm

2) Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
Phone: +1 (202) 225-3599
Fax: +1 (202) 226-5887
Email: TLHRC@mail.house.gov
Twitter: @TLHumanRights

3) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

4) The European Court of Human Rights Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg cedex
Phone: +33 (0)3 88 41 20 18
Fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 27 30

Mr. Günter SCHIRMER
Head of the Secretariat
Phone: +33/3 88.41.2809
Email: guenter.schirmer@coe.int

5) U.S. Department of State
Phone: (202) 647-6575
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/

6) Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States
Phone: 202-456-6213
Email: vice.president@whitehouse.gov
Twitter: @VP

7) Senator Cory Booker
Phone: (202) 224-3224
Fax: (202) 224-8378
Email: https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=contact
Twitter:@SenBooker

8) Moldova Contacts

petitii@prm.md ( Moldova President – Petitions Department )

secdep@mfa.md ( Foreign Affairs )

secretariat@justice.gov.md (Minister of Justice )

https://gov.md/en/content/write-prime-minister ( prime minister link to e-mail )

washington@mfa.md ( Moldova Embassy in U.S.)

9) Permanent Mission of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations

Phone: (212) 447-1867
Fax: (212) 447-4067
E-mail: NEW-YORK@mfa.md ,
unmoldova@mfa.md(preferred)

News articles on the raid:

https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/09/06/world/europe/06reuters-moldova-turkey

http://protv.md/stiri/actualitate/directul-liceului-moldo-turc-orizont-si-alte-cinci-persoane-retinute—2338911

https://www.ziarulnational.md/ultima-ora-cinci-angajati-ai-retelei-de-licee-orizont-din-r-moldova-retinuti-in-aceasta-dimineata-fie-de-acasa-fie-in-timp-ce-se-indreptau-spre-scoala-la-unii-au-daramat-usa-de-la-apartamente-nimeni-nu-stie-unde-i-au-dus/

http://www.tr724.com/insan-kacirma-simdi-de-moldovada

https://dtj-online.de/entfuehrung-von-bildungsaktivisten-in-moldawien-111876

http://proderechos.org/el-largo-brazo-de-erdogan-se-extiende-a-europa

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/six-turkish-professors-detained-by-moldovan-secret-services-09-06-2018

https://unimedia.info/stiri/pas–despre-retinerea-celor-sase-persoane-de-la-liceul-orizont-statul-republica-moldova-a-decis–in-schimbul-banilor-pentru-reconstructia-cladirii-presedintelui—sa-calce-in-picioare-drepturile-omului-161125

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/en/originals/2018/09/turkish-teachers-detained-moldova-gulen

http://www.jurnal.md/ro/news/0d7c66fbbbe738e5/amnesty-despre-retinerile-ilicite-de-la-orizont-sis-expune-acesti-oameni-unui-pericol-iminent-de-tortura.html

Social media posts on the raid:

Intreaga conducere a Liceului “Orizont” din Chisinau (6 persoane), liceu apartinand de reteaua liceelor “Lumina”,…

Posted by Rares Bogdan on Thursday, September 6, 2018

Poftim! retinerea unuia din directorii liceului "Orizont", impreuna cu copilul lui.

Posted by Cristina Pereteatcu on Wednesday, September 5, 2018

La Aeroport cerem stoparea vânzărilor de oameni!

Posted by Partidul Acțiune și Solidaritate on Thursday, September 6, 2018

Videos on the abduction of Teachers in Moldova:

Moldovian Student who is in protests at the Airport

Moldovian student who was in the same car when the kidnapping happened

Set him free!! call, from Riza Dogan’s kids

Set him free!! call, from Yasin Ozdil’s daughter

Moldovian parent explain the abduction of Turkish teachers

Set him free!! call, from the daughter

Read more

Afghan security forces raided Afghan-Turk High School at the request of Turkish government

Afghan-Turk Boys High School in Shibirghan was raided by members of the Afghan security forces under the command of Uzbek leader Abdul Rashid Dostum, controversial First Vice President of Afghanistan, early July 28,2018 morning. Afghan security forces detained Turkish teachers, dozens of students and their parents in order to seize the school at the request of the Turkish government.

Local sources indicate that the school has been surrounded and shut down by the militias of the Dostum. The school administration notes that no legal justification has been provided. Governor of Jowzjan province and the police chief joined the raid at 6:00 AM local time.

The Turkish government has pressured the government of Afghanistan to either shut down or transfer ownership of the Afghan-Turk Schools to the Maarif Foundation which is affiliated to and supported by the Turkish government. The Afghan-Turk schools were founded by Gulen inspired Turkish businessmen and teachers in 1995. Despite all the difficulties in the region, the schools have continued to maintain its services believing that education is the only way to overcome those difficulties. Gulen Movement affiliated schools in Afghanistan operated under Afghan-Turk ÇAĞ Educational NGO, have won 875 awards in international science Olympiads from 2003 through 2016 — 278 gold, 287 silver, and 310 bronze medals.

We would like to emphasize that this raid is not an isolated incident. Turkish officials and the Turkish Embassy in Kabul have continuously targeted the schools and its staff over the past few years. The unlawful and politically motivated measures taken within recent months against the Afghan-Turk Schools have been perpetuated by the Turkish government.

It is apparent that the prior abductions and human rights violations by the Turkish government would conclude with taking over the schools abroad and asking extraditions of all the Turkish teachers in these schools to Turkey.

As the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we strongly request your assistance to remind the Afghan authorities to respect democratic values and resist the pressures from Turkey. We urge immediate and necessary action to stop the crackdown on the Afghan-Turk schools.

Download sample statement as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AST_Letter_Afghan-Turk-school-raid.docx

Download AST statement signed by AST spokesperson Hafsa Yildiz as a pdf document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AST_Letter_Afghan-Turk-school-raid.pdf

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

1) Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, U.S. Helsinki Commission
Phone: 202-225-1901
Fax: 202-226-4199
Email: INFO@CSCE.GOV
Twitter: @HelsinkiComm
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helsinkicommission/

Chairman: Senator Roger F. Wicker
Address and Contact:
555 Dirksen 555 Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510
Main: (202) 224-6253 |Fax: (202) 228-0378 | Twitter: @SenatorWicker
Email: senator@wicker.senate.gov

Co-Chairman: Representative Christopher H. Smith
Washington DC Office: 2373 Rayburn House Office Building Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-3765 | Fax: (202) 225-7768 | Twitter: @RepChrisSmith
https://chrissmith.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm

2) Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission
Phone: +1 (202) 225-3599
Fax: +1 (202) 226-5887
Email: TLHRC@mail.house.gov
Twitter: @TLHumanRights

3) Congressional Afghan Caucus
Phone: +1 (202) 225-2411
Fax: +1 (202) 225-2013
Federal Caucus Member: Pete King, pete.king@mail.house.gov,
Federal Caucus Member: Bill Pascrell, bill.pascrell@mail.house.gov

4) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

5) The European Court of Human Rights Council of Europe
F-67075 Strasbourg cedex
Phone: +33 (0)3 88 41 20 18
Fax: +33 (0)3 88 41 27 30

Mr. Günter SCHIRMER
Head of the Secretariat
Phone: +33/3 88.41.2809
Email: guenter.schirmer@coe.int

6) U.S. Department of State
Phone: (202) 647-6575
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/

7) Mike Pence, Vice President of the United States
Phone: 202-456-6213
Email: vice.president@whitehouse.gov
Twitter: @VP

8) Senator Cory Booker
Phone: (202) 224-3224
Fax: (202) 224-8378
Email: https://www.booker.senate.gov/?p=contact
Twitter:@SenBooker

News articles on the raid:

https://dtj-online.de/afghanistan-polizei-will-hizmet-schule-einnehmen-111781

https://stockholmcf.org/afghan-security-forces-raided-afghan-turk-boys-high-school-in-shibirghan/

https://turkeypurge.com/afghan-police-wait-outside-gulen-affiliated-high-school-in-shibirghan-to-detain-teachers-at-turkeys-request

Social media posts on the raid:

ی جوزجان خون آلود شدن صورت یکتن از اولیای شاگردان توسط نیرو های امنیتی مربوط به والی

در یورش امروز نیرو های امنیتی مربوط به والی جوزجان به مکتب افغان-ترک شبرغان، در اثر سنگ های که از بواسطه موتر آبپاش به صورت یکتن از والدین برخورد نمود، صورت ایشان خون آلود شد.ARG – ارگAshraf GhaniDr. Abdullah Abdullahریاست عمومی دفتر مقام عالی ریاست جمهوریریاست اجراییه جمهوری اسلامی افغانستاندفتر شورای امنیت ملیوزارت امور داخله – د کورنیو چارو وزارتMohammad Haneef AtmarUNICEF Afghanistanلوی څارنوالی – AGODirectorate of NGOs ریاست انجوها وزارت اقتصادUNHCR, the UN Refugee AgencyBBC NewsThe New York TimesReutersWashington PostCNN International

Posted by QATRA TV AF on Saturday, July 28, 2018

https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=441994122952060&id=101711293647013

https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=441928086291997&id=101711293647013

شکستاندن دروازه مکتب افغان-ترک توسط نیرو های امنیتی مربوط به والی جوزجان

شکستاندن دروازه مکتب افغان-ترک شبرغان توسط نیرو های امنیتی مربوط به والی جوزجانARG – ارگAshraf GhaniDr. Abdullah Abdullahریاست عمومی دفتر مقام عالی ریاست جمهوریریاست اجراییه جمهوری اسلامی افغانستاندفتر شورای امنیت ملیوزارت امور داخله – د کورنیو چارو وزارتMohammad Haneef AtmarUNICEF Afghanistanلوی څارنوالی – AGODirectorate of NGOs ریاست انجوها وزارت اقتصادUNHCR, the UN Refugee AgencyBBC NewsThe New York TimesReutersWashington PostCNN International

Posted by QATRA TV AF on Saturday, July 28, 2018

Previous AST coverage on Afghan-Turk schools:

http://silencedturkey.org/turkish_teachers_afghanistan

http://silencedturkey.org/int-witch-hunt-afghan-turkish-teachers

http://silencedturkey.org/fate-of-four-afghan-turk-teachers-remains-uncertain

http://silencedturkey.org/missing-teachers-in-afghanistan

Read more

Turkey’s MIT abducted Veysel Akçay in Mongolia

Veysel Akçay, the General Director of the schools affiliated with the Gülen movement in Mongolia who has lived in Mongolia for over 24 years, was abducted by Turkey’s notorious National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) Friday morning (7/27/18) in front of his house in the capital city Ulan Bator.

It was reported that a private jet plane is waiting at the Ulan Bator Airport to transfer Akçay to Turkey. Akçay, who has worked at the educational institutions in Mongolia for 24 years, is reportedly one of a few Turkish nationals possessing the Mongolian Friendship Medal bestowed by Mongolian State.

New York-based Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF) said that on Friday, at 9:00 am (local time in Mongolia) Veysel Akçay left his home to his workplace at the Empathy Worldwide Educational Institution. According to eyewitnesses (and CCTV recordings), he was stopped by a minibus in front of his house and abducted by people working on behalf of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

As it is known Turkish government has been taking strict measures to silence dissidents from various ideologies. Gulen/Hizmet Movement has been the main target of the government, which is a faith-based group of people engaging in different voluntary activities such as education, business and health. Alleged supporters of the Movement in Turkey have been dealing with arrest, imprisonment, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, confiscation and passport seizure. There are many examples of abductions and physical violence incidents in several countries like Sudan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Georgia, Myanmar, Kosovo and Malaysia.

According to a statement made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, over 100 alleged members of the Gülen movement have been abducted by MİT agents abroad and brought back to Turkey as part of the Turkish government’s global manhunt.

Around 12 AM Eastern Time (5-6 hours after abduction), Meryem Akcay announced that her husband Veysel Akcay has returned home safely. Resistance from citizens and politicians has prevented the illegal transfer to Turkey. We thank the Mongolian government and officials for resisting the illegal transfer of Veysel Akcay, showing careful attention to the situation and standing firmly for the rule of law. We urge the Mongolian government to investigate Veysel Akcay’s case, open a legal case against MIT officials and other people who engaged in this illegal act, and ensure the safety of Gulen sympathizers in Mongolia.

Download sample statement as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AST_Letter-Veysel-Akcay-3.docx

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

1) President of Mongolia, Battulga Khaltmaa
Website: https://president.mn/en/
Email Address: https://president.mn/en/contact-us/
Phone: +976 99116118
Fax: +976 51261273
Twitter handle: @BattulgaKh

2) Prime Minister of Mongolia, Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh
Wesbite: http://zasag.mn/en/
Phone: +976 99113937
Twitter handle: @UKhurelsukh

3) Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia
Website: http://consul.mn/eng/contact.php
Email Address: dep10@mfa.gov.mn
Phone: +976-51-262282
Fax: +976-11-322127
Twitter handle: @MFA_Mongolia

4) Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations
Website: https://www.un.int/mongolia/
Email Address: mongolianmission@twcmetrobiz.com
Phone: +1 (212) 861-9460, +1 (212) 472-6517
Fax: +1 (212) 861-9464
Twitter handle: @nymongolia

5) Embassy of Mongolia to the United States
Website: http://mongolianembassy.us/contact-us/#.W1sqYNhKg_U
Email Address: washington@mfa.gov.mn
Phone: +1 202-333-7117
Fax: +1 202-298-9227
Twitter handle: @MGLEmbassy_USA

6) The delegation of the European Union to Mongolia
Head of the Delegation: Mr. Traian Laurentiu Hristea
Email Address: DELEGATION-MONGOLIA@eeas.europa.eu

News articles on the abduction of Veysel Akcay:

https://stockholmcf.org/mit-abducts-veysel-akcay-general-director-of-schools-affiliated-with-gulen-movement-in-mongolia/

https://dtj-online.de/bildungsaktivist-deutscher-schulen-in-mongolei-auf-befehl-erdogans-entfuehrt-111772

https://ikon.mn/n/1ci3

http://mongolcom.mn/read/52090

Social media posts on the abduction of Veysel Akcay:

https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2023664780986591&id=100000292673421

Videos on the abduction of Veysel Akcay:

AST Spokesperson Hafsa Yildiz on the abduction of Veysel Akcay

Veysel Akcay’s wife explain the abduction

Locals explain the abduction of Veysel Akcay-1

Locals explain the abduction of Veysel Akcay-2

Locals explain the abduction of Veysel Akcay-3

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Turkish family missing in Evros river after trying to escape from Erdogan’s persecution

Victims of Erdogan’s regime are increasing every day, as there has not been an effective mechanism to prevent him. In Turkey, thousands of families and tens of thousands of people had to leave their country soon after the failed coup attempt on July, 15, 2016. 151,967 people were dismissed from their jobs, 136,995 people were detained, 77,524 were arrested.

A group of 11 people including the Akçabay family tried to escape from political persecution in Turkey on July 18, 2018. Their rubber dinghy boat crashed into something like a rock and it later overturned.

Murat Akcabay said “At the time my wife went adrift and then held on to a branch. I shouted to her, ‘Don’t let go of the branch, I will rescue you.’ While I was trying to fight the waves, I saw she wasn’t in the same place. I repeatedly shouted, but I never heard her voice again”. Murat Akcabay said his wife, Hatice Akcabay, and three sons (seven-year-old Ahmet Esat, five-year-old Mesut, and one-year-old Aras) were missing after their boat capsized in the Evros River on Wednesday night.

Early Friday, June 20, 2018, It was reported that 36 years old Hatice Akçabay and her 1-year-old Bekir Aras found dead, while search and rescue operation is still ongoing for 7-years-old Ahmet Esat, 5-years-old Mesut. Murat Akcabay had noted that 7-years-old Ahmet was wearing a life vest. Turkish villagers said that they saw a child in Greece coast. There is still hope that Ahmet and his brother Mesut may be still alive.

Turkish police also detained Yunus Akçabay, the uncle of the missing children, who was trying to find his lost nephews and their mother. No accusations against him were made by police. The Turkish police also prohibit civilians from searching for the missing two children.

Advocates of Silenced Turkey calls on all the international and non-governmental human rights organizations to raise awareness about the drowned Akcabay family and also to take immediate action as regards the problems in Turkey to prevent other families and children from suffering as such. We hope the situation in Turkey will get better for those in Turkey and abroad who are oppressed by the ruling government of Turkey.

Download sample statement as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AST_Letter-Akcabay-Family..docx

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

1) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

2) Human Rights Watch
Twitter: @hrw
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumanRightsWatch
NY Address:350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

Emma Daly, Communications Director
Tel: +1-212-216-1835
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

3) Human Rights Foundation
Twitter: @HRF
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humanrightsfoundation/
New York Address:350 5th Ave., #4515 New York, NY, 10001
Phone Number: (212) 246-8486

4) Freedom House
Twitter: @FreedomHouseDC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomHouseDC
info@freedomhouse.org
Phone: 202-296-5101
Fax: 202-293-2840

Annie Boyajian, Advocacy Manager
boyajian@freedomhouse.org

5) Amnesty International
Twitter: @amnestyusa
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amnestyusa
report@aiusa.org

6) International Federation for Houman Rights
Twitter: @fidh_en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FIDH.HumanRights
FIDH AT THE UN (NEW-YORK)
110 East 42nd street, Suite 1309 NY 10017 New-York
Phone Number: 001 646 395 7103

7) International Court of Justice
Email: information@icj-cij.org
Phone: (+31) 70 302 23 23
Fax: (+31) 70 364 99 28
Twitter: @CIJ_ICJ
Website: http://www.icj-cij.org/en

News articles on Akcabay Family:

http://www.euronews.com/2018/07/20/family-missing-after-boat-capsizes-on-the-evros-river

https://turkeypurge.com/bodies-of-turkish-mother-one-year-old-son-found-in-evros-river-report

https://turkey.theglobepost.com/mother-kids-missing-evros-river/

http://www.politurco.com/another-family-has-gone-missing-in-evros-river-trying-to-escape-from-erdogans-persecution.html

https://stockholmcf.org/4-people-trying-to-escape-persecution-in-turkey-missing-after-boat-capsizes-in-evros-river/

Tweets on Akcabay Family:

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Torture and Suspicious Deaths in Turkish Prisons

Turkish prisons have turned into death houses during the Erdoğan regime. Stockholm Center for Freedom has tried to record people who died since 15 July 2018 in Turkey to the extent it is possible. SCF has compiled 117 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format. Among these people, there are teachers, academicians, volunteers for philanthropic organizations, businessmen, engineers, and doctors.

On July 1st, 2018, Zeki Güven, the former intelligence chief of the Ankara Police Department who was arrested by a Turkish court in May as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, was found dead in his bed at Sincan No 1 F Type Prison. According to the official statement, Zeki Güven allegedly died from a heart attack; however, given the previous incidents and deaths in Turkish prisons, his death is being viewed as suspicious. Other suspicious deaths in the prison have been listed as ‘died due to heart attack’. None of them received detailed autopsies from independent institutions. Nonetheless, Güven did not have any known medical condition. His friends have noted that he never smoked and took well care of his body. Thus, Güven, who went to prison in perfect health died in prison because of a “heart attack” right before his hearing is quite suspicious. Güven is not the first and will not be the last who has died in the prison.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment visited Turkey in November 2016 and found that torture was widespread following the failed coup, particularly at the time of arrest and subsequent detention. 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. The 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.

Families of the jailed individuals such as Yurt Atayün (former head of İstanbul antiterror division), Ahmet Altan (working journalist for more than twenty years), Taner Kilic (Amnesty’s Turkey director), and many other individuals are worried that their loved one may be the next victim.

We wholeheartedly condemn the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Turkish prisons and detention centers. We urge Turkish authorities to stop torture and ill-treatment, and obey United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT).

Download sample statement as a word document: AST_Letter-Torture-and-Suspicious-deaths-in-prisons-2

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement below to following relevant Turkish authorities.

1. Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Justice
Website: http://www.justice.gov.tr
Email Address: info@adalet.gov.tr
Phone: +90 (0312) 417 77 70
Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70

2. Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Website: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/
Contact form: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/contact-us.en.mfa
Phone: +90 (312) 292 10 00

3. Union of Turkish Bar Associations
Website: https://www.barobirlik.org.tr
Email Address: barobirlik@barobirlik.org.tr
Phone: +90 (312) 292 59 00
Fax: +90 (312) 286 31 00

4. Presidency of the Constitutional Court
Website: http://www.anayasa.gov.tr
Email Address: bilgi@anayasa.gov.tr
Phone: +90 (312) 463 73 00
Fax: +90 (312) 463 74 00

5. Court of Cassation
Website: https://www.yargitay.gov.tr
Email Address: iletisim@yargitay.gov.tr
Phone: +90 (312) 416 10 00

6. Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C.
Website: http://vasington.be.mfa.gov.tr/Mission
Email Address: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr
Phone: +1 202 612 67 00
Fax: +1 202 612 67 44

News and reports of torture in Turkish prison:

Erdogan regime started executions in prisons after the elections (July 2018)

AST report on cruel and unusual punishments in Turkey (April 2018)

UN Report on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in Turkey, including an update on the South-East (March 2018)

Tortured to death; holding Gökhan Açıkkollu’s killers to account

Stockholm Center for Freedom report on suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkish prisons (March 2017)

Platform for Peace and Justice’s comprehensive report on the prison conditions in Turkey (2017)

Human Rights Watch’s report, “In custody: police torture and abductions in Turkey” (2017)

Take a look at Stockholm Center for Freedom’s updated list of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey (as of July 1st, 2018):
https://stockholmcf.org/suspicious-deaths-and-suicides-in-turkey-updated-list/

Videos:

Yurt Atayün’s daughters are worried for the health of their father. Yurt Atayün was the former head of İstanbul antiterror division and has been in prison for 4 years & now is in solitary confinement for 6 months.

Read more

Torture and Suspicious Deaths in Turkish Prisons

On July 1st, 2018, Zeki Güven, the former intelligence chief of the Ankara Police Department who was arrested by a Turkish court in May as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, was found dead in his bed at Sincan No 1 F Type Prison. According to the official statement, Zeki Güven allegedly died from a heart attack; however, given the previous incidents and deaths in Turkish prisons, his death is being viewed as suspicious. Other suspicious deaths in the prison have been listed as ‘died due to heart attack’. None of them received detailed autopsies from independent institutions. Nonetheless, Güven did not have any known medical condition. His friends have noted that he never smoked and took well care of his body. Thus, Güven, who went to prison in perfect health died in prison because of a “heart attack” right before his hearing is quite suspicious.

Turkish prisons have turned into death houses during the Erdoğan regime. Güven is not the first and will not be the last who has died in the prison. Stockholm Center for Freedom has tried to record people who died since 15 July 2018 in Turkey to the extent it is possible. SCF has compiled 117 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format. Among these people, there are teachers, academicians, volunteers for philanthropic organizations, businessmen, engineers, and doctors.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment visited Turkey in November 2016 and found that torture was widespread following the failed coup, particularly at the time of arrest and subsequent detention. 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. The 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.

Families of the jailed individuals such as Yurt Atayün (former head of İstanbul antiterror division), Ahmet Altan (working journalist for more than twenty years), Taner Kilic (Amnesty’s Turkey director), and many other individuals are worried that their loved one may be the next victim.

We wholeheartedly condemn the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Turkish prisons and detention centers. We urge Turkish authorities to stop torture and ill-treatment, and obey United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT).

Download sample statement as a word document:
http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AST_Letter-Torture-and-Suspicious-deaths-in-prisons.docx

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

1) U.S. Department of State
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Phone: (202) 647-6575
Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/

2) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

3) Human Rights Watch
Twitter: @hrw
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumanRightsWatch
NY Address:350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

Emma Daly, Communications Director
Tel: +1-212-216-1835
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

4) Human Rights Foundation
Twitter: @HRF
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humanrightsfoundation/
New York Address:350 5th Ave., #4515 New York, NY, 10001
Phone Number: (212) 246-8486

5) Freedom House
Twitter: @FreedomHouseDC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomHouseDC
info@freedomhouse.org
Phone: 202-296-5101
Fax: 202-293-2840

Annie Boyajian, Advocacy Manager
boyajian@freedomhouse.org

6) Amnesty International
Twitter: @amnestyusa
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amnestyusa
report@aiusa.org

7) International Federation for Houman Rights
Twitter: @fidh_en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FIDH.HumanRights
FIDH AT THE UN (NEW-YORK)
110 East 42nd street, Suite 1309 NY 10017 New-York
Phone Number: 001 646 395 7103

8) International Court of Justice
Email: information@icj-cij.org
Phone: (+31) 70 302 23 23
Fax: (+31) 70 364 99 28
Twitter: @CIJ_ICJ
Website: http://www.icj-cij.org/en

News and reports of torture in Turkish prison:

Erdogan regime started executions in prisons after the elections (July 2018)

AST report on cruel and unusual punishments in Turkey (April 2018)

UN Report on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in Turkey, including an update on the South-East (March 2018)

Tortured to death; holding Gökhan Açıkkollu’s killers to account

Stockholm Center for Freedom report on suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkish prisons (March 2017)

Platform for Peace and Justice’s comprehensive report on the prison conditions in Turkey (2017)

Human Rights Watch’s report, “In custody: police torture and abductions in Turkey” (2017)

Take a look at Stockholm Center for Freedom’s updated list of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey (as of July 1st, 2018):
https://stockholmcf.org/suspicious-deaths-and-suicides-in-turkey-updated-list/

Videos:

Yurt Atayün’s daughters are worried for the health of their father. Yurt Atayün was the former head of İstanbul antiterror division and has been in prison for 4 years & now is in solitary confinement for 6 months.

Read more

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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