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An int’l witch-hunt? ‘Four teachers working in the Afghan-Turkish schools were detained’

One Afghan and three Turkish teachers linked to the faith-based Gülen movement were detained by Afghan intelligence officials on Tuesday, Reuters reported.

The move against Afghan Turk CAG Educational NGO (ATCE), the organization that runs the schools, appeared to be part of a witch-hunt being waged on followers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016.

The ATCE, which says it is an independent organization, runs schools in several cities including the capital, Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar and Herat and has been in Afghanistan since 1995.

“Around 7 am, four of our teachers traveling in two different cars were picked up by [Afghan intelligence],” said ATCE Chairman Numan Erdoğan.

Other intelligence officials later went to the group’s girls school nearby looking for another teacher, he said.

He said the men presented themselves as members of the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, according to Reuters.

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Afghanistan’s Intelligence Agency Released Four Teachers of Afghan-Turk School

NDS Releases Four Teachers of Afghan-Turk School
“Afghanistan’s intelligence agency has released four teachers of Afghan-Turk School including three Turkish and one Afghan national in Kabul, officials confirmed on Sunday. The Attorney General’s Office, however, did not elaborate on the reasons behind the detention of the teachers, but stressed that the released individuals will be under “serious” supervision of the security forces.”
https://ariananews.af/nds-releases-four-teachers-of-afghan-turk-school/

NEWS ARTICLES ON THIS SUBJECT:

http://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/fate-two-turkish-nationals-unknown
Fate of Two Turkish Nationals Unknown
The fate of two teachers – both Turkish nationals – of the Afghan-Turk school in Kabul who were detained by the National Directorate of Security (NDS) last week, remains unknown.Sources say the government has confiscated the passports of family members of the two teachers. Meanwhile, the Attorney General Office (AGO) said three teachers of Afghan-Turk schools, two Turks and one Afghan national, were freed on Sunday. Earlier the Turkish government had urged Afghanistan to hand over the teachers, but the AGO said the two Turks and one Afghan national who were freed are not on Turkish government’s list. “An order has been issued to free them and make arrangements for their safe and secure release,” AGO spokesman Jamshed Rasuli said. Parents of Afghan-Turk students have meanwhile asked the Afghan government to make clear for what allegations the teachers were detained and also to respond to questions on why the security forces raided on an Afghan-Turk school in Kabul. “We want the government to investigate NDS’s raid on an Afghan-Turk female school in Kabul,” Sediqullah Tawhidi, a member of Afghan-Turk students’ parents’ committee, said. The AGO said they are investigating the NDS raid on the Afghan-Turk school in Kabul. “The raid of the forces is under investigations to figure out if their actions were in line with the law or not,” Rasuli added.

http://ariananews.af/committee-lodges-complaint-to-ago-on-afghan-turk-school-raid-case/
Committee Lodges Complaint to AGO on Afghan-Turk School Raid Case
“The Afghan-Turk Students’ Parents Committee on Saturday submitted its complaint to the Attorney General Office over the “illegal” action of the security forces against the school in Kabul. The parents of students who were gathered at the Attorney General’s Office, urged investigation into the security forces’ raid on Afghan-Turk Girls school in Kabul.“We came here to submit our [complaint] letter, so the institutions which have taken this illegal action, get investigated,” said Yusuf Pashtun, Head of the Afghan-Turk Students’ Parents Committee.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZkgkin4ksc&feature=youtu.be
An int’l witch-hunt? ‘Four teachers working in the Afghan-Turkish schools were detained’

http://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/security-forces-detain-four-afghan-turk-school-teachers
Security Forces Detain Four Afghan-Turk School Teachers
Afghan security forces raided an Afghan-Turk female high school in Taimani area in Kabul on Tuesday evening and surrounded the school for at least three hours, students claimed.
“The National Directorate of Security operatives detained four teachers today (Tuesday) morning, who were on their way to an Afghan-Turk high school. We were informed that they were kidnapped. We thought the country’s enemies may have abducted them, but later we found out that the officers of the National Directorate Security have detained them,” said Yusuf Pashtun, member of the Afghan-Turk students’ parents association”

http://www.tolonews.com/index.php/afghanistan/parents-afghan-turk-students-lodge-complaint-against-nds
Parents Of Afghan-Turk Students To Lodge Complaint Against NDS
“Students’ parents said they will lodge complaint at the Attorney General’s Office against the National Directorate of Security (NDS) over detaining the teachers of Afghan-Turk schools.President Ghani’s spokesman says they apologize if the security forces’ act has worried the students or their parents. It is said that if Afghan government handover these individuals to Turkish government, it will be a move which happens for the first time in the country and will be an unprecedented act. Even at the end of the Second World War, Afghanistan did not accept to handover Nazi Germany diplomats to the conquerors of the war.”

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-afghanistan-turkey/turkish-teachers-linked-to-erdogan-foe-detained-in-afghanistan-idUKKBN1E621Z?il=0
Turkish teachers linked to Erdogan foe detained in Afghanistan
“One Afghan and three Turkish teachers linked to an organisation regarded with suspicion by the Turkish government were detained by Afghan intelligence officials on Tuesday, the organisation’s head said.The move against Afghan Turk CAG Educational NGO (ATCE), the body that runs the schools, appeared to be part of a Turkish campaign against followers of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric it accuses of being behind a coup attempt in July 2016 aimed at ousting President Tayyip Erdogan.ATCE, which says it is an independent organisation, runs schools in several cities including the capital, Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar and Herat and has been in Afghanistan since 1995.”

http://www.tolonews.com/afghanistan/fate-four-afghan-turk-teachers-remains-uncertain
Fate of Four Afghan-Turk Teachers Remains Uncertain After Raid by National Directorate of Security
Parents of Afghan-Turk school on Wednesday said the fate of the four teachers of Afghan-Turk girls school who have been held by the National Directorate of Security (NDS), is unknown. The NDS officials do not want to comment on the issue. Meanwhile, former government officials have strongly criticized last night’s raid by the security forces on the school, calling it a sort of “political levy” paid by the Afghan government to the Turkish government.They said that the raid by the NDS was totally against the law and that the government is exploiting the educational institution. But deputy presidential spokesman has said that the move was not politically motived and said it is legal action.Reacting to the raid, former NDS chief has described the move unprecedented in recent years. He said that move was a shame for the government. Former government officials have said that the government leaders are using the security forces as tools for their political objectives. “It was a politically motivated and unethical move,” said former deputy minister of education Sediq Patman. Sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, have said that a court in Turkey had ordered the arrest of three teachers of the Afghan-Turk schools, including a Turkish restaurant owner in Kabul.The Turkish embassy in Kabul reportedly informed the Afghan government about the decision in a letter.The Turkish government has asked the Afghan government to hand over these individuals to Turkey. But there is no an agreement between Afghanistan and Turkey about the extradition of individuals between the two countries. Amid speculation about the link between the raid and President Ashraf Ghani’s visit to Turkey, the presidential palace has said that the move was not linked to the trip of the president. It was action taken against some suspects. Neither the NDS nor the presidential palace is ready to comment on the fate of the teachers.But documents seen by TOLOnews reveal that the United Nations has provided asylum to one of the Turkish teachers currently in the detention of the NDS and has asked for the prevention of his extradition to Turkey.“It is a political and intelligence move which is moved forward by a certain team inside the national unity government to offer it as levy and bribe to Mr. Erdogan of Turkey,” said political analyst Asif Ashna. “The Afghan government wants to destroy the secure place of general Dostum by its move on the girls’ hostel of Afghan-Turk school and to gain the satisfaction of the Turkish republic because the Turks want these schools to be under their control,” said MP Arif Rahmani.

https://www.rt.com/newsline/412881-afghanistan-turkish-teachers-gulen/
Afghan officials detain Turkish teachers ‘linked to Gulen’ – report
“One Afghan and three Turkish teachers linked to an organization regarded with suspicion by the Turkish government were detained by Afghan intelligence officials on Tuesday, according to the head of Afghan Turk CAG Educational NGO. The move against ATCE, the body that runs the schools, appeared to be part of a Turkish campaign against followers of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric it accuses of being behind a coup attempt in July 2016, Reuters said. ATCE says it is an independent organization which runs schools in Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar and Herat, and has been in Afghanistan since 1995. Numan Erdogan, the chairman of ATCE, said the men who detained the teachers presented themselves as members of the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s intelligence agency. President Ashraf Ghani was on his way to Istanbul on Tuesday to attend the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Summit.”

https://www.bbc.com/persian/amp/afghanistan-42328644

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https://www.facebook.com/QatraTv/photos/a.101784890306320.1073741828.101711293647013/320576771760463/?type=3
Ex-NDS chief Amrullah Saleh’s strict reaction regarding police operation on the girl’s high school hostel:
“I condemn the attack on Afghan Turk girls high school, girls hostel and attempt of searching this dignified institution by the National Unity Government without any court command, legal steps or any proper legal documents. The Last time when the police forces had attacked such a hostel and our people were evident of such an event, was the first years of the Soviet occupation in which some girl students from Ayesha Durranai school were martyred and injured. From the last forty year, it’s the second time in which girls school is attacked. If there was any report on suspicious activities of someone, the responsible people should have politely requested the school administration to cooperate with them.
This institution has the proud of educating and empowering thousands of sons of this land. With operating in such a brutal way, the NUG has required to make a breaking news so that they could make a certain chain happy in the outside of our country.
In the end of WWII(world war 2), Afghanistan was even not ready to forcefully deport the Nazi diplomats and succeeded to keep it’s dignity and culture. For sure this will be a black stain engraved on the face the current government for a long time.
All of my children and descendants have studied from these schools and as one of the thousand parents, I am thankful to them.”

https://www.facebook.com/QatraTv/videos/320780471740093/
Dr. Jahantab:
“I want to refer to the main concept of the two verses that I mentioned before, it says that the problems you have In Turkey, solve them there, don’t bring them to the schools inside Afghanistan. The hadith that I read have a conceptual message to you, the reporters: cover this program, this will be the biggest jihad for you. As a PhD holder in Law and shariah, I want to recommend you to give it a vast coverage, this coverage may be the cause of your entry to Jannah. Third I am proud of my MP brother Mr. Osuli, I am proud of teacher Mr. Dadras and I am proud of Mr. Mnawi. They said the things that every Muslim should be proud of them. The thing that happened yesterday was not an ordinary situation, it hasn’t happened in the history of Afghanistan. The Pashtun tribe Khogyanai is popular for the story that a pig had entered their area and they didn’t give it to anyone else. If you read the history of king Mahmood Ghaznavi, once upon a time he had gone for a hunt, he hunts a deer but the deer goes to the land of a shepherd and falls there, the king goes to pick up the deer but the shepherd says that now the deer is in his territory and he cannot give it. The king says that I am sultan Mahmood but the shepherd denies even if it is the king. And offers the king that there are many sheep take as much as you can but don’t touch the deer. Mr mMnawi referred to some very critical truths, the thing that happened yesterday, me, as a PhD in law and sharia, from the point of Islamic views Quran, hadiths and from the point of international law and human rights the crime that occurred yesterday can be the reason for the resignation of President Ghani, CEO Abdullah Abdullah and the current government, the NDS and even the present Education minister Mr. Shinwari . Although he is a kind and brave person, but today he talked in a very week way. Respected Minister, hang the flag in a half altitude because today a historical fault happened by the government.”

https://www.facebook.com/QatraTv/videos/320793458405461/
Abdul Shakoor Daadras, Law specialist and Speaker of the Afghan Turk Parent’s Committee:
“Our president is defending Islam and defending the rights of Quds in Palestine but here people are attacking innocent girl’s hostel in Afghanistan! Dear president, we talked to all your authorities yesterday. I do not know how they can say that they are not aware of anything. We talked to the head of NDS but he does not know what has happened to our four teachers. He is not sure if ISIS has kidnapped them or Alqaeda has taken them. We also talked commander of Kabul city’s security office. He was totally unaware. This is strange! No one knows anything about our four teachers. Everyone is unaware!Maybe one day we all will drown and authorities are unaware and maybe one day people will break your palace and still authorities are unaware. We know the reason why all this happened. The reason is because your authorities want to have at least a gift for Turkish government and for the gift security officers played with Afghanistan’s honor, Afghan people’s honor, Muslim people’s honor and Law’s honor. This is a very big shame!
I appreciate the acting Minister of Education for joining us today. Thank you for joining the community of education and community of cultural people today. We are so happy for your existence here.
I wish you could see here last night. Trust me even Hitler’s troops had not done this kind of action. Even if Hitler’s most cruel and tyrant commanders saw that situation, they would retreat.
Afghan Girls are our country’s honor. In current situation of Afghanistan that most of girls are not allowed to go to school, these girls have taken permission from their families to study in this school and hostel. But our government comes to their hostel for searching at night and this is not true in any country in the world. But they call it Islam, Law, Honor, and security.
They are saying that these teachers who are cordially serving our country with offering education are terrorist! Turkish government has suddenly seen a dream that Afghan Turkish schools have terrorists in them. This is a big shame!
If this is the case, then Turkish intelligence is very weak, Intelligence of the world is very weak and Afghanistan’s Intelligence has also problems. Afghan Turkish schools were offering education when Mr Atmar was Minister of Education. They were in Shahe do shamshera, just 1 KM away from presidential palace. Previously were they not aware what kind of people were working in this NGO? Was the presidential palace also not aware about them? If this is the case then it means all our authorities are unaware of everything in Afghanistan.
We want the answer for our questions. We want them to answer why they have kidnapped our teachers and attacked our school. If they do not answer and we cannot defend these schools, then we are only wasting everyone’s time here. We want Prosecutors office to answer us. We want to know who these guys were who attacked the school. They did not have ID and they also did not show us any official paper. These guys must be identified, submitted to court and all details must be shared with media.
Not only those who attacked this school but also those who ordered them to attack these innocent girls’ school at night, scare to them to death, watch them shouting and crying.
This is a very big shame!
All together with one voice we hardly condemn this attack that was opposite to our culture. We want to see the attackers in prison immediately otherwise it means there is no jurisdiction of law in our country.
Secondly I want to say that this is my fortieth year that I have been doing legal works and still I have not seen this kind of arresting. According to our rules when someone is arrested, at least their family should be informed but no one has been informed about our teachers yet. So it means this is not a legal arresting. Yesterday’s attacks were exactly same as those people’s attacks who do not accept any rules and regulations in the world.
It is enough!
We have been deceived for more than nine months. We were told that government would not take any action against these schools without talking to us. But they talked to none of us before yesterday’s attacks. This is called deceiving and it is not allowed according to Islam and according to law
We want our four teachers to be released ASAP. If there is any authentic documents against them that are not fake documents bring them to us and prove them to the committee of students’ parents. We definitely accept the rules and regulations.
We want Prosecutors office to submit this case to court and we want The NDS to release our teachers and apologize for what they have done!”

https://www.facebook.com/QatraTv/videos/320812508403556/
Fazal Ahmad manawi, EX-IEC chief (Independent Election Commission):
First of all I want to thank Mr. Osuli and Minister of Education Mr. Shinwari for joining us and are present here. There are persons who can take our voices to the certain authorities and I want to especially thank the media who had a very vast coverage and I hope this press conference would also have a wide range coverage. I will try to compress my speeches within the time that is given to me. In Quran there is a certain verse which says (talking abusive words, and abusing and making fun of is not a good deed). But when it comes to brutal and violent persons they could be given bad words by the innocent persons as they deserve it. Staying calm against oppression and cruelty is worse than the cruelty itself. And there is no cruelty worse then the one done with this school. Within my age I have been through many regimes but no regime has done such a cruel and voilent action. İts your fault that you accepted such a government, i know that you hadn’t chosen this government but it’s you who accepted this government. A government whose heads families are 95% out of the country, how can they know your feelings and what you want. They don’t have kindness, they don’t have enthusiasm and they don’t have empathy. Accepting 100s of suicides, blasts, kidnappings and voilences and find an amount of money to seek a better place for educating your child and they even don’t let this happen. The others talked about several issues but the thing they didn’t talk about is that the action which happened yesterday was a ( government kidnapping). The 134. Article of the constitution says that the discovery of crime should be done by police the investigation should be done by the prosecution office and the evidence, proved by the court. The NDS takes the teachers from the main road without any proper documents. Now you say is it an arrest or a kidnapping, for sure it’s kidnapping. And friends talk about the islamic point of the government, i am ready, if the heads of this government were able to recite fatiha in a right way, i will come and slaughter. Worse then that, in order to motivate people, they talk of Afghaniyet. İn the dictionary of afghans there is no such thing to disgrace your guest, and disguise the honor of daughters of this land. İt’s a shame that they use the Afghan word. And there is no such thing in Pashtunwali, the proud of Pashtuns is that they are hospitable. They lost their kingdom but did not deport or disrespect their guest. İ say that Leave the discussion of islam and sharia and law, this is not even present in the dictionary of social behavior. The things which i saw yesterday evening didn’t let me sleep the whole night. The weeping of the small girls standing there, the girls who were scared of the voilence and the scary people, in the safest place possible for a girl to think of. Every student thaught of being voilently tortured infront of their families, everyone was completely feared. Their family was also not able to sleep of the thaughts about their children. İ feel really confused and embarassed, but its really good to see the acting education minister mr. Shinwari among us.
At the first time of my formal job, my boss was a shinwari, in the court also my boss was Sheikh saib Shinwari. May he rest in peace, he was an honorable and a person ful of efforts. And i also believe in your honor, but i am embarassed that you are the education minister and there be a disgrace for the school and you stay silent against it. There is no worse historical crime than this. You are the first responsible of this issue. This doesn’t have to do anything with the parents of the students. The people have trusted you, and the government is created. The jobs are distributed, and you are given the responsibility of caring about the children of this nation. Representing all, first you had to raise your voice against this brutal actions. İ swear to god if for an hour i was the responsible of such a seat i would have taken this event to the high court. And this is a kidnapping and is destroying the constitution of Afghanistan. The Afghan constitution states that nobody is allowed to enter the personal premises of someone without legal permission. What kind of documents and proofs did they have in order to do such a brutal activity. I believe that Stanikzai, the current NDS head, is a muslim and faithful person. İf he had information about this and have given the permission for such an action, my trust is completely taken and changed. And trust me that there is no any further coward, dependent government in the whole history of Afghanistan. İf this agreement with the US is the presence of US forces here, we accept it. But if for the sake of the agreement with other countries we damage and disguise ourselves it means that neither ther government nor the people have the sound sense of patriotism. i want to satisfy you my dear daughters that there is no need of making slogans in order to express your feelings. Your feelings are already expressed. Mr. Akbar requested me to be patient and don’t be too much ful of emotions. But here emotions are to be used, Allah jj has given us in order to use them in the right place. So that the defence mechanism of the humans would be used in the right place. if this doesn’t give us the right defence mechanism, that will be the time where our humanism will be questioned.
Be sure that we won’t let to government to do such a disgrace action one more time. They are already shameful. There is no more embarrassing than this situation for this government. Mr. Ghani wanted to travel to Turkey with a trump card in hand. The president of Afghanistan claim himself as a father of own his nation but all of his actions are show off.
Today he took this trump card in his hand as a gift to the president of Turkey, tomorrow he will hand over all own his nation to the Trump. There are many things motions but time is limited, be sure that we will built walls from our bodies to protect you all teachers. Let the government we are weak. My last warning to the all the member of government starting from Ghani to NDS; if these situation happen again we won’t accept neither the police nor NDS as a national. For example when the military face of Egypt were ordered to shout or protestors by Hosni Mubarak but they didn’t accept his order and talk that they are children of Egyptian and we are too. We can’t shout own our nation. If you are national police and citizen of this nation. How could you enter the premises of girl’s hostel? How could you commit such rude brutal crime against own your daughter and sister.
Thus they have to immediately release the kidnapped teachers and excuse from teachers and students. If you have a proof then take to authority. And it should be investigate according to the constitution.
We will never let anyone take our educational institute to political era. You corrupted the election, we endured you robbed people’s many with different names. We endured BUT we won’t let you to steal our children’s knowledge.
You have the right to send your daughter to one of the best university in USA, and also you have to accept to send our children to an approximately fair institution inside the country. If they don’t release our teachers and they continue this kind of issues I request you without any emotional feelings go on strike and built tend in this cold weather and let the whole world see us. Then we will see the weather they kill us under the names of terrorist Talib, ISIS or anything else. They didn’t leave us any other option.

https://www.facebook.com/QatraTv/videos/320806715070802/
“As previously Mr. Pashton motioned there are many problem which people face in Afghanistan should be solved. It was not acceptable situation which is happened yesterday in girl’s high school for me as a representative of human right commission of Afghanistan. And all the students were in dorm during this issue. Especially the students who are living outside of the city they chosen to stay in this dormitory because of they believe it is one of the best safest place. In addition it is the best school in Afghanistan.
In this raid neither ministry of education nor administration of school have been informed. And again in this raid several students had been faint. A group of people in NDS have illegally entered the most valuable school of the country and this is not acceptable for Islam and afghan culture.
The whole people shouldn’t be judged because of one person’s sin if there is. There are many other ways! All the families were worried because of that issue. To separate out of this violent and fears among the students completely against the human rights. And we want this issue to be followed up seriously. It is an unfortunate mistake to say that I don’t know. I hope that the education should not be tooled for politics.
Because politics and politicians are changeable. We have a good religious with Turkey, and misunderstanding should be solved in diplomatic ways.
Teachers and students shouldn’t feel themselves frightened, scared and unsaved. And this problems have to be solved immediately. Teachers who are detained have to release as quick as possible.
The highest standard of education in this schools shouldn’t be effected negatively because of political issues. And I ask to minister of education to solve this problem as quick as possible. And he should make my sister (principle of girls high school) feel sound and safe to concentrate on her work.”

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=319916571826483&id=101711293647013

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Report on the Current and Possible Threats Supporters of the Gulen Movement Face Abroad

“I CANNOT SAY WE ARE ABSOLUTELY SAFE EVEN ABROAD”

Report on the Current and Possible Threats Supporters of the Gulen Movement Face Abroad

Summary
Since the attempted coup of July 15, 2016 the Government of Turkey Turkish government has engaged in illegal extraterritorial and extrajudicial actions been taking strict measures to silence dissidents in other countries from various ideologies recently.

Gulen Movement (also known as “Hizmet Movement,” meaning service in Turkish) 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. Regrettably Turkish government’s actions against the Gulen Movement are not limited to Turkish borders but are also extraterritorial. There are many examples of abductions and physical violence incidents in several countries as well as threats by pro-government people referring to the supporters abroad. This paper discusses these issues to conclude that individuals linked to the Movement cannot feel safe abroad either. Therefore, this study aims to remind foreign security officers the risks Hizmet participants may face, and to request that necessary legal, administrative and practical measures are undertaken to ensure protection of individuals who might be at risk and subject to possible abduction, enforced disappearance, and extrajudicial killings.

Introduction
Even though actions of the Turkish government against dissidents including the Gulen Movement are not appreciated by many countries around the world, there are some states who are in cooperation with Turkey neglecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. This study will first talk about abductions and deportations around the world that are considered as violating international human rights law and customary international law. Then in the second section, violent reactions perpetrated in foreign states by pro-government people will be mentioned. Third section will be giving details about recent threats targeting the supporters of the Movement. Lastly, to cope with such risks and threats, the Advocates of Silenced Turkey recommends to foreign governments to take all the necessary steps for ensuring protection to these people.

1.     Abductions and Deportations around the World
There has been many news around world that members of the Movement have been abducted in different countries suspiciously by the intelligence agencies who aimed to sent them back to Turkey. Below there are summaries of different relevant cases occurred recently which are set out chronologically.

It must be noted that below there are only sample stories of people who could reach out to media and whose voices could be heard by the international community. There might be many more people living through similar things who are not mentioned here in this report.

i. Memduh Cikmaz – Sudan
Memduh Cikmaz has been running a factory in Sudan, and was wanted by Turkey for almost two years and Sudanese authorities informed him that there was no problem regarding his factory as well as his stay in Sudan.[1] However, after the so-called coup attempt in Turkey, the government has been sending letters to foreign governments to deport the supporters of the Movement. Following these, Mr. Cikmaz was detained in a joint operation by Sudanese and Turkish police. He wanted to meet with his lawyer but was denied access, and moreover his family has been concerned of his health relating to a protein-related disease. Hence, they urged domestic authorities not to deport Mr. Cikmaz as he might face persecution in Turkey. Their call was not responded positively.[2][3] He was deported as well as detained and arrested in Turkey after deportation. There has not been much detailed information about his situation. Nevertheless, if he has been facing with ill-treatment during his arrest, it means Sudan has breached its responsibilities the 1951 Refugee Convention by sending him back.[4]

ii. Enver Kilic and Zabit Kisi – Kazakhstan
Enver Kilic and Zabit Kisi were abducted from a plane in Kazakhstan by an unknown group of people. Their wives have been trying to make themselves heard through social media. Accordingly, on 16 September 2017, both were not allowed to get on the plane because their passports were allegedly cancelled. They had a court hearing in two weeks on 30 September 2017. Ms. Kilic and Ms. Kisi wrote on social media that they cannot get any news from their husbands since 30 September 2017. Two men were reported to be deported according to Turkish media, moreover, they were under custody in Turkey.[5] Nevertheless, there have not been any up-to-date information about them and their condition, their families are justifiably afraid of the possibility of torture. It must be noted that Kazakhstan has been party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, meaning that the country presumably violated the principle of non-refoulement prescribed in the Convention.[6]

iii.   Mesut Kacmaz and his family – Pakistan
Mesut Kacmaz and his family, including his two daughters, were abducted in Pakistan on 27 September 2017. Mr. Kacmaz was an educator at a chain of 28 PakTurk Foundation schools that were allegedly linked to the Hizmet Movement. The schools were closed by local authorities last year following the request of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey. Even though the Turkish government asked for their return to Turkey, teachers and employees of the schools have remained in Pakistan under temporary court rules and protection of the United Nations claiming that they will be detained and might be tortured once set foot in Turkey.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the family was taken by “20 armed people in plain clothes.” A neighbor and a fellow friend of the family stated the family was “restrained, blindfolded and hustled into unmarked pickup trucks in Lahore.” Moreover, that he was also taken to a secret facility and released after several days only because he wanted to intervene. Pakistani police officers stated that they had no information regarding the family which directs suspicions to intelligence agencies.[7] Human Rights Watch highlighted that Kacmaz family was under the protection of the UNHCR with a valid certificate until 24 November 2017, thus cannot be extradited. The Pakistani government’s lawyer assured that the family would not be deported as per the UNHCR asylum seeker certificate.[8] Nonetheless, expected scenario happened. Pursuant to later news, the family was handed over to Turkish police and deported to Turkey presumably on 14 October 2017. According to their daughters’ statement, Mr. Kacmaz and his wife were taken into custody not suprisingly, which proves that the family’s fear of persecution was reasonably well-founded.[9] There are still many Turkish families in Pakistan under the UNHCR protection and they are afraid that they might be the next ones to be returned to Turkey through such illegal means.[10]

As the Human Rights Watch notes, the deportation violates both the Lahore High Court’s decision and international law. One might claim that Pakistan is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention.[11] However, this cannot mean that the country is not under any obligation towards refugees as it is still bound by the customary international law. Accordingly, countries are prohibited to return people to their home countries where it is likely that they will face persecution such as torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. The deportation attracted attention of international journalists and politicians as well, for instance, Rebecca Harms, member of the European Parliament, criticized the Pakistani government strongly for deporting Kacmaz family on her social media account.[12]

iv.  Mustafa Emre Cabuk – Georgia
Mustafa Emre Cabuk, who has been living in Georgia since 2002, was detained on 24 May 2017 which was a day after Binali Yildirim, Turkish Prime Minister, visited his counterpart Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. He was sent to prison by the Georgian court’s provisional detention decision for three months. Police officers came to take him from his home said the operation was at the request of the Turkish government.[13] After his arrest, his family urged Georgian authorities not to extradite him to Turkey as his basic human rights would likely to be violated there. Furthermore, Amnesty International called for an urgent action to be taken to prevent his deportation before it was too late and stated “He could be extradited any minute and in Turkey he could be at risk of torture or other ill-treatment, unfair trial or other serious human right violations.”[14] Amnesty also remarked that Georgia was under obligation not to return Mr. Cabuk as per both international human rights law and its national legislation. Local non-governmental organizations were not silent about the issue as well. They voiced their concerns regarding Mr. Cabuk’s situation. They said in a statement

“[The] detention of Mustafa Chabuk in given context has [a] clearly pronounced political connotation and is indicative of political loyalty of Georgian authorities towards the Government of Turkey,” and continued his extradition “represents [a] gross violation of human rights and fundamental standards of supremacy of the law and will undermine the process of democratic development of the country.”[15]

Despite all these efforts, Mr. Cabuk was not quite lucky. His asylum application to Georgia was rejected on July 2017.[16] Moreover, the Georgian court extended his imprisonment for three more months on August 2017. It is yet expected whether Georgia will return him to Turkey. His wife right now can do nothing but trying to make her voice heard via the internet and social media.[17]

v.  Muhammet Furkan Sokmen – Myanmar (also known as Burma)
Similar to the previous individuals, Mr. Sokmen was working in Myanmar at Horizon International Schools (allegedly linked to the Movement). Sokmen family, including his wife and two-years old daughter, was detained in Yangon at an airport.[18] First, he was not allowed to board a plane and had a problem with Myanmarese immigration officers. In a video that was posted online, Mr. Sokmen said Turkish ambassador to Myanmar was pressuring local officers to seize the family’s passports. Human Rights Watch’s Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson called Myanmar to provide protection to the family. He highlighted the possibility of risk he could face when returned to Turkey and told that

“The Embassy of Turkey unilaterally revoked or limited their passports in some way to make them vulnerable, and then sought to compel Myanmar to deport them to Turkey. This is a nasty, rights abusing tactic that is illegal under international human rights law because it renders them stateless. But clearly, the increasingly dictatorial government of President Erdogan is prepared to run roughshod over rights and put pressure countries like Myanmar to go along.”[19]

Mr. Sokmen was reportedly arrested and sent to Thailand, he was taken into an immigration detention center to be deported to Turkey there.[20] After being held in detention for a day, he was extradited to Turkey where he was taken into custody and arrested again.[21] No further information could be received regarding his recent condition, but unfortunately it is highly likely that he would be facing ill-treatment. Brad Adams, Asia Director of the HRW, stated “It is deeply alarming that both Burmese and Thai authorities prioritized showing deference to rights-violating demands from Turkey over respecting the bedrock principle of non-refoulement.”[22] Adams also called Myanmar and Thailand to provide access to UN agencies to assess the situation of Turkish asylum seekers within their borders.

Similarly, Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights office for South-East Asia, stated “We reiterate our call to all governments, including in this latest case the Thai and Myanmar governments, to put in place an effective system of review before deportation occurs.”[23] Like Pakistan, even though Myanmar is not party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Mr. Sokmen should not have been deported under the customary international law.

vi. Turgay Karaman, Ihsan Aslan, Ismet Ozcelik, Tamer Tibik, Alettin Duman – Malaysia
Turgay Karaman and Ihsan Aslan (a teacher and a businessman) were reported missing to local police by their families who have been living in Malaysia for a long time. Mr. Karaman was on his way to a meeting with his lawyer when he was bundled into a car by four or five unknown plain clothed Malaysian men on 2 May 2017 as revealed by surveillance cameras in an underground car park. His wife and friends believed he was abducted to be returned to Turkey. Likewise, Mr. Aslan has gone missing as well which was reported to the police by his wife on the same day as Mr. Karaman’s. Families of the two men went to the police and they found out eventually that both were detained “for activities that threaten the safety of Malaysia” as per counter-terrorism legislation. Mr. Karaman’s lawyer specified that neither his client nor Mr. Aslan were not involved with any violent activities.[24] Fellow friends of both men indicated that they were not only worried for their friends but also for their own safety reminding the possibility that same thing would happen to them in the future. Similarly, within the same week, Ismet Ozcelik, former academic at the Mevlana University which was shut down by decree laws after the attempted coup, was abducted from his car. Similar to Kacmaz family in Pakistan, Mr. Ozcelik held a refugee card by the UNHCR.[25]

Human Rights Watch reflected on the situation and stated that men were held without any charge – which is allowed under the Law of Malaysia.[26] “The authorities should release these men from custody if they haven’t charged them with a credible offense” said Phil Robertson, Deputy Asia Director of the HRW in his statement.[27] The HRW and Amnesty International expressed their concerns that men would at risk of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment and/or other serious human rights violations should they be returned to their home country of Turkey.[28] Both organizations have called the Malaysian government not to extradite three men to Turkey like they did in October 2016.[29]

Suspicions that these men were detained at the request of the Turkish government increased after their deportations, even though police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told reporters the opposite. As expected, expulsions were not welcomed by human rights organizations. Robertson from the HRW affirmed that it was a clear violation of international human rights law. Comparably, Josef Benedict, Deputy Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific of Amnesty International, condemned the deportations pointing out the risk of “arbitrary detention, unfair trial and a real risk of torture.”[30] The UN raised its concerns as well that other Turkish nationals at the region might be in danger because of Malaysia’s action. Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights Office in Bangkok, asserted that this might have cross border impact on other countries in Southeast Asia.[31]

Last but not least, Mr. Ozcelik’s son, who was with him when he was taken, and other members of Ozcelik family were able to arrive in a European country where they applied for asylum, however told that they still do not feel safe because of the “long arm of the Turkish state.”[32]

Tamer Tibik and Alettin Duman had gone through similar challenges in October 2016 as well. Both were reported missing by their wives who have searched everywhere possible to find them including police stations and hospitals. It was several days later when they guessed it was their husbands that the Turkish Foreign Minister at the time talked about when he announced Malaysia handed over “terrorists” cooperating with Turkey. Yet, they could not get any more news about their situation. Mr. Tibik’s mother was able to find them after searching through various police stations door-to-door. Mr. Tibik wrote in a letter to his wife that unknown men took him in Malaysia to a forest for interrogation using torture. What is worse, Mr. Duman’s mother learned from his son that the torture have not ended once they arrived Turkey but continued for weeks.[33]

2.     Violent Reactions by Pro-Government People
Whereas these abductions and extraditions have been taking place in non-European countries, supporters of the Movement cannot feel completely safe in other countries as well. Pro-government people and organizations around the world as well as Turkey’s representatives abroad have been constituting a threat. Especially after the so-called attempted coup, the government’s partisans became more aggressive. For instance, former member of the European Parliament Ozan Ceyhun wrote on social media “Gülenists in Germany will have many sleepless nights. We owe that to our martyrs.”[34] Individuals who are perceived to be Gulenist have been dealing with death threats and arson attacks, also receiving insults on the internet, all were reported to police. For example, head of one of the pro-Erdogan organizations Dursun Bas wrote on social media “How do you dare to go out on the streets? For you there will be no easy death.”[35] Some people said they cannot even go to mosques not to come across government supporters.[36] Pro-government people have also damaged the institutions deemed to be linked to the Movement across Europe, to exemplify buildings of associations inspired by the Hizmet Movement in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany were stoned, burned and/or attacked physically.[37] Whereas European governments show significant efforts to protect the supporters of the Movement – just like everyone within their borders, it would still be possible for individuals to damage the supporters. To exemplify, a Turkish businessman who reportedly had links with the Movement was killed on September 2017. Ali Ekrem Kaynak was shot in Amsterdam, who was targeted earlier in 2017 as well. Someone has tried to set his restaurant fire, and moreover, his partner in business was shot in August 2017. His partner survived after the first shooting but Mr. Kaynak could not. Witnesses told news agencies that both men had already arguments before with the supporters of the government and were beaten by them.[38]  Similarly, members of the Movement have been exposed to verbal attacks in the United States too by pro-government people.[39]

Government agencies abroad also have also been taking actions against Hizmet supporters. To illustrate, Turkish preachers from the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB)[40] have been collecting information regarding the supporters of the Movement at the government’s request. Even though these were initially claimed to be “false media claims,” Secretary General Bekir Alboga then admitted that “a few” imams provided information to the Presidency of Religious Affairs, which is operating under the Turkish Prime Ministry.[41] Furthermore, as per later news, German police’s investigations revealed that these accusations may only be the tip of the iceberg meaning that such efforts could be taking place across Europe such as in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium.[42]

3.     Recent Threats against the Gulen Movement
Turkey has been on the news with a slightly different topic recently. In a case before the District Court of New York in the United States, Turkish businessmen are on trial for breaching Iranian sanctions. The defendants are charged with “participating in a billion-dollar scheme to smuggle gold for oil in violation of the Iran sanctions.”[43] The case is relevant for this study in the sense that the Turkish government, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is claimed to be helping those businessmen covering up the transactions through bribes.[44] Meanwhile, the US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Mike Flynn was alleged to accept the Turkish government’s offer of 15 million dollars in exchange for delivering Mr. Fethullah Gulen to Turkey.[45] The case is still ongoing, therefore, there is no clear answer to the question of whether the government has tried something like this or not. However, what is evident is that the Turkish government has recently been mentioned and criticized in international news a lot by journalists, politicians and academics. Hence, it is speculated that the government will harshen its attitude even more against dissidents. Early signs of such assumptions have already started. The government announced its plans to build 228 new prisons in the next five years indicating that they are likely to arrest many more people.[46] Furthermore, at least 699 people were imprisoned last week because of their alleged links with the Movement.[47]

Other signals of such expectations are given by pro-government journalists and politicians as well. For instance, Aydin Unal, former speechwriter of President Erdogan and current deputy of the ruling party (Justice and Development Party), threatened supporters of the Movement explicitly in his column at a pro-government newspaper. Referring to the journalists in exile, he wrote “They should prepare for the extrajudicial organization executions approaching, rather than conduct an operation through the judicial theater.”[48] In his article, he claimed that the Movement would do something like this, because certain individuals’ living “does not serve the interests” of the Movement anymore. Nevertheless, it can be seen looking at recent news stories about Turkey that the Movement has turned into a scapegoat. To clarify, the government has been accusing the Movement of everything going wrong in Turkey. It does not matter if it requires to make radical changes in their statements, the government has dedicated itself to lay the blame on Mr. Gulen and his sympathizers. For example, very recently, Reza Zarrab, abovementioned businessmen who is on trial in the US, was declared as cooperating with the Movement by Ilnur Cevik, one of President Erdogan’s chief advisors.[49] This is unbelievable in the sense that the Movement has been in the target board of the government since December 2013 when Reza Zarrab and family members of the cabinet ministers were taken into custody for corruption claims by police officers claimed to be Gulenist. Erdogan was a prime minister at the time and he explicitly protected Zarrab and stated he was a philanthropist businessman.[50] Clearly, Erdogan’s such a clear sentence does not prevent Reza Zarrab to be declared Gulenist after conflicting interests arise.

Threat by Aydin Unal, who has been targeting the Movement in his other articles too,[51] attracted attention in the international community as well. Preet Bharara, former US attorney who started the investigation regarding Reza Zarrab, referred to his statement on his own social media account for awareness.[52] Furthermore, Carolyn B. Maloney, congresswoman representing the 12th District of New York, highlighted the importance of press freedom and called US Department of State to condemn such threats officially.[53]

Another shocking statement was made by Cem Kucuk, pro-government journalist who is devoted to President Erdogan. During a live television program, he suggested Turkish intelligence agencies to kill family members of people who were arrested over Gulenist links (or alleged links). He criticized public prosecutors to be soft against Hizmet followers and went further to the point that proposing arrestees to be tortured in jail, for instance that they must be “hanged out of the window by their legs”.[54]

Similar threats and statements have been made by different people one of which is Ahmet Zeki Ucok, retired colonel and military judge from air forces. In his social media account, he implied as if the Movement is in a preparation of assassination plots against politicians, religious officials, journalists, sports men and leaders of the civil society in Macedonia and Kosovo by special teams.[55] His statements are not surprising in the sense that it has become a cliché now to create conspiracy theories without any basis. It must be noted that many western countries are welcoming Turkish asylum seekers having links with the Hizmet Movement and that states do no believe in the government’s claims about the Movement being behind the coup attempt. Therefore, such claims by pro-government people would be aiming to create a perception of terrorist organization. So far, President Erdogan’s calls to declare war against the Movement are not responded positively by foreign governments in most states, however, such assassinations would serve the interests of the Turkish government.

Risks and threats Hizmet supporters might face are increasing day by day by the government’s and its supporters’ actions. According to German news agencies, Metin Kulunk, deputy from the ruling party, has allegedly been funding a Turkish gang named “Ottoman Germania” active in Germany. Surveillance cameras showed that Kulunk has been giving money to the members of this group which was then used to buy weapons. Research lead to the point that this gang has been assigned to attack the Turkish dissident groups in Germany.[56]

Last but not least, these concerns were voiced by a US magazine, Foreign Affairs, as well. The author of the article titled “Is Turkey Turning into a Mafia State?” mentioned different activities of the Turkish government implicating that the state is both neglecting and engaging with criminal activities such as illicit trading and smuggling, money laundering and corruption. Accordingly, Turkey has been creating fabricated stories targeting dissidents rather than fighting with real crimes. Statistics on the investigations against “conventional organized crime have dramatically decreased.”[57] These speculations are strengthened by the sudden release of Sedat Peker from prison, who is a notorious mafia boss, and photos of President Erdogan embracing him. The article puts forward reasonable suspicions to think that Turkey has started to withdraw the rule of law and democracy, but leaning towards an autocratic mafia state.

4.     Interviews with the Supporters
Considering all these, it is understandable why people deemed to be supporters of the Movement do not yet feel safe abroad. In an interview made by the AST, Bilal Eksili, partner at the Washington Diplomacy Group,[58] stated “The situation is quite worrying especially for the prominent people” and continued “It is not possible to estimate the government’s actions in such a desperate position.” He added that after all these threats if something happens to a supporter of the Movement, the government will be the first to blame and that it will be a breaking point after which the government will be considered as a terrorist state. He called all the security forces and states around the world to ensure security to the supporters of the Movement.[59]

In another interview with a human rights lawyer from Turkey, who talked on condition of anonymity as he is worried about his family members in Turkey, it was asserted that the government using the state’s opportunities for their own interests to target members of the Movement abroad. He specified “I cannot say we are absolutely safe even abroad” and said he cannot even go to the Turkish mosque in his city because religious officials keep records of people for purposes of blacklisting, just like they cannot go to the consulate buildings. He said the government’s partisans are mostly uneducated people who can easily be manipulated, thus might be provoked against the supporters of the Movement. Lastly, he asked foreign governments to watch especially employees of the Turkish embassies closely to prevent any possible harm.[60]

5.     Conclusion
Several United Nations and other multilateral human rights treaties, as well as UN treaty body jurisprudence is unambiguous when dealing with extraterritorial actions of a government in seizing their nationals in the territory of another country, without recourse to regular procedures and relevant judicial safeguards:

1. The abduction of citizens covertly and forcibly from the territory of another state is illegal and a flagrant violation of the sovereignty of the concerned state.

2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.

3. The perpetrator (Government of Turkey) should organize all State organs and governance structures through which public authority is exercised in a manner consistent with the need to respect international law and ensure the right to life, both in Turkey and abroad.

4. The perpetrator (Government of Turkey) is finally, under obligation, pursuant to article 2 (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to provide effective remedies to the victims, including immediate release, permission to leave Turkey and compensation for the violations which he/she has suffered and to take steps to ensure that similar violations do not occur in the future.

To conclude, it is evident that the actions of the government have cross-border impacts putting even people abroad at risk. People that are perceived as linked to the Hizmet Movement are justifiably right to be afraid of the possible incidents. Therefore, we as the Advocates of Silenced Turkey urge foreign governments to take all the necessary steps to ensure safety to these people before it is too late. Security officers must be aware of the potential risks. Officials working for the government abroad must be watched closely, they must be prevented if they are in preparation of any harm. Lastly, both individuals and organizations that are deemed to be Hizmet participants must be provided extra protection when there is an imminent risk targeting them.

6.     Recommendations
We kindly request from the United States Government including the local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies as well as all the countries around the world caring about human rights to promptly:

1. Identify individuals in the country who are likely targets of the Turkish National Intelligence Agency and the Turkish government, and that is in danger of being threatened, abducted, tortured and/or killed or illegally extradited.
2. Investigate evidence of the Turkish government’s illegal activity, including potential perpetrators’ actions, behaviors and abductions; extrajudicial assassinations of targets; and the torture or illegal removal of person(s) from the country.
3. Urge the Turkish government to immediately dissolve the Office for Human Abduction and Executions.
4. Support Human Rights Defenders in Turkey and abroad, and prevent arbitrary deprivation of life and extrajudicial killings.

 

[1] “Sudan’da Türk işadamına gözaltı.” Aktif Haber, 8 Sept. 2017, aktifhaber.com/gundem/sudanda-turk-isadamina-gozalti-h103678.html.

[2] “Sudan arrests Gülen-Linked businessman at Turkey’s request.” Turkish Minute, 9 Sept. 2017, www.turkishminute.com/2017/09/09/sudan-arrests-gulen-linked-businessman-at-turkeys-request/.

[3] Gumrukcu, Tuvan. “Turkish, Sudanese intelligence agencies catch and return alleged coup suspect: Anadolu.” Edited by Dominic Evans and Mark Heinrich, Reuters, 27 Nov. 2017, reut.rs/2BqKVzD.

[4] Sudan has been party to the Convention since 1974.

[5] “Two Turkish nationals, abducted from plane in Kazakhstan, returned to Turkey: report.” Turkey Purge, 10 Nov. 2017, turkeypurge.com/two-turkish-nationals-abducted-plane-kazakhstan-returned-turkey-report; “Kaçırılan iki Türk’ün kayıtsız gözaltında tutulduğu ortaya çıktı.” Aktif Haber, 9 Nov. 2017, aktifhaber11.com/gundem/kacirilan-iki-turkun-kayitsiz-gozaltinda-tutuldugu-ortaya-cikti-h107173.html.

[6] Kazakhstan has been party to the Convention since 1999.

[7] For more detailed information about the case, see Khan, Haq Nawaz, and Pamela Constable. “A Turkish family has disappeared in Pakistan, and suspicion turns to intelligence agencies.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 11 Oct. 2017, wapo.st/2i2LnyK?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.b3f52d4f73e9; Sayeed, Saad. “Turkish family of PakTurk Schools director abducted in Pakistan: rights group.” Reuters, 28 Sept. 2017, reut.rs/2yaIe6H;

[8] Ijaz, Saroop. “Pakistan’s Deportation of Turkish Family Shows Many at Risk.” Human Rights Watch, 18 Oct. 2017, www.hrw.org/news/2017/10/18/pakistans-deportation-turkish-family-shows-many-risk.

[9] Hashim, Asad. “Missing Turkish teacher ‘deported from Pakistan’.” Pakistan News | Al Jazeera, 16 Oct. 2017, aje.io/wgf3m.

[10] Khan & Constable, Ibid.

[11] See fn. 8; Article 33 (1) of the 1951 Refugee Convention states “No Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” UN General Assembly, Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, 28 July 1951, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 189, p. 137, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3be01b964.html [accessed 6 December 2017].

[12] Harms, Rebecca (RebHarms). “How is this possible against high court decision and in spite of protection by @UNHCRPakistan @UNRefugeeAgency Any comment by UN? @hrw.” 15 Oct. 2017, 4:49 a.m. Tweet.

[13] “Gülen school manager arrested after Turkish PM’s Tbilisi visit.” OC Media, 25 May 2017, oc-media.org/gulen-school-manager-arrested-after-turkish-pms-tbilisi-visit/.

[14] “Urgent Action: Teacher at Risk if Extradited to Turkey.” Amnesty International, UA: 121/17 Index Eur 56/6372/2017 Georgia, 26 May 2017, https://www.amnestyusa.org/urgent-actions/urgent-action-teacher-risk-extradited-turkey-georgia-121-17/.

[15] “NGO’s appeal to the Government of Georgia regarding possible extradition of Mustafa Chabuk to Turkey.” EMC (Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center), 5 June 2017, emc.org.ge/2017/06/05/emc-298/.

[16] “Georgia refuses refugee status to detained ‘Gülen school manager’.” OC Media, 10 July 2017, oc-media.org/georgia-refuses-refugee-status-to-detained-gulen-school-manager/.

[17] A letter by Mr. Cabuk’s wife can be found here: Cabuk, Tugba. “Turkey Wants to Arrest My Husband. You Can Save Him.” The Globe Post, 6 June 2017, www.theglobepost.com/2017/06/06/turkey-wants-to-arrest-my-husband-you-can-save-him/.

[18] Goldberg, Jacob. “Myanmar-Based family abducted by Turkish embassy from Yangon airport | Coconuts Yangon.” Coconuts, 25 May 2017, coconuts.co/yangon/news/turkish-teacher-abducted-embassy-officials-yangon-airport/.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Lefevre, Amy Sawitta, et al. “U.N. expresses grave concern over Myanmar, Thai deportation of Turkish national.” Edited by Andrew Bolton, Reuters, 27 May 2017, reut.rs/2qZbEjt.

[21] “Burma/Thailand: Deported Turkish Man at Risk.” Human Rights Watch, 1 June 2017, www.hrw.org/news/2017/06/01/burma/thailand-deported-turkish-man-risk.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Lefevre, et al, Ibid.

[24] For more detailed information, see Dearden, Lizzie. “CCTV shows school principal being ‘abducted’ as post-Coup crackdown in Turkey spreads to Malaysia.” The Independent, 3 May 2017, www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/turkish-principal-men-abducted-malaysia-kuala-lumpur-turgay-karaman-ihsan-aslan-gulen-hizmet-coup-a7716376.html; Latiff, Rozanna. “Malaysia arrests two Turks suspected of threatening national security.” Edited by Nick Macfie, Reuters, 3 May 2017, reut.rs/2pWSqf2.

[25] For more detailed information, see Latiff, Rozanna. “Malaysia detains third Turkish national citing security fears.” Edited by Nick Macfie, Reuters, 5 May 2017, reut.rs/2pfl1bp; “Police arrest third Turkish man.” Free Malaysia Today, 5 May 2017, shar.es/1MCZY9.

[26] “Malaysia: Longtime Turkish Residents Detained.” Human Rights Watch, 5 May 2017, www.hrw.org/news/2017/05/05/malaysia-longtime-turkish-residents-detained.

[27] Ibid.

[28] Holmes, Oliver. “Fears grow Turks held in Malaysia may face unfair trial or torture at home.” The Guardian, 3 May 2017, www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/03/fears-grow-turks-held-in-malaysia-may-face-unfair-trial-or-torture-at-home.

[29] “Malaysia has deported three Gülenists, says Turkish FM.” Hürriyet Daily News, 14 Oct. 2016, www.hurriyetdailynews.com/malaysia-has-deported-three-gulenists-says-turkish-fm–104984; “Urgent Action: Three Turkish men arrested and at risk of torture.” Amnesty International, UA 102/17: ASA 28/6180/2017 Malaysia, 5 May 2017, https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/2017-05/UA10217.pdf?5QWbhLChxi143jTm5gUX4hB_lBjYjOgG.

[30] “Malaysia: Extradition puts three Turkish men at risk of torture.” Amnesty International, 12 May

2017, www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/05/malaysia-extradition-puts-three-turkish-men-at-risk-of-torture/.

[31] Latiff, Rozanna, and Robert Birsel. “Malaysia deports three Turks amid U.N. fears of widening Turkish crackdown.” Edited by Nick Mackie, Reuters, 12 May 2017, af.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idAFKBN1880PE.

[32] Weise, Zia. “Long arm of Turkey’s anti-Gülenist purge.” Politico, 21 Aug. 2017, www.politico.eu/article/long-arm-of-turkeys-anti-gulenist-purge/.

[33] Ibid.

[34] Baume, Maïa de La, and Giulia Paravicini. “‘Sleepless nights’ for Gülen’s supporters in Europe.” Politico, 24 Aug. 2016, www.politico.eu/article/sleepless-nights-for-fetullah-gulen-supporters-in-europe-erdogan-turkey-coup/.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Wolf, Marthe van der. “Turks Seen as Sympathetic to US-Based Muslim Cleric Say They Face Threats.” VOA News, 29 Aug. 2016, www.voanews.com/a/turks-seen-sympathetic-us-based-muslim-cleric-face-threats/3485265.html.

[37] Ibid.

[38] “A Turkish businessman killed in Amsterdam over his alleged links to Gülen movement.” Stockholm Center for Freedom, 16 Sept. 2017, stockholmcf.org/a-turkish-businessman-killed-in-amsterdam-over-his-alleged-links-to-gulen-movement/.

[39] Roman, Gabriel San. “Turkish Trash Talk: Erdogan Backer Accosts Gulenist Vendor at OC Halal Food Festival.” OC Weekly, 7 Dec. 2017, www.ocweekly.com/news/video-erdogan-supporter-accosts-gulenist-vendor-at-muslim-food-festival-8605011.

[40] The DITIB is an umbrella organization active in Europe working for the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey.

[41] Winter, Chase. “Turkish Islamic organization DITIB admits preachers spied in Germany” Deutsche Welle, 12 Jan. 2017, p.dw.com/p/2Vgzu?tw.

[42] Winter, Chase. “Turkish imam spy affair in Germany extends across Europe.” Deutsche Welle, 16 Feb. 2017, p.dw.com/p/2Xj3A?tw.

[43] Weiser, Benjamin. “Reza Zarrab, Turk at Center of Iran Sanctions Case, Is Helping Prosecution.” The New York Times, 28 Nov. 2017, nyti.ms/2icWFRu.

[44] For more detailed information about the case, see Weiser, Benjamin. “Reza Zarrab, Turk at Center of Iran Sanctions Case, Is Helping Prosecution.” The New York Times, 28 Nov. 2017, nyti.ms/2icWFRu, Weiser, Benjamin. “Reza Zarrab Testifies That He Bribed Turkish Minister.” The New York Times, 29 Nov. 2017, nyti.ms/2BygWWa, Weiser, Benjamin. “Erdogan Helped Turks Evade Iran Sanctions, Reza Zarrab Says.” The New York Times, 30 Nov. 2017, nyti.ms/2katZZL, Weiser, Benjamin. “At Iran Sanctions Trial: A Star Witness Revealed, and a Sleepy Juror.” The New York Times, 2 Dec. 2017, nyti.ms/2BG2qMs, Weiser, Benjamin. “Zarrab’s Take From Iran Sanctions Plot? ‘Maybe $150 Million,’ He Says.” The New York Times, 5 Dec. 2017, nyti.ms/2AUAtmf, “The Latest: Charges detailed in Turkish gold trader plea.” The Washington Post, 28 Nov. 2017, wapo.st/2hZS8Ou?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.37ad7e2afad3, Barrett, Devlin, and Erin Cunningham. “Gold dealer implicates Turkey’s president in corruption scheme.” The Washington Post, 30 Nov. 2017, wapo.st/2AmdApq?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.18c3e9148821.

[45] Grimaldi, James V., et al. “Mueller Probes Flynn’s Role in Alleged Plan to Deliver Cleric to Turkey.” The Wall Street Journal, 10 Nov. 2017, www.wsj.com/articles/mueller-probes-flynns-role-in-alleged-plan-to-deliver-cleric-to-turkey-1510309982.

[46] Demirkaya, Nergis. “Hükümetin 2023 planı: 5 yılda 228 yeni cezaevi – Nergis Demirkaya.” Gazete Duvar, 10 Dec. 2017, www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/gundem/2017/12/10/hukumetin-2023-plani-5-yilda-228-yeni-cezaevi/.

[47] Simsek, Yurdagul. “İçişleri Bakanlığı: Bir haftada 1323 operasyon düzenlendi, 4 bin 62 kişi gözaltına alındı.” Sputnik Türkiye, 11 Dec. 2017, sptnkne.ws/gkyG.

[48] Unal, Aydin. “’Smart’ Fetullahists.” Yeni Şafak, 4 Dec. 2017, www.yenisafak.com/en/columns/aydinunal/smart-fetullahists-2040235.

[49] “Cumhurbaşkanı Başdanışmanı’ndan Zarrab açıklaması.” CNN Türk, 20 Nov. 2017, www.cnnturk.com/turkiye/cumhurbaskani-basdanismanindan-zarrab-aciklamasi, “Erdoğan’ın başdanışmanı Zarrab’ı FETÖ’cü ilan etti.” Yeni Çağ Gazetesi, 20 Nov. 2017, www.yenicaggazetesi.com.tr/erdoganin-basdanismani-zarrabi-fetocu-ilan-etti-177682h.htm.

[50] “Erdoğan: Reza Zarrab ülkeye katkısı olan hayırsever biri.” T24, 26 Dec. 2013, t24.com.tr/haber/erdogan-reza-zarrab-ulkeye-katkisi-olan-hayirsever-biri,246961, Munyar, Vahap. “Zarrab hayırsever Aslan saf ve dürüst.” Hürriyet, 26 Dec. 2013, www.hurriyet.com.tr/zarrab-hayirsever-aslan-saf-ve-durust-25444886.

[51] For instance, he wrote “If the Zarrab case is used as a political attack against Turkey, the peace of FETÖ members in Turkey and all over the world will be more difficult than it is today.” Unal, Aydin. “Zarrab davasının sonuçları ne olur?” Yeni Şafak, 26 Nov. 2017, www.yenisafak.com/yazarlar/aydinunal/zarrab-davasinin-sonuclari-ne-olur-2041279.

[52] Bharara, Preet (PreetBharara). “Ladies and gentlemen, Erdogan’s deputy wants to kill Turkish journalists in exile, including those in America. https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/04/erdogans-deputy-threatens-journalists-with-extrajudicial-killings/ …” 4 Dec. 2017, 8:22 a.m. Tweet.

[53] Maloney, Carolyn B. (RepMaloney). “Freedom of the press is a vital part of any democracy and these threats are unacceptable. The US @StateDept needs to unequivocally and publicly condemn this.” 5 Dec. 2017, 7:57 a.m. Tweet.

[54] “Cem Küçük’ten canlı yayında işkence tavsiyesi: Havlu tekniği var, boğuyor.” Cumhuriyet, 12 Dec. 2017, www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/884749/Cem_Kucuk_ten_canli_yayinda_iskence_tavsiyesi__Havlu_teknigi_var__boguyor.html, “”Sallandır ayağından camdan aşağı”.” Odatv, 12 Dec. 2017, odatv.com/sallandir-ayagindan-camdan-asagi-1212171200.html, “Yandaş Cem Küçük’ün canlı yayında işkence öneren açıklamaları.” BirGun, 13 Dec. 2017, www.birgun.net/haber-detay/yandas-cem-kucuk-un-canli-yayinda-iskence-oneren-aciklamalari-rtuk-e-sikayet-edildi-195340.html.

[55] Ucok, Ahmet Zeki (ahmetzekiucok). “15 Temmuz darbe girişiminde başarılı olamayan FETÖ ve SAHİPLERİ,yeni bir kargaşa ortamı yaratmak amacıyla,Makedonya ve Kosova’da kurdukları özel timlerle siyasilere,din adamlarına,gazetecilere,spor adamlarına,sivil toplum liderleri vb karşı suikast planları yapmaktadırlar.Dikkat!” 5 Dec. 2017, 1:20 p.m. Tweet.

[56] “Vertrauter Erdoğans zündelt in Deutschland.” ZDF – zur Startseite, 12 Dec. 2017, www.zdf.de/politik/frontal-21/osmanen-germania-104.html.

[57] Gingeras, Ryan. “Is Turkey Turning Into a Mafia State?” Foreign Affairs, 30 Nov. 2017, www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2017-11-30/turkey-turning-mafia-state?cid=int-fls&pgtype=hpg.

[58] Washington Diplomacy Group is an independent government affairs firm active in Washington DC.

[59] Eksili, Bilal. Interviewed by the AST on December 2017.

[60] Interviewed by the AST on December 2017.

Download PDF: AST_Report_Threats_Gulen Movement

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URGING AUTHORITIES TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY STEPS FOR THE PROTECTION OF HIZMET PARTICIPANTS

Urging Authorities To Take All Necessary Steps For The Protection of Hizmet Participants

As it is known Turkish government has been taking strict measures to silence dissidents from various ideologies recently. Gulen 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. Regrettably, Turkish government’s actions against the Gulen Movement are not limited to Turkish borders but are also extraterritorial. There are many examples of abductions and physical violence incidents in several countries as well as threats by pro-government people referring to the supporters abroad. Individuals linked to the Movement cannot feel safe abroad either.

It is evident that the actions of the government have cross-border impacts putting even people abroad at risk. People that are perceived as linked to the Gulen Movement are justifiably right to be afraid of the possible incidents. Therefore, we as the Advocates of Silenced Turkey urge foreign governments to take all the necessary steps to ensure safety to these people before it is too late. Security officers must be aware of the potential risks. Officials working for the Turkish government abroad must be watched closely, they must be prevented if they are in preparation of any harm. Lastly, both individuals and organizations that are deemed to be Hizmet participants must be provided extra protection when there is an imminent risk targeting them.

We, as the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, remind foreign security officers and relevant bodies of the foreign governments the risks Hizmet participants may face, and to request all necessary steps to be taken to provide sufficient protection ensuring human rights and fundamental freedoms.

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.”

Download the report as pdf: AST_Report_Threats_Gulen Movement

STEP 1:
Sign the petition. We will deliver the petitions to foreign security officers and relevant bodies of the foreign governments to request support in reducing risks Followers of the Gulen Movement face.

The petitions will be delivered to following addresses

U.S. Homeland Security
United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
International Court of Justice
The Federal Intelligence Service of Germany

Or

Express your views or send attached statement to following addresses:
(Some of the institutions do not have an email address. You would need to submit it to them through their submission form on their websites)

Download sample statement as a word document: AST_Letter_Threats_Gulen Movement

1) U.S. Homeland Security
Email: https://www.dhs.gov/online-forms-and-email / hrv.ice@dhs.gov
Phone: 202-282-8000
Twitter: @DHSgov
Website: https://www.dhs.gov/

2) The Federal Bureau of Investigation
Email: (need to submit form online)
Phone: 202-278-2000
Twitter: @FBI
Website: https://www.fbi.gov/

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

4) U.S. Department of Justice
Email: https://www.justice.gov/doj/webform/your-message-department-justice
Phone: 202-353-1555
Twitter: @TheJusticeDept
Website: https://www.justice.gov/

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

6) European Court of Human Rights
Email: http://appform.echr.coe.int/echrrequest/request.aspx?lang=gb
Phone: (+33) 0 3 88 41 20 18
Fax: (+33) (0)3 88 41 27 30
Website: http://www.echr.coe.int/pages/home.aspx?p=basictexts

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

8) European Union
Email: (need to submit form online)
Phone: 80067891011
Twitter: @EU_Commission
Website: https://europa.eu/european-union/index_en

9) Interpol
Email: https://www.interpol.int/Forms/CPO
Fax: +33 4 72 44 71 63
Twitter: @INTERPOL_HQ ‏
Website: https://www.interpol.int/

10) The Federal Government of Germany
Email: (need to submit form online)
Website: https://www.bundesregierung.de/Webs/Breg/EN/Homepage/_node.html

11) Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
Email: (need to submit form online)

12) Federal Office for Migration and Refugees
Email: (need to submit form online)
Phone: (+49) 911 9430
Twitter: @BAMF_Dialog
Website: http://www.bamf.de/EN/Startseite/startseite-node.html

13) The Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany
Email: https://www.bundestag.de/en/service/contactform
Phone: (+49) (0) 30 227-0
Fax: (+49)(0) 30 227-36878
Twitter: @INTERPOL_HQ ‏
Website: http://www.bundestag.de/en/

14) The Federal Intelligence Service
Email: zentrale@bundesnachrichtendienst.de
Phone: (+49) (0) 30 4 14 64 57
Website: http://www.bnd.bund.de/EN/_Home/home_node.html

15) Hellenic Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Email: http://www.mfa.gr/en/contact/mfa-en-contacts/hellenic-ministry-of-foreign-affairs.html
Phone: (+30) 210 368 1000
Fax: (+30) 210 368 1717
Website: http://www.mfa.gr/en/

STEP 2:
Share with your friends.

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STATEMENT ON MISSING 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. Families and friends of the teachers have indicated they are very much worried that there has not been any sign regarding their whereabouts. 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 ask the government of Afghanistan to step back and release the teachers immediately. We also invite all international organizations and everyone caring about human rights and fundamental freedoms to speak out to create awareness and also to take urgent action against such an abduction towards the teachers as it violates many human rights enshrined by international human rights law. Number of cases of illegal abductions committed at the request of the Turkish government have been increasing day by day. The situation is likely to get worse if we do not protect the victims. Therefore, we lastly urge President Erdogan to stop resorting to illegal ways to clampdown innocent people.

Download as pdf: AST_Statement_Teachers_in_Afghanistan

Please send a letter to your representatives, relevant individuals or organization regarding the illegal abductions of members of Gulen Movement. A letter sample is attached as a word document: AST_Letter_Urgent Appeal regarding Turkish Teachers in Afghanistan

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300 families have fled Turkey to Greece due to post-coup crackdown

A Turkish family that was victimized by a government purge of the Gülen movement following a failed coup in July 2016 has fled to Greece in an inflatable boat, telling their children it was a “game,” Euronews reported.

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Statement on Human Rights Day

As Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we are pleased to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Human Rights Day. Yet, unfortunately, the values emphasized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are today undermined in many countries. It is the duty of each informed citizen to advocate for peace and sustain justice. Human Rights Day is therefore not only about few people, but it is about all of us.

Turkey is one of the countries that have experienced significant deterioration in regards to values mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. After the failed coup, more than 130,000 people have been arbitrary detained and more than 60,000 people have been arrested. Many of those arrested do not have any evidence against them. Nonetheless, there are 17,000 women in jail and 688 babies under age of six. Furthermore, there has been more than 2,200 torture and numerous abduction cases. All independent media in Turkey have been shut down and confiscated by the government. More than 4,400 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed. The government has also seized more than 800 companies worth more than $10 billion.

We urge every individual to voice the silenced voices of people in Turkey. As mentioned earlier, it is the duty of each of us to advocate for peace and justice in order to attain it. 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 as pdf: AST_Statement-on-Human-Rights-Day

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Another Turkish Woman Detained On Coup Charges One Day After Giving Birth

Fatma Türkmen, who gave birth to a baby in Ankara on Monday, was reportedly detained on Tuesday over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

According to a Twitter account, @Odak2014, police came to the hospital several hours after Türkmen gave birth to her baby, and took her to a police station in Ankara for interrogation. The mother was allegedly refused by police to see her newborn baby. The claim has neither been confirmed nor denied by the Turkish authorities.

This is not the first-time Turkish police detained a woman shortly after giving birth, as part of an ongoing investigation into the alleged followers of the Gülen movement.

In July, Rümeysa Doğan in an Antalya hospital and Ayşe Kaya from Edirne province were detained by police after delivery.

On June 2, Elif Aslaner, a religious education teacher who gave birth to a baby May 31 at a private hospital in Bursa province, was detained due to alleged links to the Gülen movement.

In May, Aysun Aydemir, an English teacher who gave birth to a baby in an elective cesarean procedure, was detained at the hospital and subsequently arrested by a court and put in pretrial detention with a 3-day-old baby in Zonguldak province as part of the witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement.

In late January, Fadime Günay, who gave birth to a baby, was detained by police at Antalya’s Alanya Başkent Hospital.

In early January, Ş.A., a former private school teacher and mother of a week-old premature infant, was taken into police custody over links to the movement while she was on her way to the hospital to feed the baby.

A day after Ş.A. was taken into police custody, another woman known as Meryem gave birth to twins by C-section at a hospital in Konya and was detained by police despite hospital reports said that she should not travel and was taken to Aksaray from Konya in a police car.

According to recent data released by the Ministry of Justice, 668 children aged between 0 to 6 are being held in prison along with their parents.Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Source: https://stockholmcf.org/another-turkish-woman-detained-on-coup-charges-one-day-after-giving-birth/

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Freedom for Babies

There are more than 700 babies and 17 000 women in jail in Turkey. No more moms and babies should be behind the bars in Turkey.

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