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Rights defender Gergerlioğlu gets 2.5 year prison sentence on terror charges

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, one of Turkey’s most renowned human rights activists and former president of the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (Mazlumder), has been handed down a prison sentence of two-and-a-half years on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

The verdict was decided by the Kocaeli 2nd High Criminal Court on Wednesday where Gergerlioğlu was standing trial on charges of involvement in terrorist propaganda.

Gergerlioğlu was tried because of his messages on social media that called for the end of years-long clashes between the Turkish military and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The court ruled that Gergerlioğlu’s messages on social media were tantamount to praising the activities of the PKK and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organization that encompasses the PKK.

In a message posted to his personal blog on Wednesday, Gergerlioğlu commented on the court ruling and said throughout his life he has defended human rights, rejected conflict, supported dialogue and reconciliation and defended everyone’s right without discrimination.

“At a time when the law has been shelved, I do not accept this very unjust ruling, and I leave it to the conscience of the nation. I will continue my struggle so that [people of] all identities and views can enjoy human rights and a free life,” he wrote.

Gergerlioğlu also said that at a time when unbelievable acts of tyranny are taking place in the country, he would not lose his hope about the end of this period and continue his efforts to maintain the rule of law.

Gross human rights violations have been taking place in Turkey since a failed coup attempt in July 2016 as the Turkish government has launched a massive witch-hunt to punish its critics under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

Gergerlioğlu has been a vocal critic of the government’s ongoing crackdown on regular citizens. He frequently brings rights violations experienced by the government’s victims to public attention.

Gergerlioğlu, who is a doctor by profession, was also fired from his job at a public hospital by a government decree in January 2017.

Source:
https://turkeypurge.com/rights-defender-gergerlioglu-gets-2-5-year-prison-sentence-terror-charges

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Turkish government’s ‘Global Purge’ targeted opponents in at least 46 countries

Turkish government has pursued an aggressive policy to silence its perceived enemies in at least 46 countries across four continents, as part of its post-coup crackdown, a Foreign Affairs article noted Monday. The Turkish government has been hunting its opponents abroad, particularly the supporters of the Gulen movement since before and after the failed putsch on July 15, 2016, the article said adding that government’s alleged enemies were targeted at least in 46 countries.

Elaborating on the purge abroad, the magazine said: “Ankara has revoked thousands of passports, and achieved the arrest, deportation, or rendition of hundreds of Turkish citizens from at least 16 countries, including many who were under UN protection as asylum seekers. It has successfully pressured at least 20 countries to close or transfer to new owners dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Gulen movement schools.”

Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the 2016 failed coup while the latter denies involvement. More than 150,000 has passed through police custody while over a one-third of those were remanded in prison over Gulen links in Turkey. More than 3,000 schools, dormitories, and universities were shuttered while over 1,000 companies were seized at home.

While the article presents an in-depth insight into the chronological relations between the movement and Turkey’s governments in the recent history, it says the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government labeled the group as a terrorist organization before waging an all-out war against it.

Deportations

“Since the failed coup attempt, Turkey has exerted diplomatic pressure on various governments to arrest or deport hundreds of individuals from around the world. By my count, 15 countries have arrested or deported various representatives of the movement, ranging from supposed financiers to schoolteachers. Those countries include Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Georgia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Turkmenistan. …In at least three cases—Kazakhstan, Myanmar, and Sudan—individuals appear to have been turned over to Turkey without judicial proceedings, perhaps through the operation of a special National Intelligence Organization unit that Turkey’s state news agency says was established to track down “high-value” Gulenists. There have also been multiple cases in which those deported were apparently seeking asylum and thus had protected status at the time they were sent to Turkey: news reports say this was the case in Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Malaysia, and Pakistan. Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov admitted that the August 2016 deportation of a software engineer who had applied for asylum before the coup attempt was “on the edge of the law.” In other cases, like in Angola, Pakistan, and Qatar, there were mass deportations following the closure of Gulen schools.”

Also, pro-government commentators, such as Cem Kucuk, have talked casually about how MIT should kill members of the Gulen movement abroad, the magazine reported.

Closure of schools abroad

“The movement’s schools are under extreme pressure in the global purge,” the article highlighted before detailing the pressure on Gulenists’ overseas facilities: “Since its falling-out with the Gulenist movement in 2013, the government has been pressing other countries to shutter the schools. The Gambia closed its Gulen schools in April 2014. Turkey’s close ally Azerbaijan followed soon thereafter and Tajikistan shut down its Gulen schools in 2015. But elsewhere in the world, these schools largely remained open until the coup attempt of July 2016, after which Turkey increased the pressure. The results were quick. Schools were almost immediately closed in Jordan, Libya, and Somalia. Angola, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Morocco, and Tanzania followed suit in early 2017. Before the year was out, Afghanistan, Chad, Georgia, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, and Tunisia had all closed or transferred schools.

Pressure extends beyond Gulenists

Not only the supporters of the movement have been targeted, the article said, adding that all alleged government enemies within and outside Turkey were affected.

“In fact, 31 percent of all those arrested in government operations under the state of emergency, which has been in place since October 2016, were associated with Kurdish or leftist groups, according to official figures compiled by iHop, a Turkish human rights monitoring group. Nearly 400 academics who signed a petition before the coup attempt calling for peace between the state and the PKK in January 2016 have also been fired, and some have left Turkey or remained abroad. Others who have been convicted or charged while outside the country now fear traveling because of the threat of detention due to Interpol notices.”

“The global purge has also touched Interpol. In December, the AP reported that Interpol representatives were examining up to 40,000 extradition requests, some perhaps from Turkey, for possible political abuse. The report came after a number of high-profile cases involving Turks abroad, including Dogan Akhanli, a left-wing writer with dual German and Turkish citizenship who was arrested and forced to remain in Spain for two months while Spanish authorities assessed Turkey’s extradition request.”

Sources:
https://turkeypurge.com/report-turkish-governments-global-purge-targeted-opponents-least-46-countries
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2018-01-29/remarkable-scale-turkeys-global-purge?cid=int-fls&pgtype=hpg

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