Animatic story of Turkish teacher Gokhan Acikkollu who was tortured to death under police custody in Turkey.
Video prepared by Huddled Masses.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghan intelligence agency, abducted four teachers including one Afghan and three Turkish nationals from one of the schools run by the Afghan Turk CAG Educational NGO (ATCE) on 12 December 2017. While three Turkish nationals and one Afghan teacher were released, two Turkish nationals are still under house arrest and face possible deportation to Turkey.
The ATCE was founded by Gulen inspired Turkish businessmen and teachers and has been running several schools in different cities of Afghanistan since 1995. Despite all the difficulties in the region, the ATCE has continued to maintain its services believing that education is the only way to overcome those difficulties.
Former Deputy Minister of Education, Sediq Patman classified the situation as “politically motivated and unethical.” Former NDS chief has also defined the move as unprecedented in recent years, also as a shameful act for the government. According to former government officials, the raid by the NDS was illegal in the sense that the security forces have been used by the government leaders for political objectives. Despite these statements, there has not been an official comment on the incidence, neither by the government nor the intelligence agency.
Moreover, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani traveled to Istanbul a day before the incidence (12/11/17) to attend a summit organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Ministry of Education said, “it was satisfied with the functioning of these schools, but decision on their fate rested with President Ghani.” Reportedly few days before the operation, the Turkish government announced arrest warrant on teachers’ name for taking part in the so-called coup attempt. Documents indicate that the UN has provided asylum protection to one of the abducted teachers and asked authorities not to extradite him to Turkey.
The operation against the ATCE is part of a Turkish campaign against the followers of Fethullah Gulen who is a Turkish cleric which lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. He promotes a moderate form of Islam, supports inter-faith communication and inspires to promote education in different parts of the world. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses him of orchestrating the failed coup-attempt. Mr. Gulen has strongly been denying all the allegations.
As the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we strongly request your assistance to remind the Afghan authorities to ensure that the individuals at risk avoid expulsion in Turkey, where they would, with a great deal of certainty, be subject to torture and ill-treatment. We do believe that this is also an important moment to act in accordance with the Constitution of Afghanistan and relevant provisions of accepted international human rights treaties, in particular, CAT Article 3. We further believe that this is also an opportunity to demonstrate Afghanistan’s resolute commitment to upholding the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, ahead of its upcoming UN Human Rights Council membership.
Read AST’s statement on the Turkish teachers in Afghanistan : https://silencedturkey.org/missing-teachers-in-afghanistan
Read more on the situation of Turkish teachers in Afghanistan : https://silencedturkey.org/fate-of-four-afghan-turk-teachers-remains-uncertain
Download sample statement as a word document: AST_Letter_Teachers_in_Afghanistan
Download UPDATED (4/5/18) statement as a word document: AST_Sample_Letter-Afghanistan_Updated_4/5/18
We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement to the following addresses:
1. Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan
Phone: 0202104444, 0202104445
(Can be reached through the Acting Spokesperson for the President’s Office)
Shah Hussain Murtazawi, Acting Spokesperson for the President’s Office
Phone: +93 (0) 728 998 907
2. Salahuddin Rabbani. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Address: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Malek Asghar St. Kabul, Afghanistan
Phone: 0093 (0) 20 2100372, 0093 (0) 20 2100371
3. Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States
Address: Embassy of Afghanistan, 2341 Wyoming Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008
4. Mahmoud SAIKAL, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New York
Address: 633 Third Avenue Floor 27A, New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-972 1212
Fax: 212-972 1216
5. U.S. Embassy Kabul
Phone: (00 93) (0)700-10-8000
Fax: (00 93) (0)700-108-564
Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_March 26
Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 3/19/2018-3/26/2018
1-” Police officer suspended in post-coup crackdown dies of heart attack”
2-” Journalist’s lawyer brother detained, beaten by plainclothes police”
3-” 24 jailed pending trial over money deposits to Bank Asya”
4-” 73-year-old German-Turkish dual citizen in solitary confinement in Silivri prison: family”
5-” Orange is the New Black’s Turkish adaptation faces censorship over terror propaganda”
6-” 24 employees of Gülenist publishing house arrested on coup charges: report”
7-” UN calls on Turkey to end state of emergency, torture, ban on purged civil servants”
8-” Purge-victim engineer abducted in Rize — claim”
9-” ECtHR: Turkey violates liberty, security, freedom of expression of Şahin Alpay, Mehmet Altan”
10-” Turkey’s largest media group sold to pro-gov’t businessman Demirören”
11-” Pro-Kurdish politician arrested for ‘insulting’ Erdogan during Newroz speech”
12-” Turkish singer Zuhal Olcay gets 10 months in prison for ‘insulting’ Erdogan: report”
13-” Pro-Kurdish deputy Lezgin Botan gets 18 years in prison on terror charges”
14-” Warrants issued for 55 employees of gov’t-closed publisher”
15-” Prosecutors seek 54 months for AKP co-founder for ‘insulting’ Erdogan”
16-” Turkish government now blocks use of VPN: report”
17-” Hours after being released, man pictured sitting near graves of family members who died in traffic accident after visiting him in prison”
18-” [VIDEO]Police detain 7 Bogaziçi students for participating in protest against Turkey’s Afrin operation”
19-” 16 members of Alevi association detained in Erzincan on terror charges: report”
20-” Report: At least 2,113 people detained over Gülen links in March alone”
21-” Under pretrial detention for 20 months, academic Sedat Laciner says ‘miss my home, children, wife, friends, students and books’”
22-” 2,500 schools, dormitories confiscated as 30,000 teachers dismissed during post-coup emergency rule: ministry”
23-” Turkish couple, both teachers, under police custody in post-coup crackdown: report”
24-” UN report details extensive human rights violations in Turkey during protracted state of emergency”
25-” CPT publishes report on İmralı Prison saying conditions satisfactory but…”
26-” CoE’s annual report shows record increase in Turkish prison population”
27-” Turkish court sentences rector, deans, academics of closed university to long prison terms over alleged Gülen links”
28-” Canada’s Green Party leader on human rights violations in Turkey: I am entirely horrified”
29-” CPJ calls on EU officials to raise press freedom with Erdoğan”
Türkiye tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 3/19/2018-3/26/2018
1-” AİHM’in diyet yemek kararına rağmen hasta tutuklulara verilmiyor”
2-” Hakimi gözaltına alırken ağzına silah sokup darp etmişler!”
3-” KHK ile ihraç edilen Nuray öğretmen işkence ile itirafçı edilmeye çalışılıyor”
4-” KHK ile hayatı kararan öğretmen intihar etti”
5-” Hasta tutuklulara ‘çift kelepçe’”
6-” Grup Yorum üyesi Varan: Saçım yolundu dosya işlemden kaldırıldı”
7-” KHK ile işten atıldı, tutuklandı, ailesini kaybetti, tahliye edildi”
8-” Erdoğan’ın hedef gösterdiği 7 öğrenci gözaltına alındı!”
9-” AKP, VPN’in ipini çekmek üzere”
10-” Mehmet Altan’ın avukatı açıkladı; Bugün tahliye edilmesini bekliyoruz”
11-” Işık Yayıncılık’a 2. operasyon: 55 kişi hakkında gözaltı kararı”
12-” Gergerlioğlu: Hakkım olan emekli ikramiyemi vermediler, yani gasp ettiler, maksat zulüm olsun”
13-” Kaçırılan Ümit Horzum dosyası sil baştan!”
14-” OHAL’in kaldırılması için hukukçular AİHM’e başvurdu”
15-” ‘2500 okul ve yurt kapattık, 30 bin öğretmeni ihraç ettik’”
16-” Gazeteci Resul Cengiz’e resmi yazıyla cezaevinde uyutmama işkencesi”
17-” Sibel ve Harun öğretmen gözaltına alındı, çocukları kimsesiz kaldı”
18-” Deniz Yücel’le telefonda konuşan 59 kişiye ‘örgüt bağlantısı’ suçlaması!”
19-” Basın meslek örgütleri: Tek bir aykırı ses çıksın istemiyorlar”
20-” Zuhal Olcay’a ‘Cumhurbaşkanı’na hakaret’ten 10 ay hapis cezası”
21-” Birleşmiş Milletler’den Türkiye’ye insan hakları eleştirisi”
GENEVA (27 February 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, expressed serious concerns about the rising allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in Turkish police custody since the end of his official visit to the country in December 2016.
Melzer said he was alarmed by allegations that large numbers of individuals suspected of links to the Gülenist Movement or the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party were exposed to brutal interrogation techniques aimed at extracting forced confessions or coercing detainees to incriminate others.
Reported abuse included severe beatings, electrical shocks, exposure to icy water, sleep deprivation, threats, insults and sexual assault.
The Special Rapporteur said no serious measures appeared to have been taken by the authorities to investigate these allegations or to hold perpetrators accountable.
Instead, complaints asserting torture were allegedly dismissed by the prosecutor citing a ‘state of emergency decree (Article 9 of Decree no. 667)’ which reportedly exempts public officials from criminal responsibility for acts undertaken in the context of the state of emergency.
“The human right to be free from torture and other ill-treatment is absolute and non-derogable, and continues to apply in all situations of political instability or any other public emergency,” the Special Rapporteur said. No circumstances, however exceptional and well argued, can ever justify torture or any form of impunity for such abuse.
“Torture is not only a notoriously ineffective interrogation method, but it constitutes the most fundamental assault on human dignity and is invariably listed among the most serious international crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
Melzer said by inviting his mandate to visit the country in December 2016, soon after an attempted coup, the Government had demonstrated its commitment to its official “zero tolerance” policy on torture.
“However, the authorities’ failure to publicly condemn torture and ill-treatment, and to enforce the universal prohibition of such abuse in daily practice seems to have fostered a climate of impunity, complacency and acquiescence which gravely undermines that prohibition and, ultimately, the rule of law,” he said.
The Special Rapporteur also said he remained keen to engage in a “direct and constructive dialogue” with the Turkish authorities to achieve full implementation of the prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.
At least 80 women, including high school and university students, were reportedly subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of officers at the Mersin police station, according to several Twitter accounts and media outlets.
The women were believed to be affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The alleged victims were reportedly detained by police from the Smuggling and Organized Crime Directorate (KOM) after “helping Gülenist families in need of food and resources” in Mersin province, according to a Twitter account named @Turkeydeiskence (Torture in Turkey).
The claim has neither been confirmed nor denied by the Turkish authorities.
The same Twitter account also tweeted that among the detainees are a mother and her 2-month-old infant who have been held in police custody for four days. Also, a 15-year-old high school student has been held in detention at the juvenile facility of the provincial police department.
The Twitter account also claimed that a lawyer representing the detainees fainted at the police department exit after witnessing the torture and ill-treatment of their clients in police custody. (Turkey Purge)
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.
“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.”
There is an ongoing suppression of dissidents following the attempted coup of July 15, 2016. The state of emergency and the decree laws pave the way for discrimination and segregation on the basis of ethnicity, religion, and political or other opinions. Women and children are discriminated and segregated on the basis of their identity or the identity of their family members and parents. Ordinary citizens including, women, men, children, elderly, and disabled people face discrimination based on physical or mental disability, birth registration, place of residence, social segregation, gender or health, and sometimes a combination of these reasons.
Below are some types of discrimination that people face in Turkey:
• More than 150,000 public officials are dismissed from their positions without any evidence, due process and any explanation but their names appear on long lists.
• More than 60,000 people have been arrested because of alleged links with the Hizmet Movement without any concrete criminal evidence. Much more were taken into custody and released under probation.
• The government violated people’s fundamental right to travel by either canceling or not issuing their passports.
• The government’s inflammatory rhetoric and hate speech target the followers of the Hizmet Movement and other dissidents. Both public and the government have been labeling people as terrorists even though there is no such indication, only because they support or are not against the Hizmet Movement.
• Assets of the Hizmet Movement’s supporters have been frozen leading people to suffer also financially besides other problems.
• People labeled as terrorists cannot find a job neither in public nor in private field.
• Dissidents and their families are deliberately deprived of social services and financial resources needed for physical survival.
• The state of emergency and the new decree laws impose life-threatening forcible discrimination and segregation in Turkey.
• Majority of the Turkish citizens face fear and betrayal in a police state.
• The dissidents and human rights defenders are under arbitrary detention and arrest without due process.
• There are grave violations of international human rights law and atrocity crimes including torture, inhuman and degrading treatment.
• There is a lack of legal remedies in the Turkish judiciary, people cannot look for a remedy from the courts and other mechanisms such as the State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission.
• Torture and other similar incidents have been witnessed a lot especially during police custody.
• People arrested over Hizmet links are kept under inhuman conditions in overcrowded prisons.
• Both arrestees and their visitors are under psychological pressure by the guards.
• Family members of people who are at large are threatened by police officers to be taken into custody and arrested if they do not give information about their relatives’ whereabouts.
Below are some types of human rights violations Turkish people with links to the Hizmet Movement face abroad:
• Turkish citizens abroad are vulnerable for arbitrary detentions, abductions and expulsions, therefore, need protection.
• There are 229 Turkish citizens abroad who are called to return Turkey; if not, they will be deprived of nationality.
• Hundreds and thousands of Turkish citizens abroad are denied of consular services including newborns who became stateless outside of Turkey. Consulates do not issue passports to these people as well.
• Turkish citizens seeking asylum would face torture and ill-treatment if deported to Turkey.
• Because of passport cancellations by the Turkish government, family members of the supporters in Turkey cannot leave Turkey leading to family separation.
• Foreign governments do not grant visa in most cases to the families of asylum seekers that include the supporters of the Hizmet Movement abroad, which again leads to family separation.
• In some cases, family members of the supporters of the Movement could be able to leave Turkey but reach out the countries that are not safe such as Kyrgyzstan and Morocco. It is highly risky that they might be deported or will face same type of persecution in these countries because of Erdogan’s pressure. Again because of visa and passport problems, they cannot go to safer countries.
• In most cases assets and bank accounts of the supporters and their family members are frozen by the government, thus people cannot transfer their funds abroad and struggle for a living.
• Most people seeking asylum abroad are still waiting for a decision especially in the United States because of the long process of asylum application. They live in uncertainty by not knowing when will they be granted asylum and attain their rights.