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torture

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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668 babies under age of six live in Turkish prisons

Turkey has been governed with decree laws since the failed coup. Turkish Execution Law, Article(16/4), indicates that executions shall be deferred for a woman who is pregnant or until the end of six months following her delivery.

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AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly Dec 11

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_Dec11

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 12/4/2017-12/11/2017

1-“768 senior public servants, families claimed asylum in Germany: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/768-senior-public-servants-families-claimed-asylum-germany-report

2-“Journalist Mehmet Baransu remains arrested following court hearing”
https://turkeypurge.com/journalist-mehmet-baransu-remains-arrested-following-court-hearing

3-“10 judges, prosecutors and lawyers detained in new post-coup probe”
https://turkeypurge.com/10-judges-prosecutors-lawyers-detained-new-post-coup-probe

4-“Prosecutor moves to end parliamentary immunity for 19 pro-Kurdish HDP lawmakers”
https://turkeypurge.com/prosecutor-moves-end-parliamentary-immunity-19-pro-kurdish-hdp-lawmakers

5-“664 people detained over Gülen links in past week: ministry”
https://turkeypurge.com/664-people-detained-gulen-links-past-week-ministry

6-“Jailed Visually Impaired Turkish Journalist Still Lack Of Lawyer To Take Assistance For His Defence Before Courts”
https://stockholmcf.org/jailed-visually-impaired-turkish-journalist-still-lack-of-lawyer-to-take-assistance-for-his-defence-before-courts/

7-“Erdoğan’s Henchman Threatens Exiled Turkish Journalists With Extrajudicial Killings”
https://stockholmcf.org/erdogans-henchman-threatens-turkish-journalists-with-extrajudicial-killings/

8-“Jailed Turkish-German Journalist Deniz Yücel Taken Out Of Solitary Confinement”
https://stockholmcf.org/jailed-turkish-german-journalist-deniz-yucel-taken-out-of-solitary-confinement/

9-“Turkish Police Torture Brother Of A Human Rights Lawyer In Southeast Anatolia”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-police-torture-brother-of-a-human-rights-lawyer-in-southeast-anatolia/

10-“Trial begins for peace declaration academics on Dec. 5”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/04/trial-begins-for-peace-declaration-academics-on-dec-5/

11-“İHD and TİHV: 2,278 tortured, 11 abducted in Turkey in 2017”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/09/ihd-and-tihv-2278-tortured-11-abducted-in-turkey-in-2017/

12-“Ankara governor bans anti-corruption speech by communist party member”
https://turkeypurge.com/ankara-governor-bans-anti-corruption-speech-communist-party-member

13-” Swedish Left Party Head Sjöstedt Says Turkish Police Threatened Him To Arrest”
https://stockholmcf.org/swedish-left-party-head-sjostedt-says-turkish-police-threatened-him-to-arrest/

14-“Turkish Gov’t Reluctant To Assign 1,100 Newly Graduated Medical Doctors On Basis Of Security Checks”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-reluctant-to-assign-1100-newly-graduated-medical-doctors-on-basis-of-security-checks/

15-“İstanbul court rules for continuation of arrest of Zaman columnists”
https://turkeypurge.com/istanbul-court-rules-continuation-arrest-zaman-columnists

16-“15-year jail term sought for owner of Hosta kebab chain over coup charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/15-year-jail-term-sought-owner-hosta-kebab-chain-coup-charges

17-“Policeman Suspended By Turkish Gov’t Reportedly Dies While Working As Construction Worker”
https://stockholmcf.org/policeman-suspended-by-turkish-govt-reportedly-dies-while-working-as-construction-worker/

18-“Rights groups say 2,278 people tortured, 11 abducted in Turkey in 2017”
https://turkeypurge.com/rights-groups-say-2278-tortured-11-abducted-turkey-2017

19-“Ankara governor bans anti-corruption speech by communist party member”
https://turkeypurge.com/ankara-governor-bans-anti-corruption-speech-communist-party-member

20-” Research shows purge in Turkey ruined lives of 21,000 health care workers ”
https://turkeypurge.com/new-report-shows-turkeys-purge-ruined-lives-21000-health-care-workers

21-” Turkish police officer who saved Erdoğan on night of coup arrested over Gülen links”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/08/turkish-police-officer-who-saved-erdogan-on-night-of-coup-arrested-over-gulen-links/

22-“Press groups call on EU to be less deferential towards Turkey on rights violations”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/08/press-groups-call-on-eu-to-be-less-deferential-towards-turkey-on-rights-violations/

23-“Soldier charged TL 34 million for ‘coup damages’ in Ankara: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/soldier-charged-tl-34-million-coup-damages-report

24-“Court rules to keep pro-Kurdish opposition leader Selahattin Demirtaş behind bars”
https://turkeypurge.com/court-rules-keep-pro-kurdish-opposition-leader-selahattin-demirtas-behind-bars

25-“Report says 300 families have fled Turkey to Greece due to post-coup crackdown”
https://turkeypurge.com/300-families-fled-turkeys-post-coup-crackdown-greece-report

26-“Turkey seizes US witness Reza Zarrab’s private jet, yacht”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-seizes-us-witness-reza-zarrabs-private-jet-yacht

27-“Turkey detains 17 for ‘providing US with information’ for Zarrab case”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-detains-17-providing-us-information-zarrab-case

28-“Turkish court rules for continuation of 20 journalists on coup charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-court-rules-continuation-20-journalists-coup-charges

29-“Turkey jails solyayin.com editor-in-chief, closes down website on terror charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/solyayin-com-editor-chief-arrested-website-closed-terror-charges

30-“Turkey seizes assets of former opposition deputy over Zarrab case”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-seizes-assets-former-opposition-deputy-zarrab-case

31-“Turkey’s former top scorer Zafer Biryol re-detained in post-coup investigation”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkeys-former-top-scorer-zafer-biryol-re-detained-post-coup-investigation

32-“47 including Gülen’s nephew detained in new post-coup probe”
https://turkeypurge.com/47-including-gulens-nephew-detained-new-post-coup-probe

33-“Der Spiegel: Erdogan offered Germany a mafia-like ‘prisoner exchange’”
https://turkeypurge.com/der-spiegel-erdogan-offered-germany-mafia-like-prisoner-exchange

34-“Mysterious note left at CHP office’s door threatens: You’ll pay for it, traitors!”
https://turkeypurge.com/mysterious-note-left-chp-offices-door-threatens-youll-pay-traitors

35-“School principal detained for insulting Erdogan”
https://turkeypurge.com/school-principal-detained-insulting-erdogan

36-” Turkish court rules Yeni Asya journalist Nur Ener to remain behind bars”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/06/turkish-court-rules-yeni-asya-journalist-nur-ener-to-remain-behind-bars/

37-“Teacher couple gets 7 years in jail over Gulen links”
https://turkeypurge.com/teacher-couple-gets-7-year-jail-gulen-links

38-“11 Turkish folk dancers apply for asylum in Hungary after performing in Budapest”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/12/05/11-turkish-folk-dancers-apply-for-asylum-in-hungary-after-performing-in-budapest/

39-“Veteran Turkish Journalist Hasan Cemal: A Case Where Universal Principles Of Law Forgotten”
https://stockholmcf.org/veteran-journalist-hasan-cemal-a-case-where-universal-principles-of-law-forgotten/

40-“New York Times: Turkey No Safe Zone For Foreign Political Dissidents ”
https://stockholmcf.org/new-york-times-turkey-no-safe-zone-for-foreign-political-dissidents/

41-“Turkish Asylum Seekers In Greece Tell Of Lives Full Of Fear In Erdoğan’s Turkey”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-asylum-seekers-in-greece-tell-of-lives-full-of-fear-in-erdogans-turkey/

42-“Steudtner: Detained Activists In Turkey Face ‘Unfair’ Judicial System”
https://stockholmcf.org/steudtner-detained-activists-in-turkey-face-unfair-judicial-system/

Türkiye tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 12/4/2017-12/11/2017

1-“Mehmet Baransu’ya yine savunma yaptırmadılar!”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/mehmet-baransuya-yine-savunma-yaptirmadilar-h108526.html

2-“Güney Afrikalı yetimler, hapishanedeki bebekler için yürüdü!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/guney-afrikali-yetimler-hapishanedeki-bebekler-icin-yurudu-h108525.html

3-“Baskı rejiminin olduğu Türkiye’den kaçış!”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/baski-rejiminin-oldugu-turkiyeden-kacis-h108522.html

4-“Erdoğan’ın danışmanı cemaati ‘yargısız infaz’larla tehdit etti!”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/erdoganin-danismani-cemaati-yargisiz-infazlarla-tehdit-etti-h108512.html

5-“Ayda ortalama bin Türk Almanya’dan sığınma istedi!”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/ayda-ortalama-bin-turk-almanyadan-siginma-istedi-h108514.html

6-“Cezaevi tutsağı gazeteci Büşra Erdal’dan mektup var: ‘şükür ki OHAL’de kuşlara ziyaret yasağı yok, kitaplar da ötekileştirmiyor”
http://www.tr724.com/cezaevi-tutsagi-gazeteci-busra-erdaldan-mektup-var-sukur-ki-ohalde-kuslara-ziyaret-yasagi-yok-kitaplar-da-otekilestirmiyor/

7-“AKP’nin havuzu Akit TV Zeyno Erkan’ı tekrar hedef gösterdi”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/akpnin-havuzu-akit-tv-zeyno-erkani-tekrar-hedef-gosterdi-h108785.html

8-“İşte AKP rejiminin yıkım raporu.. Binlerce ölü, işkence, OHAL ve KHK’lar..”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/iste-akp-rejiminin-yikim-raporu-binlerce-olu-iskence-ohal-ve-khklar-h108775.html

9-“İsveçli Sol Parti Lideri: Demirtaş davasından sonra polis bizi tehdit etti”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/isvecli-sol-parti-lideri-demirtas-davasindan-sonra-polis-bizi-tehdit-etti-h108776.html

10-“Süreç uzarsa intihar vakaları başlayabilir”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/surec-uzarsa-intihar-vakalari-baslayabilir-h108743.html

11-“AKP iktidarının, doğumhane kapısındaki utanç nöbeti!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/akp-iktidarinin-dogumhane-kapisindaki-utanc-nobeti-h108576.html

12-“Yüksekova’da 4 sivili öldüren zırhlı polis aracının kamera görüntüleri ortaya çıktı..”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/yuksekovada-4-sivili-olduren-zirhli-polis-aracinin-kamera-goruntuleri-ortaya-cikti-h108597.html

13-“BBC: Türkiye’den kaçan yüzlerce Gülen Cemaati üyesi Selanik’te”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/bbc-turkiyeden-kacan-yuzlerce-gulen-cemaati-uyesi-selanikte/

14-“Siz ‘Gülenci’siniz, benim cezaevine düşerseniz size yapacağımı biliyorum”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/siz-gulencisiniz-benim-cezaevine-duserseniz-size-yapacagimi-biliyorum/

15-“Savunma: ‘Kafasına miğferle vurulmadı, nar isabet ettiği için öldü’”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/savunma-kafasina-migferle-vurulmadi-nar-isabet-ettigi-icin-oldu/

16-“‘Dengeler değiştiği an serbest kalacağız, çünkü suçlu değiliz’”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/ahmet-turan-alkan-20-yillik-zaman-yazariyim-inandigimi-yazdim-onur-duyuyorum/

17-“Tacı gitti, şimdi hapsi isteniyor”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/taci-gitti-simdi-hapsi-isteniyor/

18-“‘Cezama razıyım, ama terörist suçlamasını kabul etmiyorum’”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/adliye-calisani-114-kisiye-terorden-12-yila-kadar-hapis-cezasi/

19-“323 gün sonra özgür kalan Öğreten: Gazetecilik hala hapiste”
http://www.diken.com.tr/323-gun-sonra-ozgur-kalan-ogreten-gazetecilik-hala-hapiste/

20-“Sesleri duyulmayan 16 bin 500 askeri öğrenci”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/sesleri-duyulmayan-16-bin-500-askeri-ogrenci-h108821.html

21-“Süleyman Soylu’dan Kılıçdaroğlu’na: Sen bittin”
http://aktifhaber.com/politika/suleyman-soyludan-kilicdarogluna-sen-bittin-h108816.html

22-“Artık üç örgüte üyelikten tutuklanıyor insanlar”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/artik-uc-orgute-uyelikten-tutuklaniyor-insanlar-h108806.html

23-“Arev tutuklu anne babasına kavuştu”
http://aktifhaber.com/genel/arev-tutuklu-anne-babasina-kavustu-h108809.html

24-“Alman İnsan Hakları Sorumlusu’ndan Türkiye açıklaması”
http://aktifhaber.com/dunya/alman-insan-haklari-sorumlusundan-turkiye-aciklamasi-h108802.html

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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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Rights groups say 2,278 people tortured, 11 abducted in Turkey in 2017

The Human Rights Association (İHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) on Saturday said 2,278 people were tortured and 11 abducted in Turkey during the first 11 months of 2017, Gazeteduvar reported.

Releasing a human rights report in Turkey under an ongoing state of emergency, the IHD and TİHV noted that human rights violations have reached worrying levels in Turkey. Recalling that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has issued 28 decree-laws since July 20, 2016, and that only five of them were approved on time by Parliament despite the fact that all legislation must be approved in accordance with the Turkish Constitution, the IHD and TİHV underlined that with its state of emergency decrees the government has created guarantees for state officials that they will not be prosecuted for violations committed during the period of emergency rule.

According to the report issued by the two rights organizations, security forces killed 36 people and wounded 12 in extrajudicial killings and by firing arbitrarily into a crowd on the pretext that they did not obey an order to stop, in the first 11 months of 2017.

A total of 695 people including 183 soldiers, 460 militants and 52 civilians were killed and 310 injured during clashes in Turkey.

Twenty-three people including six children were killed and 46 injured in accidents involving armored security vehicles.
A total of 570 people applied to the TİHV as victims of torture; 2,278 faced torture and maltreatment with 423 of such cases took place while in detention.

According to the İHD report, by May 30, 2017, 11 abduction or enforced disappearance cases had been reported in Turkey.
As of Nov. 1, there were 230,735 people in Turkish prisons, including 1,037 with health problems. The prison population numbered 178,089 in 2015 and 154,179 in 2014.

Source: https://turkeypurge.com/rights-groups-say-2278-tortured-11-abducted-turkey-2017

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Comparative Analysis of Different Countries’ Approaches towards Turkish Asylum Seekers Linked to the Gulen Movement

Summary

 Turkish government has been targeting dissidents from various ideologies recently. One of these opposition groups, the Gulen Movement, has been the main target since 2013. The supporters of the Movement have been dealing with different strict measures perpetrated directly by the state authorities such as arrest, imprisonment, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, denial of fair trial, confiscation, passport cancellations and labeling. The actions of the government produced a new group of people who seek asylum in many countries around the world. These asylum seekers have been receiving affirmative responses in many countries, four of which will be explored in this study. This paper will examine the perceptions of four countries, namely the Kingdom of Norway, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, towards asylum applications coming from Turkish applicants with links (or alleged links) to the Gulen Movement.

The aim of this policy is to shed light on the current situation of Turkish asylum seekers who have fled from human rights violations and different types of persecution perpetrated by the Turkish government. In addition, this analysis aims to provide more information and guidance for decision makers to understand why the Gulen Movement’s supporters are applying for asylum and seek protection.

Introduction

Before going into details about refugee status and states’ approaches towards the Gulen Movement’s supporters, it is important to look at the level of human rights recognition and protection within these states. There are many reports regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms around the world, but this paper will briefly mention the data from the latest Freedom in the World 2017 report[1] prepared by the Freedom House[2] as it is one of the most reliable and recent ones.

Freedom House prepares the Freedom in the World report each year which awards countries aggregate scores from 0 to 100 (0 is the least free whereas 100 freest), and also ratings for political rights and civil liberties from 1 to 7 (7 is the least free whereas 1 freest). All the countries mentioned in this study got good scores in these categories. Accordingly, all countries awarded 1, indicating the best results, both for political rights and civil liberties putting them into the category of ‘free’ countries. Norway’s aggregate score – together with Finland and Sweden – is 100. Close to Norway, Canada has got 99 aggregate score ranked right after Finland, Norway and Sweden, and the UK’s score is 95. Lastly, even though a bit lower than the others, the US has got 89 in aggregate score which is a very good score compared to the world.

Regarding the situation of refugees, it must be recalled that three of these states, Norway, Canada and the UK, are parties to the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees[3] (known as the “1951 Refugee Convention”). Norway and Canada incorporated the Convention directly into their national legislation, whereas the UK only refers to it in relevant acts. The US is only party to the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees,[4] even so, it means the country undertook most of the obligations in the Convention itself.

Below, each country’s approach towards the Gulen Movement will be examined individually, and then an overall evaluation will be made in the light of information provided.

1. Kingdom of Norway

As is known, Norway is one of the best countries around the world in terms of human rights recognition and implementation. The Kingdom of Norway is known to be one of the strictest countries in Europe in terms of refugee policies,[5] and moreover, the country has tightened its asylum rules this year to strengthen its borders.[6] Yet, the country provides a good level of protection to the refugees who are within its borders. The Act of 15 May 2008 on the Entry of Foreign Nationals into the Kingdom of Norway and Their Stay in the Realm (known as the “Immigration Act”) regulates the conditions for asylum seekers to be recognized as refugees in its Section 28.[7] Quite similar to the 1951 Refugee Convention, Section 28 defines the foreign national who “has a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of ethnicity, origin, skin colour, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or for reasons of political opinion, and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of his or her country of origin” as a refugee. The provision which includes families of the refugees to the scope, however, is not unconditional that the Immigration Act §28 excludes foreigners who can obtain effective protection in other parts of their home countries. Section 29 clarifies the circumstances in which acts can be accepted as persecution under the Immigration Act. Accordingly, severe violations of basic human rights especially those violate non-derogable rights in the European Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “ECHR”) are considered as persecution.[8] Forms of persecution stated in the Norwegian Act vary from mental and/or physical violence to any type of disproportionate and/or discriminatory measures. Lastly, Section 30 elaborates the concepts of religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group and political opinion as persecution grounds.

Following the worrying series of events since 2013 in Turkey, especially after the so-called attempted coup, Turkish people having alleged links with the Gulen Movement have started to apply for asylum in different countries including Norway. The country has examined many cases coming from applicants with alike backgrounds and the number is expected to increase because of the worsening situation in Turkey. For this reason, on October 12, 2017 the Ministry of Justice and Public Security has published instructions aiming to provide guidelines regarding the cases of Movement’s supporters.[9] The instructions start with a background information that acts of the Turkish government have created a new group of asylum seekers who, if they return to their home country of Turkey, might face risks of “arrest, imprisonment, torture and conviction.”[10] The Ministry also emphasizes that the majority of the applicants are well-educated people having professional relations with the Gulen schools and colleges who could provide both identifying and other documents proving their links with the Movement. Taking into account these, the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration proposed as regards the applicants with strong indications of involvement with the Movement to be entitled protection under the Immigration Act §28. It must also be noted that as the Turkish government controls the whole territory, it is not possible for applicants to be displaced internally. Yet, these instructions do not mean to exclude a concrete and individual assessment to be made in each case considering present situation in Turkey.

The instructions by the Ministry are clearly defined which can be summarized as such:

Firstly, the Ministry requires that each case will be subject to concrete and individual assessment based on every applicant’s specific profile and possible reactions they may face in case of return. It stresses that having links (or alleged links) with the Movement merely is not sufficient to be protected under the Immigration Act §28.

Secondly, while examining the application, up-to-date information about the possible acts of the Turkish government must be considered, for which the Directorate is tasked to monitor the developments in Turkey closely.

Thirdly, the applicants are under obligation to prove their identities as well as links with the Gulen Movement themselves as much as possible.

Fourthly, the Ministry recalls the exclusion provision in Section §31 which regulates that if a person committed one of the mentioned crimes, s/he will not be entitled to protection. This is aimed at individuals who cited “fear of future criminal prosecution” because they have committed or acted as accessories to the criminal acts committed during the attempted coup. Even if the conditions to be accepted as refugees under Section §28 are met, there might still be a possibility of exclusion as per Section §31.

Fifthly, being dismissed is “not alone sufficient to warrant the designation persecution.” For an act to be considered as persecution under the Norwegian Act, requirements in Section 29 must be met which requires severe human rights violations to be perpetrated.

Sixthly and lastly, the Directorate must take into account the fundamental national interests and foreign policy concerns of Norway while assessing the applications.

Norway’s instructions prove the country’s affirmative approach towards asylum seekers connected to the Gulen Movement.

2. Canada

Canada has also been one of the exemplary countries ensuring human rights and fundamental freedoms within its jurisdiction. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has remarked on several occasions, the country is also very welcoming towards refugees. Following President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, Trudeau wrote on social media that “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” which is only one of his many inclusive statements.[11]

Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (hereinafter “IRPA”) stipulates similar definitions and conditions with the Norway’s Act.[12] Canadian Act was adopted with many objectives in asylum seekers’ favor, one of which is to “offer safe haven to persons with a well-founded fear of persecution.”[13] The Act also aims to provide fair and efficient procedures regarding the applications as well as to support refugees both socially and economically.[14] According to relevant definitions in the Act a refugee is “a person who, by reason of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion, (a) is outside each of their countries of nationality and is unable or, by reason of that fear, unwilling to avail themself of the protection of each of those countries.”[15] Such a person cannot be returned back to her or his home country unless constituting a danger to public in Canada meaning that criminals will not fall under the scope.[16]

This general information of Canadian approach towards refugees must be considered together with the attitude towards Turkish nationals linked with the Gulen Movement. Research Directorate of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada responded to information requests regarding the Movement on September 29, 2016.[17] The Response includes brief background information stating that the Gulen Movement “espouses a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with democracy,” and that it started as a religious but then converted into a transnational civil society movement. Main objective of the Movement is to “attain God’s good pleasure based on the conviction that ‘service to humanity is service to God.’” For instance, aiming this objective, the Movement has been supporting students who are in need without expecting any thing in return. Whereas the Movement was seen as an ally of the Turkish government especially by leftists, after corruption investigations against the ruling party President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (then-Prime Minister) declared the group as a terrorist organization and since then they have been blamed for everything going wrong in the country just like a scapegoat. The Directorate tries to clarify the structure of the Movement and highlights that there is “no formal structure.” The Response mentions different fields of the Movement’s activities as well, for example, Gulenist institutions are active in education, business and health. Furthermore, the Directorate notes that the participation in these activities are only voluntary and that there is no monetary or other ‘worldly’ incentives.

The Response also adds information as regards the government’s treatment against everyone who has links (or alleged links) with the Movement. It is specified that especially after the attempted coup the government shut down all the institutions that are perceived to be Gulenist (such as schools, colleges, media outlets, hospitals, associations and a bank). In addition, civil servants including judges, military personnel and police officers were dismissed and labeled as terrorists because of their alleged involvement in the so-called attempted coup. However, the Directorate refers to the statements by the US Secretary of State that there needs to be “legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny” regarding the the Movement’s involvement in the attempted coup and extradition of Mr. Fethulah Gulen, who has been living in self-exile in the US for a long time. It must again be recalled that the Movement strongly denies any involvement and has been asking for an international investigation.[18]

The Directorate touches on reports by non-governmental organizations on the present situation in Turkey as well. For instance, according to the Turkey Analyst, the government declared state of emergency continuingly after the attempted coup to “cleanse Turkey of Gulen supporters.”[19] According to the Human Rights Watch, state of emergency allows the government to rule the country by decree laws with only minimum parliamentary and none judicial oversight. The Human Right Watch also notes that the extent of the measures “goes far beyond” that people who are not involved in the coup attempt but only have perceived links with the Movement have started to be the targets.[20] Thousands of people from different occupations were jailed regardless of any individual assessment. Lastly, Amnesty International’s reports are also alluded in the Response. Pursuant to that, Amnesty points out the situation of detainees who was taken after the attempted coup and were “‘being held arbitrarily’ with ‘no evidence establishing reasonable suspicion of criminal activity.’” Moreover, during the questionings suspects were asked questions irrelevant to the coup attempt trying to reveal if they have any sympathy towards Mr. Gulen.[21] Amnesty also notes that torture, inhuman and degrading treatment including rape took place in the country’s both official and unofficial detention centers.

The Directorate also draws attention to the fact that requests to extradite people were also made to the Canadian authorities regarding the Movement’s supporters in Canada. However, authorities asked for real evidences rather than mere accusations and allegations to take these requests into consideration.[22] The Response refers to the Turkish institutions supporting the Movement active in Canada as well who aim to “advance social cohesion via (through) personal interaction by promoting respect and mutual understanding among people of all cultures and faiths through dialogue and partnership.”[23] Therefore, when it comes to the Turkish refugees and asylum seekers, Canada has been a safe and stable country which will be clarified more below.

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has examined many cases from Turkish applicants with Gulenist links. According to the latest statistics by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, the Refugee Protection Division has received 1665 applications in 2017 (till September), 895 of which have been accepted so far whereas only 121 were rejected, most of the rest are pending and expected to result positively.[24] The number of received applications in 2016 was 1103, 398 accepted 67 rejected rest is pending.[25] Applications in 2017 as of September quintupled the number in 2015 (which was 295 in total, 104 accepted and 51 rejected)[26] and the number is expected to grow as the time goes. Lorne Waldman, an immigration lawyer from Toronto who has handled almost 20 relevant cases, stated that “Not one has been refused” and added “The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada takes it as a given that Turks affiliated with Gulen will be at risk if they return to Turkey.”[27]

3. United Kingdom

 Even though the UK’s remarkable respect for human rights, the country does not seem to be very welcoming towards refugees that the asylum system is very complex and tough according to experts.[28] The Immigration Act 1971 still governs the process with subsequent amendments in several years. Though the 1951 Refugee Convention has not been directly incorporated into the national legislation – unlike the ECHR, the laws order that any application against the 1951 Refugee Convention are not allowed.[29] Therefore, definitions and concepts in the Convention are valid for the British government. Accordingly, definition of a refugee is a person who “owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”[30]

The UK is not silent about the recent problems occurring in Turkey as well. Home Office prepared an extensive report on the Gulen Movement in April 2017 which elaborates the present situation in Turkey regarding the government’s actions against the supporters.[31] The Movement, who promotes a tolerant Islam which emphasizes altruism, modesty, hard work and education according to BBC,[32] has been in the target board for a long time and has been dealing with various strict measures such as arrest, arbitrary detention, dismissal, asset seizure, passport cancellation, closures of Gulenist institutions as well as labeling all the members and sympathizers as terrorists.[33] Moreover, the government has been violating basic human rights including non-derogable ones that even torture and inhuman and degrading treatment took place in detention centers especially after the coup attempt.[34]

Risks Gulenists may face in their home country and severity of the situation are illustrated very well in the report with reference to different international and non-governmental organizations, human rights experts and news agencies. Home Office classifies the situation of Turkish asylum seekers as amounting to “persecution on the grounds of political opinion” since the measures are taken simply because of having some (or alleged) links with the Movement without considering if the person was really involved in the coup or other illegal activities.[35] The possibilities of discriminatory and disproportionate punishment as well as denial of fair trial are asked to be considered by decision makers.[36] The report also highlights that internal relocation is not possible for Gulenists, because the actions are taken directly by the state institutions all over the country.[37] Lastly, even if an asylum claim is rejected “it is unlikely to be certifiable as ‘clearly unfounded’”[38] under the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002[39] meaning that a possibility to appeal the refusal decision will be on the table.

In the light of information provided in the report, it can be concluded that asylum claims of the Gulen supporters are likely to be accepted by the UK. It is noteworthy that the report reminds decisions makers of exclusion clauses as well meaning that if an asylum seeker has been involved in any crime especially the attempted coup itself, it will not be contrary to the 1951 Refugee Convention to refuse the application. Last but not least it is crucial to realize it is the applicant’s responsibility to prove what would s/he face (and whether it amounts to persecution due to political opinion) in case of return.[40]

4.   United States

The US has been one of the countries who receives refugees in quite high numbers. Primary legislation regulating the status of refugees is the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.[41] After an amendment in 1980, the Act includes a similar definition of a refugee with the 1951 Refugee Convention. Section 101(a)42(A) of this Act defines a refugee as “any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality or, in the case of a person having no nationality, is outside any country in which such person last habitually resided, and who is unable or unwilling to return to, and is unable or unwilling to avail himself or herself of the protection of, that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.”

After the coup attempt in July 2016, just as previous countries, the US has received many asylum applications from Turkish nationals who have some connections with the Gulen Movement. The US’ position towards the issue is significant in a sense that Mr. Fethullah Gulen himself has been living in self-exile in the US since 1999. Turkish government requested his extradition to Turkey, and even though Turkish officials have been criticizing the US loudly for protecting him, the US Justice Department has not been provided sufficiently enough evidence for them to act upon.[42]

US Department of State’s annual report on human rights practices around the world explained in detail the human rights condition in Turkey.[43] The government has been violating human rights and fundamental freedoms within its borders on a large scale. Decree laws have dismissed tens of thousands of people from their jobs through long lists. Most of these people and many others have been accused of being terrorists “in many cases with little clarity on the charges and evidence against them.”[44] The report reiterates that the great majority of imprisoned people were people who have some links with or sympathy towards the Movement, whereas as criminal law requires it should have been considered whether they have participated to the coup activities.[45] Even though there is no formal number of political prisoners, experts suggest that many people (especially journalists) arrested after the attempted coup could be considered as such.[46] Detainees are taken under terror-related laws which are broadly defined and even more their rights within jails are not respected as well.[47]

There were even cases where police arrested family members of people who were not at home when the police came aiming intimidation.[48] In addition, even though it was legal to publish and possess books supporting the Gulen Movement and that those books were publicly available by certified publishers, right after the coup attempt police officers started seeing books as a “credible evidence of membership in a banned organization.”[49]

Considering all these it is no surprise that the Movement’s supporters have applied for asylum in the US as well. Though the US’ asylum procedure is quite long and that many applicants still wait to be heard before a judge, there have been cases where the applicant was heard and granted asylum. For instance, an immigration court in New Jersey decided to grant asylum to the applicant after the respondent illustrated in detail why and how would he be at risk if he returns to Turkey.[50] The judge specified the respondent’s testimony credible since he presented his story in great detail without any contradiction. The court was satisfied that the respondent’s case constituted “well-founded fear of future persecution on account of imputed political opinion.” Here, the court made a comparison with individuals “similarly situated to him” and concluded that the respondent’s fear is ‘objectively reasonable’. Finally, the court used its discretionary power in his favor because he has no records of criminal activities. This decision is one of the very first affirmative decisions by US courts regarding Gulen-related cases and number of such decisions is expected to rise as the applicants start to stand before the judge.

5. Overall Evaluation and Conclusion

Considering all the information above, it can be said that all four countries affirm the strict measures taken against the supporters of the Gulen Movement. These measures constitute clear violations of different human rights provisions that are internationally accepted. Striking points from the above-mentioned documents can be read as follows:

  1. Severe actions of the government are clearly targeting the supporters of the Movement. Thus, there is a high risk of persecution when these asylum seekers return to their home country of Turkey. The government’s actions so far amount to persecution based on one’s political opinion which is supporting the Gulen Movement (or at least not being against it explicitly). This is especially because the government does not care about whether a person has taken any role within the coup attempt or not, but only examines individuals’ contacts with the Movement.
  2. These people are seen as non-violent individuals who have not committed any crime throughout their lives. Looking at their ideology which is promoting moderate Islam together with values such as dialogue, tolerance, peace, democracy and human rights, there needs to be really strong and persuasive evidence than mere allegations to accuse them of being terrorists which could not have been found by the government despite all the efforts.
  3. The Gulen Movement promotes education for a long time since its establishment that it founded many schools and colleges both in Turkey and abroad as well as helped students in need to fund themselves. Therefore, it is no surprise that most of its members (especially the new generations) are well-educated. It can be said that these people might change the perception towards ‘refugees’ who are traditionally seen as uneducated. It can even be said that they will become assets in countries they seek asylum.

6.  Recommendations

Having in regard all these, as the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we recommend decision makers and authorities who receive applications from Turkish asylum seekers to take into account the severity of the situation and the possible acts of the Turkish government when they return, which are explained above. Current situation in Turkey is quite worrying that many people have been trying to escape leaving everything behind, and thus asylum would be their only option to live freely in a safe country. We are urging any government concerned with human rights and fundamental freedoms to consider the significance of the asylum claims for those people as well as their families and lives.

[1] Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2017, 15 April 2017, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/58ff3e19f.html [accessed 29 November 2017]

[2] Freedom House is a US based independent watchdog organization dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world.

[3] 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 29 November 2017]

[4] UN General Assembly, Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, 31 January 1967, United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 606, p. 267, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b3ae4.html [accessed 29 November 2017]

[5] Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2016/17 – Norway, 22 February 2017, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/58b033c84.html [accessed 29 November 2017]

[6] “Tightening of Norway’s asylum rules.” Government.no, 11 Jan. 2017, www.regjeringen.no/en/topics/immigration/asylum-regulations-in-norway/insight/tightening-of-norways-asylum-rules/id2465829/.

[7] Norway: Act of 15 May 2008 on the Entry of Foreign Nationals into the Kingdom of Norway and their Stay in the Realm (Immigration Act) [Norway], 15 May 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/507522792.html [accessed 29 November 2017]

[8] Article 15 of the ECHR enables states to derogate from their obligations under the ECHR, however, Article 15 (2) specifies non-derogable rights as follows: “No derogation from Article 2 [right to life], except in respect of deaths resulting from lawful acts of war, or from Articles 3 [prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment], 4 (paragraph 1) [prohibition of slavery and servitude] and 7 [no punishment without law] shall be made under this provision.”

[9] Norway: GI-15/2017 Instructions on the practising of the Immigration Act, section 28 [Residence permit for foreign nationals in need of protection (asylum)] – Asylum seekers who cite the risk of persecution due to (alleged) links to the Gülen network, 12 Oct. 2017, available at: https://www.regjeringen.no/no/dokumenter/gi-152017–instruks-om-praktisering-av-utlendingsloven–28–asylsokere-som-anforer-risiko-for-forfolgelse-pa-grunn-av-tillagt-tilknytning-til-gulen-nettverket/id2575439/?q=gi-15/2017

[10] Ibid.

[11] Austen, Ian. “In Canada, Justin Trudeau Says Refugees Are Welcome.” The New York Times, 28 Jan. 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/01/28/world/canada/justin-trudeau-trump-refugee-ban.html.

[12] Canada: Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) [Canada], SC 2001, c. 27, 1 November 2001, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f0dc8f12.html [accessed 29 November 2017]

[13] IRPA, Cl. 3 (2) (d).

[14] IRPA, Cls. 3 (2) (e) & (f).

[15] IRPA, Cl. 96.

[16] IRPA, Cls. 115 (1) & (2).

[17] Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Turkey: The Fethullah Gulen Movement, including structure, areas of operation and activities; procedures for becoming a member; roles and responsibilities of membership; treatment of supporters; the Gulen Movement in Canada, including connections with organisations in Turkey and ability to confirm an individual’s involvement with the Gulen Movement in Turkey (2014-September 2016), 29 September 2016, TUR105626.E, available at: http://irb-cisr.gc.ca/Eng/ResRec/RirRdi/Pages/index.aspx?doc=456718 [accessed 27 November 2017]

[18] Sanchez, Ray. “Gulen discusses failed Turkey coup on ‘GPS’.” CNN, 31 July 2016, www.cnn.com/2016/07/31/world/fethullah-gulen-turkey-fareed-zakaria-gps/index.html.

[19] Responses to Information Requests, s. 5.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Ibid., s. 6.

[23] Ibid.

[24] “Refugee Protection Claims (New System) by Country of Alleged Persecution – 2017.” Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 22 Nov. 2017, www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/Eng/RefClaDem/stats/Pages/RPDStat2017.aspx.

[25] “Refugee Protection Claims (New System) by Country of Alleged Persecution – 2016.” Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 3 Aug. 2017, www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/Eng/RefClaDem/stats/Pages/RPDStat2016.aspx.

[26] “Refugee Protection Claims (New System) by Country of Alleged Persecution – 2015.” Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, 3 Aug. 2017, www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/Eng/RefClaDem/stats/Pages/RPDStat2015.aspx.

[27] Martin, Patrick. “Turkey’s Gulen crackdown hits Canada.” The Globe and Mail, 24 Mar. 2017, www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/turkeys-gulen-crackdown-hits-canada/article32191633/.

[28] “The UK Asylum System – Truth About Asylum.” Refugee Council, www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/policy_research/the_truth_about_asylum/facts_about_asylum_-_page_5 [accessed 29 November 2017].

[29] “Refugee Law and Policy: United Kingdom.” Library of Congress, 21 June 2016, www.loc.gov/law/help/refugee-law/unitedkingdom.php [accessed 29 November 2017].

[30] 1951 Refugee Convention, Article 1A (2).

[31] United Kingdom: Home Office, Country Policy and Information Note – Turkey: Gülenism, April 2017, v 1.0, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/58e798354.html [accessed 28 November 2017].

[32] Ibid., para. 4.1.1.

[33] Ibid., paras. 4.3, 5.3, 5.4.

[34] Ibid., para. 5.3.

[35] Ibid., paras. 2.2.15, 3.1.4.

[36] Ibid., para. 3.1.6.

[37] Ibid., para. 2.4.

[38] Ibid., para. 2.5.

[39] United Kingdom: Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 [United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland], 2002 Chapter 41, 7 November 2002, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3de74e744.html [accessed 29 November 2017].

[40] Country Policy and Information Note – Turkey: Gülenism, paras. 2.2.14, 3.1.6.

[41] United States: Immigration and Nationality Act (last amended March 2004) [United States of America], 27 June 1952, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4be4fe.html [accessed 29 November 2017].

[42] Spetalnick, Matt, and Julia Harte. “Cleric Gulen says he would not flee U.S. to avoid extradition to Turkey.” Reuters, 12 July 2017, www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-gulen-usa/cleric-gulen-says-he-would-not-flee-u-s-to-avoid-extradition-to-turkey-idUSKBN19W2VQ.

[43] United States Department of State, 2016 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices – Turkey, 3 March 2017, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/58ec89b3a.html [accessed 30 November 2017].

[44] Ibid., p. 1.

[45] Ibid., p. 9.

[46] Ibid., p. 17.

[47] Ibid., p. 18.

[48] Ibid., p. 20.

[49] Ibid., p. 29.

[50] Matter of S.B., United States Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), 7 November 2016.

Download as pdf: AST_12/4/17_REPORT5_ASYLUM_GULEN_CASES

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AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly Nov. 27

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_Nov27

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 11/20/2017-11/27/2017

1-“Journalist Güven sentenced to 3 years for a tweet”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/21/journalist-guven-sentenced-to-3-years-for-a-tweet/

2-“Turkish family of 5 drowns trying to flee to Greece ”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/21/turkish-family-of-5-drown-trying-to-flee-to-greece/

3-“Zaman journalist Ayşenur Parıldak sentenced to 7.5 years in prison”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/21/zaman-journalist-aysenur-parildak-sentenced-to-7-5-years-in-prison/

4-“Report exposes death from torture of Turkish teacher in police custody”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/21/report-exposes-death-from-torture-of-turkish-teacher-in-police-custody/

5-“LGBT event at Istanbul’s Taksim Square banned”
https://turkeypurge.com/istanbul-district-bans-lgtb-event-taksim-square

6-“Gülen lawyer sentenced to 12 years in prison”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/21/gulen-lawyer-sentenced-to-12-years-in-prison/

7-“40-day-old baby, mother under police custody for 4 days: opposition deputy ”
https://turkeypurge.com/40-day-old-baby-mother-police-custody-4-days-opposition-deputy

8-“Jailed writers denied access to own books under emergency rule”
https://turkeypurge.com/jailed-writers-denied-access-books-emergency-rule

9-” Police detain 51 teachers as warrants outstanding for 56 others”
https://turkeypurge.com/police-detain-51-teachers-warrants-outstanding-56-others

10-“A New Report Uncovers A Murder Of Detained Teacher In Turkey Due To Torture”
https://stockholmcf.org/a-new-report-uncovers-a-murder-of-detained-teacher-in-turkey-due-to-torture/

11-“Turkey’s Alevis Worried By Their Homes In Malatya Neighborhood Marked Red”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkeys-alevis-worried-by-their-homes-in-malatya-neighborhood-marked-red/

12-“Turkish Trustee-Mayor Insists On Keeping Toilet Over Armenian Graves”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-appointed-municipal-says-ministers-words-twisted-about-armenian-cemetery/

13-“Turkish court rules for continuation of Amnesty head’s imprisonment”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-court-rules-continuation-amnesty-heads-imprisonment

14-“Turkey detains 331 more soldiers on coup charges: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-detains-331-soldiers-coup-charges-report

15-“5 children, 6 others detained as trying to escape to Greece”
https://turkeypurge.com/5-children-6-others-detained-trying-escape-greece

16-“45 kindergartens, day care centers closed since failed coup: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/45-kindergartens-day-care-centers-closed-since-failed-coup-report

17-“Jailed Turkish journalist Şahin Alpay: My health is getting worse”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/22/jailed-turkish-journalist-sahin-alpay-my-health-is-getting-worse/

18-“Offensive graffiti sprayed on historic church in central Turkey”
https://turkeypurge.com/offensive-graffiti-sprayed-historic-church-central-turkey

19-“Dismissed public servants not allowed to work as private security guards, report says”
https://turkeypurge.com/dismissed-public-servants-not-allowed-work-private-security-guards-report-says

20-“Imprisoned journalist Oğuz Usluer given forced haircut in prison: opposition”
https://turkeypurge.com/imprisoned-journalist-oguz-usluer-given-forced-haircut-prison-opposition

21-“Purge-victim teacher passes away following heart attack”
https://turkeypurge.com/purge-victim-teacher-passes-away-following-heart-attack

22-“73-year-old imprisoned journalist says ‘want to spend final years with family members’”
https://turkeypurge.com/73-year-old-imprisoned-journalist-says-want-spend-final-years-family-members

23-“OSCE says Parıldak ruling unfounded, calls for her release”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/23/osce-says-parildak-ruling-unfounded-calls-for-her-release/

24-“Armenian church association attacked in Malatya”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/25/armenian-church-association-attacked-in-malatya/

25-“55 academics call on Erdoğan to release Kavala”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/24/55-academics-call-on-erdogan-to-release-kavala/

26-“Detention warrants issued for 79 teachers on Teachers Day”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/24/detention-warrants-issued-for-99-teachers-on-teachers-day/

27-“Detention warrants issued for 99 over alleged ByLock use”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/23/detention-warrants-issued-for-99-over-alleged-bylock-use/

28-“DIHA reporters face 45 years in prison over espionage charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/diha-reporters-face-45-years-prison-espionage-charges

29-“Izmir man who filed libel suit against Erdogan sentenced to 8 years in jail”
https://turkeypurge.com/man-filed-libel-suit-erdogan-sentenced-8-years-jail

30-“Chief physician at Kirsehir hospital jailed over alleged ByLock use”
https://turkeypurge.com/chief-physician-kirsehir-hospital-jailed-alleged-bylock-use

31-“Erdoğan sues main opposition leader over “slanderous” comments ”
https://turkeypurge.com/erdogan-sues-main-opposition-leader-slanderous-comments

32-“Turkey’s ‘Ministry of Truth’ in action: Drowned teacher’s accomplishment record removed”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkeys-ministry-of-truth-in-action-drowned-teachers-accomplishment-record-removed

33-“Turkish Media Worker Zafer Özsoy Faces 3 Life Sentences With No Evidence”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-media-worker-zafer-ozsoy-faces-3-life-sentences-with-no-evidence/

Türkiye tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 11/20/2017-11/27/2017

1-“Erdoğan Rejimi’nden kaçarken boğulan Maden ailesinin hikayesi”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/erdogan-rejiminden-kacarken-bogulan-maden-ailesinin-hikayesi-h107844.html

2-“Zaman Gazetesi muhabiri Ayşenur Parıldak’a 7 yıl 6 ay ceza”
http://aktifhaber.com/medya/zaman-gazetesi-muhabiri-aysenur-parildaka-7-yil-6-ay-ceza-h107851.html

3-“Silivri’de sağlığım gittikçe kötüleşiyor”; Şahin Alpay’dan 4’üncü mektup
http://aktifhaber.com/medya/silivride-sagligim-gittikce-kotulesiyor-h107848.html

4-“3 çocuk annesi Rana Öztürk’ün beyin ölümü gerçekleşti”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/3-cocuk-annesi-rana-ozturkun-beyin-olumu-gerceklesti-h107841.html

5-“15 Temmuz’la ilgili işkence altında imzalattırılan ifadeler teker teker redediliyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/15-temmuzla-ilgili-iskence-altinda-imzalattirilan-ifadeler-teker-teker-redediliyor-h107835.html

6-” Lohusa anneyi 350 km yol götürüp nezarete attılar!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/lohusa-anneyi-350-km-yol-goturup-nezarete-attilar-h107788.html

7-“Dünya Çocuk Hakları Günü’nde 668 bebek protestosu!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/dunya-cocuk-haklari-gununde-668-bebek-protestosu-h107779.html

8-“KHK ile ihraç edilen öğretmen Selim Gündoğdu intihar etti”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/khk-ile-ihrac-edilen-ogretmen-selim-gundogdu-intihar-etti/

9-“Gazeteci Oğuz Güven’e, ‘tweet’ davasından 3 yıl 1 ay hapis”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/gazeteci-oguz-guvene-tweet-davasindan-3-yil-1-ay-hapis/

10-“Guardian: AKP, Türkiye’de LGBTİ hakları hareketinin faaliyetlerini engellemeye çalışıyor”
http://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-turkiye-42062152

11-“Türkiye’nin Çözümsüz Sorunu: Anneleriyle Cezaevinde Kalan Çocuklar”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/tutuklu-gazeteci-cezaevinde-30-kilo-verdi-hayati-tehlikesi-var-h107640.html

12-“Erdoğan rejiminden kaçarken ölen çocuklar”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/erdogan-rejiminden-kacarken-olen-cocuklar-h107832.html

13-“AKP’nin OHAL’i bir bebeğin geleceğini daha kararttı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/akpnin-ohali-bir-bebegin-gelecegini-daha-karartti-h107910.html

14-“Ege Denizi’nde hayatını kaybeden Maden ailesinin ardından!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/ege-denizinde-hayatini-kaybeden-maden-ailesinin-ardindan-h107912.html

15-“Malatya’da Alevi ailelerin evlerine kırmızı işaret”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/malatyada-alevi-ailelerin-evlerine-kirmizi-isaret/

16-“İşkence cezasızlık politikasıyla artırıldı; İnsan Hakları Derneği’ne işkence başvuruları patladı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/iskence-cezasizlik-politikasiyla-artirildi-h108072.html

17-“Yargıtay: Türkiye nüfusunun yüzde 8’i şüpheli, yüzde 3’ü ise sanık”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/yargitay-turkiye-nufusunun-yuzde-8i-supheli-yuzde-3u-ise-sanik/

18-“Silivri’de 12 Eylül manzaraları… Bu sefer de Gazeteci Oğuz Usluer’in saçı zorla kesildi..”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/silivride-12-eylul-manzaralari-bu-sefer-de-gazeteci-oguz-usluerin-saci-zorla-kesildi-h107948.html

19-“İki gazeteciye ajanlık suçlamasıyla 90 yıl hapis istemi”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/iki-gazeteciye-ajanlik-suclamasiyla-90-yil-hapis-istemi-h108042.html

20-“Malatya’da provokatif saldırılara devam: Bu kez de Ermeni derneğine saldırı!”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/malatyada-provokatif-saldirilara-devam-bu-kez-de-ermeni-dernegine-saldiri-h108059.html

21-“Meclis, İnsan Hakları Evrensel Beyannamesi’ni sansürlemiş”
http://www.diken.com.tr/meclis-insan-haklari-evrensel-beyannamesini-sansurlemis/

22-“Erdoğan’a, ‘Osman Kavala’yı serbest bırakın’ çağrısı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/erdogana-osman-kavalayi-serbest-birakin-cagrisi/

23-“’24 Kasım Öğretmenler Günü’nde 79 öğretmene daha gözaltı kararı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/24-kasim-ogretmenler-gununde-79-ogretmene-daha-gozalti-karari/

24-” Uluslararası Af Örgütü baskılara karşı kampanya başlattı”
https://www.evrensel.net/haber/338903/uluslararasi-af-orgutu-baskilara-karsi-kampanya-baslatti

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European Court Of Human Rights Should Reconsider Judicial Independence in Turkey

POSITION PAPER
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS SHOULD RECONSIDER JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE IN TURKEY BEFORE REFERRING CASES TO DOMESTIC AUTHORITIES

Background
In recent years and in particular in the aftermath of attempted coup of  July 15, 2016, the Turkish government has been targeting dissidents belonging to different ideologies. Among the many dissident groups, in particular the Gulen Movement has been the primary target. The members or sympathizers of the movement have been subject to extreme and unlawful measures,  including dismissals, detention, arrest, imprisonment, enforced and involuntary disappearance, seizure of their assets and passport cancellation. International organizations, including the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the European Union have repeatedly expressed their grave concern regarding the human rights violations perpetrated on individuals by the government. Repeated calls to Turkey to comply with its obligations under its own legislation and the international human rights law have however had little, if any effect to the improvement of the human rights situation in the country.
The far-reaching, increasingly repressive and almost unlimited discretionary powers exercised by the Turkish authorities during the state of emergency – now in its 15th month – endanger the general principles of rule of law and human rights safeguards, the ones the state of emergency is designed to protect.
The human rights protection system of the Council of Europe thus represented,  a glimmer of hope for the people of Turkey as it has been traditionally one of the most successful systems in the world protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, which decisions are also binding for Turkey.
Regrettably, the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter “ECtHR”), which monitors the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the Council of Europe member states has been rejecting the applications related to recent events taking place in Turkey on the ground that the applicants have not exhausted domestic remedies. The Court specifically refers to the need to exhaust “available” domestic remedies, i.e. including the complaint procedure presumably offered through the establishment of the State of Emergency Inquiry Commission (hereinafter “the Commission”), as provided for in Emergency Decree 685.

Brief analysis
The brief analysis in this section argues that the establishment of the Commission cannot be an effective remedy for more than 100,000 dismissed individuals.
In absence of any clear procedure to challenge decisions on their abrupt dismissal, public officials dismissed from office and organizations dissolved by emergency decrees launched either individual or concurrent appeals with administrative bodies (administrative remedy), administrative courts, the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights . The outcome of the appeals has been devastating for hundreds of thousands of families and entire communities across Turkey.
Few administrative appeals have been relatively successful in restoring several individuals in their former positions. Administrative appeals however are not guided by any rules or principles and in no respect can these appeals be regarded as an effective remedy.
In the aftermath of July 15, 2016, both the Constitutional Court and the ECtHR were flooded with individual applications originating from Turkey. 8,308 applications were lodged with the ECtHR against Turkey in 2016, compared to only 2,212 in the previous year [2015].[1] If necessary measures were not taken, having into account that most dismissals have not yet been brought before the ECtHR in the post July 15 context, it was obvious that the sheer volume of applications yet to reach the ECtHR, seriously risked bringing down the entire ECtHR system.
The Venice Commission noted in the above context that both administrative courts and individual application to the Constitutional Court were not available to public officials who were dismissed by Emergency Decrees.[2] Having made this determination, the Venice Commission recommended that the government establish an ad hoc commission to review the State of Emergency measures.[3] The Secretary General of the Council of Europe made a similar recommendation, which was supported by an ad hoc sub-committee established by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.[4]
With the intention to preempt sharp criticism from the Council of Europe resulting from its relentless crackdown on dissent, the government issued Emergency Decree 685,[5] which establishes the Commission.[6]
To illustrate the immediate effect of its issuance, on the same day the Emergency Decree was published (January 23, 2017), the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe rejected[7] the request to hold an urgent debate on Turkey.[8]
By mid-November 2017 the Commission has received more than 100,000 cases from different occupational groups such as military personnel, police officers, teachers and academics. Since its establishment the Commission has taken no single decision on any of the hundreds of thousands of applications it has received ever since. As a matter of fact, the government is yet to appoint a president to head the Commission.[9]
Even if the Commission begins its work immediately, there will still be doubts regarding its impartiality, just as the judicial system in general. These concerns have been, inter alia, raised by various governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations as well as legal and human rights experts. Former judge of the ECtHR Riza Turmen, for instance, has argued  that possible non-transparency of the Commission’s work and appointment of its members create reasonable questions regarding its independence.[10]
The Commission is predetermined to fail in achieving its alleged objectives and serve the interests of justice:
First, the seven members of the Commission are chosen from the same institutions that have decided for the dismissals.[11] The principles of independence and impartiality are thus disregarded from its inception.
Second, even based on the most optimistic estimates and presuming that it performs its work in good faith – given the workload, it will take many years for the seven-member Commission to review hundreds of thousands of applications – that is only one of the subsequent domestic remedies to be exhausted.
Third, for cases reversed by the administrative courts, the appeals or the Constitutional Court, the cycle of exhaustion of domestic remedies will take many more years and those cases will probably never be able to reach the ECtHR, or even their day in court.
Fourth, pursuant to Article 9 of KHK 685, “the Commission shall perform its examinations on the basis of the documents in the files,” which are out of reach of those dismissed. In absence of any knowledge on the entities or groups which were presumably designated by the National Security Council as being “terrorist organizations”, this fact alone wipes-out the opportunity of those dismissed to have any defense, let alone effective defense.
Fifth, the Commission is presumed to work and take its decisions on the basis of information and documents provided by the government, which can decide on a case-by-case basis which documents to disclose. Even if the government would be willing to disclose all relevant documents to the Commission – the later has no authority in reviewing classified documents. Since the dismissals have been argued on basis of terrorist affiliation which undermines, inter alia, national security – most of the documents that the government claims to have played a role in the dismissals, as state secrets, will be out of the reach of the Committee.
The Venice Commission, supporting the idea of an ad hoc body for the review of the emergency measures envisaged that “the essential purpose of that body would be to give individualized treatment to all cases. That body would have to respect the basic principles of due process, examine specific evidence and issue reasoned decisions. This body should be independent, impartial and be given sufficient powers to restore the status quo ante, and/or, where appropriate, to provide adequate compensation. The law should enable for subsequent judicial review of decisions of this ad hoc body. Limits and forms of any compensation may be set by Parliament in a special post-emergency legislation, with due regard to the Constitution of Turkey and its international human-rights obligations.”[12]
In conclusion, the State of Emergency Inquiry Commission will certainly not be able to meet the criteria foreseen by the Venice Commission and the standards adopted in the case-law of the ECtHR. The establishment of the Commission will only serve the immediate interests of the ECtHR and the government of Turkey, not the interests of justice and those hundreds of thousands of individuals. In addition:
The establishment of the Commission is expected to create much more serious consequences. Hundreds of thousands of individuals who have suffered injustice will turn to the ECtHR in several years later as the Commission will not provide any justice. By that time the government would have “acquired” between approximately two to ten years, maybe more. During the same time, hundreds of thousands of people will have suffered tremendously without any available remedy.
During this long period, the applicants not only will be condemned to a “slow death” – they will also continue to bear the label of ‘terrorist’. They shall not be eligible to work in public service and their social security records will show that they were dismissed by an emergency decree.
Based on the complicated procedures related to the Commission, it is expected that individuals who are denied the opportunity to challenge the criminal charges against them for an entire year, will wait before an administrative commission for years and then apply for an administrative judicial review, which, as explained above, has no power to remedy the situation. In short, this is undoubtedly a reversal of the presumption of innocence.

Rule of law in the country
Rule of law within the country has started to be weakened by the government’s policies. According to the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index,[13] Turkey was ranked among the worst 15 out of 113 countries, dropping 8 positions compared to the last year and trailing countries such as Iran, Russia, Guatemala and Myanmar.[14] The Index is calculated taking into consideration different crucial components such as “Constraints on Government Power, Absence of Corruption, Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Order and Security, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice and Criminal Justice,” and Turkey’s scores are not promising in any of these. Moreover, consecutive reports prepared by the Venice Commission have been pointing out the problems regarding the rule of law. The Venice Commission has published detailed reports and opinions on the situation in Turkey most of which have common points. Especially after the attempted coup in 2016, measures taken in the country failed to meet the requirements of the rule of law such as necessity and proportionality. Additionally, the basic principle of separation of powers is under threat for a long time, risking the independence of judiciary.[15]
The three crucial components of what constitutes a fair trial, namely the defense, the prosecution and the courts, have all collapsed in Turkey in recent years, turning the judicial system into merely an extension of the political authority that thwarts an effective defense and appoints (or better employs) partisan and loyalist prosecutors and judges.
Dismissals of judges in particular have had an adverse and devastating effect on the Turkish judiciary, its independence and the effectiveness of the principle of separation of powers. In the current circumstances, when thousands of judges are detained and imprisoned (close to one-third of judges and prosecutors), it is inconceivable that the remaining judges could reverse any measure declared under the emergency decree laws out of fear of becoming subject to such measures themselves.
The U.S. State Department’s Human Rights Report in 2016 has explicitly asserted that the government’s applications have a “chilling effect on judicial independence” especially as regards the politically sensitive cases.[16] Likewise, the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have expressed their concerns that imprisonment and dismissal of officials jeopardize judicial independence, and moreover that new laws tying the judiciary to the executive poses a clear threat to the rule of law.[17] Both organizations are rightfully worried about the newly created appointment system of judges and prosecutors as well as recently established courts with power over politically sensitive investigations.[18]
Similarly, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has indicated that the “selection and appointment process as a whole is highly susceptible to executive manipulation, and likely to be weighted against candidates who are not seen as supportive of the government.” The ICJ has also drawn attention to the criminal charges against judges and prosecutors and specified that many  officials from the judiciary were dismissed because their judgments were conflicting government’s interests. According to the ICJ this amount of interference with the judiciary is clearly against internationally accepted standards.[19] The International Commission of Jurists and other international organizations have determined that the independence of the judiciary has now been eroded to its core in Turkey.[20]
In December 2016, the Board of the European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) concluded that the Turkish High Council for Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) no longer meets the requirements of the ENCJ, so as to ensure the independence of the Turkish Judiciary. The ENCJ General Assembly accordingly resolved to suspend, with no Council member voting against, the observer status of the Turkish High Council for Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK).[21]
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe decided on April 25, 2017 to reopen the monitoring procedure in respect of Turkey until “serious concerns” about respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law “are addressed in a satisfactory manner.”
The above concerns were also voiced by the former chief justice of the Turkish Constitutional Court, Hasim Kilic, who stated that  “Everybody knows the political views of judges and prosecutors, even in the remotest villages of the country. We cannot move forward with such a judiciary,” and he continued “The judiciary is not an instrument of revenge, it is not anyone’s tool to achieve their aims.”[22] Ergun Ozbudun, Professor of Political Science and Constitutional Law, also raised similar concerns when he commented on the proposed constitutional amendment (which was adopted through referendum afterwards) and said “What we have here is the weakening of legislation while the president, with full executive powers, forms a parliament under his influence.” Furthermore, Metin Feyzioglu, head of the Turkish Bar Association, stated that “This is a system that will finish judicial integrity and sovereignty,” reminding that half of the judges are to be appointed by the president.[23]
Nils Muiznieks, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights as well remarked that independence and impartiality of judiciary have started to be eroded and must be redeveloped as soon as possible. He added that “it is in particular the role of the criminal judges of peace that is the most concerning, because these formations have transformed into an instrument of judicial harassment to stifle opposition and legitimate criticism.”[24]
The list of similar reports and statements raising above-mentioned concerns grows everyday thanks to the government’s new actions. In the light of all the above, one can conclude that the judicial system in Turkey has been weakened by the government’s actions, therefore; it is highly likely that judges cannot give verdict against the ruling party’s interests not to face different types of punishments including imprisonment.
There have been cases in the past where the European Court examined the cases substantially even though the domestic remedies were not exhausted, when it was believed that they were not available or not going to be effective. For instance, in Akdivar v. Turkey (1996) case the Court stated that the Court “must take realistic account not only of the existence of formal remedies in the legal system of the Contracting Party concerned but also of the general legal and political context in which they operate as well as the personal circumstances of the applicants.”[25] Hence, merely having the domestic rules providing remedies to the victims is not seen as satisfactory by the ECtHR. We believe the current situation in Turkey as well falls into this category and warrants immediate action by the Court. Hence, the ECtHR should not reject cases on the ground that the applicants could have gone to the domestic authorities from which, with great deal of certainty they will not receive any effective remedy.


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Report exposes death from torture of Turkish teacher in police custody

A new report from the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) titled “Tortured to Death” exposes the case of 42-year-old history teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu, who died after enduring 13 days of torture and abuse in police detention in İstanbul.
The report details every day he was kept in custody, where he was repeatedly beaten by his interrogators. The government documents, medical reports, independent opinions and witness statements obtained by SCF and revealed in the report show his death was not due to natural causes.

“The details of this single case with hitherto unknown facts about Açıkkollu’s death have really shaken our investigators, and we have decided to dedicate this report to his memory to show the world what is taking place under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s brutally oppressive regime,” Abdullah Bozkurt, the president of SCF, said.

“He was telling doctors every day what he was going through, and the prosecutor’s office was getting copies of these records on a daily basis. Yet he was time and again sent back to detention to face a new round of torture that eventually claimed his life,”’ he added.

The report also exposes the names of the police officers who were present in the building at the time of Açıkkollu’s death and urges the Turkish government to hold to account those who were responsible for his death.

Unfortunately, the terrible saga of Açıkkollu’s family was far from over even after his death as authorities neither arranged for a hearse to transport him nor provided embalming of the body, which are standard services in Turkey for all deceased. He was hauled in a utility vehicle to the cemetery where the government imam refused to lead a prayer service. His wife, Mümüne Açıkkollu, was also briefly detained afterwards by the same prosecutor who ordered the detention of her husband.
The public prosecutor dropped the probe into torture allegations although he had more than enough evidence of torture according to the documents provided by government-designated health facilities. Several witnesses came forward and testified to torture. After a long legal challenge, the prosecutor had to open another probe, but there was no progress reported on the second probe, either.

Turkish authorities continue to deny that there is torture in Turkey while blocking the publication of a report by the Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee (CPT), which visited Turkey for a fact-finding mission in September 2016.

The accumulation of overwhelming evidence in this case is quite valuable considering that the police in Turkey often try to cover up the commission of crimes. Authorities tamper with evidence and doctors’ records and ensure that the text of witness accounts, autopsies and medical reports reflect the official version of the detainee’s death.

Deaths in detention and prisons due to torture, abuse and ill treatment have become a recurring theme in Turkey with close to 100 cases reported as suspicious deaths and suicides in the last 16 months alone.

Many human rights monitoring groups have documented cases of torture and ill treatment of detainees that suggest a widespread, systematic and deliberate torture by the government of President Erdoğan.

SCF has already published several reports confirming that such cases have been taking place in detention centers and jails or sometimes in black sites that were used as mass holding facilities for a large number of detainees without due process.

Source: https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/11/21/report-exposes-death-from-torture-of-turkish-teacher-in-police-custody/

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