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Turkish government

Turkish Teachers in Afghanistan

The National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghan intelligence agency, abducted four teachers including one Afghan and three Turkish nationals from one of the schools run by the Afghan Turk CAG Educational NGO (ATCE) on 12 December 2017. While three Turkish nationals and one Afghan teacher were released, two Turkish nationals are still under house arrest and face possible deportation to Turkey.

The ATCE was founded by Gulen inspired Turkish businessmen and teachers and has been running several schools in different cities of Afghanistan since 1995. Despite all the difficulties in the region, the ATCE has continued to maintain its services believing that education is the only way to overcome those difficulties.

Former Deputy Minister of Education, Sediq Patman classified the situation as “politically motivated and unethical.” Former NDS chief has also defined the move as unprecedented in recent years, also as a shameful act for the government. According to former government officials, the raid by the NDS was illegal in the sense that the security forces have been used by the government leaders for political objectives. Despite these statements, there has not been an official comment on the incidence, neither by the government nor the intelligence agency.

Moreover, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani traveled to Istanbul a day before the incidence (12/11/17) to attend a summit organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Ministry of Education said, “it was satisfied with the functioning of these schools, but decision on their fate rested with President Ghani.” Reportedly few days before the operation, the Turkish government announced arrest warrant on teachers’ name for taking part in the so-called coup attempt. Documents indicate that the UN has provided asylum protection to one of the abducted teachers and asked authorities not to extradite him to Turkey.

The operation against the ATCE is part of a Turkish campaign against the followers of Fethullah Gulen who is a Turkish cleric which lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S. He promotes a moderate form of Islam, supports inter-faith communication and inspires to promote education in different parts of the world. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuses him of orchestrating the failed coup-attempt. Mr. Gulen has strongly been denying all the allegations.

As the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we strongly request your assistance to remind the Afghan authorities to ensure that the individuals at risk avoid expulsion in Turkey, where they would, with a great deal of certainty, be subject to torture and ill-treatment. We do believe that this is also an important moment to act in accordance with the Constitution of Afghanistan and relevant provisions of accepted international human rights treaties, in particular, CAT Article 3. We further believe that this is also an opportunity to demonstrate Afghanistan’s resolute commitment to upholding the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights, ahead of its upcoming UN Human Rights Council membership.

Read AST’s statement on the Turkish teachers in Afghanistan : 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
http://www.sundayguardianlive.com/news/12278-erdogan-s-long-shadow-reaches-g-len-s-schools-afghanistan

Download sample statement as a word document: AST_Letter_Teachers_in_Afghanistan

Download UPDATED (4/5/18) statement as a word document: AST_Sample_Letter-Afghanistan_Updated_4/5/18

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

1. Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan
Twitter: @ashrafghani
Phone: 0202104444, 0202104445
(Can be reached through the Acting Spokesperson for the President’s Office)

Shah Hussain Murtazawi, Acting Spokesperson for the President’s Office
Phone: +93 (0) 728 998 907
Email: murtazawi84@yahoo.com

2. Salahuddin Rabbani. Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan
Address: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Malek Asghar St. Kabul, Afghanistan
Phone: 0093 (0) 20 2100372, 0093 (0) 20 2100371
Email: info@mfa.af
Twitter: @mfa_afghanistan
http://mfa.gov.af/en/form/contactus

3. Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s Ambassador to the United States
Address: Embassy of Afghanistan, 2341 Wyoming Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008
Phone: 202-483-6410
Fax: 202-483-6488
Twitter: @hmohib
info@afghanembassy.ushttps://www.afghanembassy.us/contact-us/

4. Mahmoud SAIKAL, Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Permanent Mission of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in New York
Address: 633 Third Avenue Floor 27A, New York, NY 10017
Phone: 212-972 1212
Fax: 212-972 1216
@AfghanMissionUN
info@afghanistan-un.org

5. U.S. Embassy Kabul
Phone: (00 93) (0)700-10-8000
Fax: (00 93) (0)700-108-564
@USEmbassyKabul
KabulACS@state.gov

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UN expert says deeply concerned by rise in torture allegations in Turkey

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.

Source:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22718&LangID=E

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Oppression of Supporters of the Hizmet Movement in Turkey and Abroad

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.


Download as a PDF File: AST_2-1-2018_oppression-of-supporters-of-the-hizmet-movement-in-turkey-and-abroad_P10

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Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay should be immediately released

Amnesty International Orange County:

On January 11, 2018, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled in a criminal case that Mehmet Altan and fellow journalist Sahin Alpay’s rights were being violated by pre-trial detention and ruled that they should be released, nut the 27th High Criminal Court in Istanbul declined to implement the Constitutional Court decision.

Following the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, and the imposition of a state of emergency, over 180 news outlets have been shut down under laws passed by presidential decree. There are now at least 148 writers, journalists, and media workers in prison, making Turkey the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.

Prof. Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay are only two of the hundreds of victims of this horrific violation of democratic values and principles within Turkey.

Mehmet Altan, the Faculty of Economics at Istanbul University since 1986, was also a journalist working in the daily Sabah (1987-2006) and worked as an editor-in-chief in the daily Star until 2012. He has been dismissed from his newspaper because of the government’s pressures on free media.

Sahin Alpay, faculty in Bahcesehir University since 2001, was arrested in 2016. He worked as a writer and editor for Cumhuriyet, Sabah, and Milliyet Newspapers. He directed the “Intellectual Perspective” a weekly program at Turkish CNN and he was a columnist at the now closed-down Zaman Newspaper. He also hosted a program, which aired on the now closed-down Mehtap TV channel.

In September 2016, Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay were detained as part of a wave of arrests of thinkers and writers following the failed July 2016 coup attempt. Arrested for allegedly giving “subliminal messages” to announce the coup on a television roundtable discussion show, Mr. Altan was charged with attempting to overthrow the “constitutional order”, “interfering with the work of the national assembly”, and “interfering with the work of the government” through violence or force.

Amnesty Orange County call the authorities in Turkey to respect and implement the ruling of the Turkish Constitutional Court for Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay to be released immediately alongside all the other journalists and writers, including Mehmet Altan’s brother Ahmet Altan who is also among the incarcerated writers and journalists.

We urge everyone to take action. Please sign the petition linked below: https://www.change.org/p/turkey-mehmet-altan-and-sahin-alpay-should-be-immediately-released?recruiter=841476427&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

This petition will be delivered to:
Turkey Consulate of Turkey in Los Angeles
Embassy of Turkey, Washington, D.C.
TURKEY MINISTRY OF JUSTICE

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It is high time for the European Court of Human Rights to step in!

Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The 3-month State of the Emergency regime which was declared immediately after the coup attempt (21/07/2016) by the Cabinet “to preserve the democratic order” has since been extended for five times.Despite calls by the European Union, the Council of Europe, and the Venice Commission and numerous human rights institutions for the Turkish government to end it, the State of Emergency Regime remains in effect. In defiance of its purpose, The Turkish government has subversively used the State of Emergency Regime against the country’s democratic parliamentary system, the rule of law and human rights.

During the state of emergency, so far;
-28 deputies have been taken into custody, duly elected mayors of 90 different towns/cities have been removed from office,
-61,247 individuals, including 16 deputies, two members of the Constitutional Court, 193 members of the Court of Cassation, 2360 judges and prosecutors, 571 lawyers and 308 journalists have been arrested,
-As of today, a total of 128,998 people have been taken into custody for terrorism-related offenses (being the members of an armed terrorist organization. 100 people a day are being arrested on average.

With thirty different Emergency Decree Law, which is exempt from judicial review;
-146,713 public servants including 4463 judges and prosecutors, 8693 academics, 6687 doctors and paramedics 44,392 teachers have been dismissed from their jobs,
-3003 private hospitals, schools, student dorms and universities, 187 media outlets, 1,412 associations and 139 charities have been shut down, and their assets have been confiscated,
-1,020 private companies have been seized.

On the face of these human rights breaches, European Court of Human Rights is the ultimate hope of the victims. Yet, the ECHR has been consistently refusing applications on the grounds that the domestic remedies in Turkey is not yet consummated.In order to prevent conviction at the ECHR, the Turkish government instituted the Constitutional Court as an additional court of appeal for individuals and established a highly unproductive Commission on Statutory Decrees Under State of Emergency. Neither institution helps the victims.

Only last week, four separate criminal courts of the first instance have refused to implement an order of the Turkish Constitutional Court to release veteran journalist Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay:
-On 11 January 2018, the Turkish Constitutional Court decided that the detention of journalists Sahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan were unlawful and that it constituted a violation of their rights protected by both the Turkish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights,
-On the same day, Istanbul 13th and 26th High Penal Courts refused to release Altan and Alpay on the grounds that the decisions (of the TCC) have not yet been published in the Official Gazette,
-On 12 January 2018, Istanbul 13th and 26th High Penal Courts declined release of Altan and Alpay once again on the grounds that the TCC exceeded its authority as specified in the Constitution itself,
-On 15 January 2018, Istanbul 14th and 27th High Penal Courts turned down objections from the lawyers of Altan and Alpay that the decision of the TCC had to be implemented without delay and ordered their detention to continue.

In the light of the above, there is without a doubt no effective domestic remedy in Turkey and the judicial hierarchy as determined by the Turkish Constitution has been disrupted.

We, therefore, urge The European Court of Human Rights to reconsider its current view that the Turkish Constitutional Court offers an effective domestic remedy and start without further delay reconsidering applications brought by thousands of victims against Turkey.

It is high time for the European Court of Human Rights to step in!

We urge everyone to take action. Please sign the petition linked below:
https://www.change.org/p/the-european-court-of-human-rights-the-council-of-europe-it-is-high-time-for-the-european-court-of-human-rights-to-step-in?recruiter=735343625&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_twitter_responsive

This petition will be delivered to:
The European Court of Human Rights
The Council of Europe

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STATUTORY DECREE NO. 696

After the July 15th failed-coup attempt, the Turkish state has engaged in many illegal activities. The Erdogan regime passed several statutory decrees including the Decree number 675, which is mentioned in detail below, to suppress fear of persecution its supporters possess and encourage them to continue their work. As a matter of fact, the statutory decree mentioned provides impunity to the government officials who have acted in an illegal manner toward masses demonized by the government aided media, in the direction of Erdogan regime’s policies. Nonetheless, it protects them from being prosecuted for any crimes they commit.

Currently, Erdogan regime has issued a new statutory decree (KHK) which indicates that all citizens, regardless of whether they are public servant, are entitled to any kind of intervention against those who are demonized and labeled as terrorist by the regime. Accordingly, any person or group considered to be a terrorist in the eyes of the government may be deprived of all rights recognized as universal human rights. Furthermore, anyone who unfairly treats these labeled individuals, without any authorization or court decision, will get impunity from legal or criminal penalties.

The new arrangement is such a dangerous law that can cause execution of a judge who acquits someone who has been unfairly judged as a member of a terrorist organization because doing so would seem as if the judge was supporting the terrorist organization.

Likewise, any person or group who is a terrorist in the eyes of the government can become a victim of any person who sees themselves as a supporter of the Erdogan regime.

To conclude, this arrangement has made lawlessness lawful and severely harms the independence of the Turkish judiciary. With this arrangement, everyone who receives government support becomes a judge, a prosecutor and everyone also become a legal victim.

Read AST’s statement on the Decree Law: https://silencedturkey.org/statement-statutory-decrees-no695-696

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

U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senators
State Representatives
State Senators

Find your members of Congress:https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members

American Bar Association
https://www.americanbar.org/about_the_aba/contact.html

Federal Bar Association
http://www.fedbar.org/Menu/Contact-Us.aspx

Supreme Court Bar Association
https://www.supremecourt.gov/contact/contactus.aspx

Download sample statement for Bar associations as a word document: AST_Letter_Decree_Bar

Download sample statement for members of Congress as a word document: AST_Letter_Decree_Representatives

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PROTECTING ERDOGAN DISSIDENTS IN THE U.S

Advocates of Silenced Turkey urges The U.S. authorities to take necessary precautions to protect Erdogan dissidents in the U.S

Since the attempted coup of July 15, 2016, staunch supporters of President Erdogan of Turkey, in Turkish politics, media and also public sphere have engaged in threatening and hate speech to silence dissidents in other countries including the U.S. Journalists, academics and businessmen who have been labeled with the Movement have been the main target of this threats.

On December 4 2017, former speechwriter of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and current ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy Aydın Ünal threatened Turkish journalists in exile with extrajudicial killings, in his column published in the pro-Erdoğan Yeni Şafak daily.

The AKP deputy listed the names of journalists to be targeted: Ekrem Dumanlı, Adem Yavuz Arslan, Celil Sağır, Bülent Keneş, Abdülhamit Bilici, Erhan Başyurt, Emre Uslu, Akın İpek and Can Dündar.

“You carry out an operation against Turkey with judges and prosecutors, you give logistical support to this judicial theatre with information and documents that you have stolen through espionage, and your men here [in Turkey] and in the world will live in peace?” Ünal threatened.

In another article published on Nov. 27 in Yeni Şafak, Ünal threatened sympathizers of the Gülen movement in Turkey, saying tougher days lie ahead as a result of the case against Reza Zarrab.

Some of the names listed by Aydin Unal are known to be located in the U.S. Ekrem Dumanli, Adem Yavuz Aslan, Abdulhamit Bilici, Emre Uslu have been living in the U.S and openly carry out their works with their articles and YouTube videos and live Periscope broadcastings especially focusing on Turkish politics and ongoing persecutions.

Ekrem Dumanli who was targeted by Aydin Ünal was previously an editor-in-chief of Zaman Daily and fled Turkey after the controversial coup attempt in 2016. On October 30, 2016, Ragip Soylu, the Washington correspondent of Daily Sabah, which is used for propaganda and spying activities by the Turkish Intelligence in the U.S posted secretly taken photos of Mr. Dumanli. It should be considered as an important indication that Mr. Dumanli was under the surveillance of Turkish Intelligence in the U.S. (https://twitter.com/ragipsoylu/status/792736573217439745)

Dr. Emrullah Uslu, the former columnist for Today’s Zaman is one of the leading figures that continuously has been threatened by the the Turkish Government affiliated figures. He is a full-time professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at VIU.

Following President Erdoğan’s statement on September 19, 2016 that ‘no country is safe for Gülen movement sympathizers, the pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) media has targeted Emre Uslu, along with some other journalists such as Adem Yavuz Aslan, Tuncay Opçin, Aydogan Vatandas and Dr. Atilla Yayla by publishing their secretly taken photos in different parts of the U.S. (https://www.turkishminute.com/2016/09/19/no-country-safe-gulen-sympathizers-erdogan-says/)

Adem Yavuz Aslan, a well-known Turkish investigative journalist, who was threatened in Aydin Ünal’s article has become the main focus of these threats when he followed the ongoing federal trial in New York where Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is accused of personally approving a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran. Adem Yavuz Aslan states that he was informed by some colleagues that he might be a target of an assassination attempt because of his coverage of the trial.

During his coverage of the trial, he was continuously harassed by the Anatolian Agency which secretly took his footage and published it Turkish media as if he is a criminal.

Cem Küçük, another staunch supporter of Erdogan and mouthpiece of Turkish Intelligence has also threatened the Turkish journalists and academics in the U.S.

‘People who are well known by the public such as, Ekrem Dumanli, Emre Uslu, Tuncay Opcin, and Seref Ali Tekalan will be grabbed by the nape of their neck and taken to Turkey. When they wake up whey will find themselves in the hands of the Turkish police and the court. Those days are not too far away.’

‘We will see the end of those who say, ‘I am safe in the US,’ ‘They cannot do anything to me.’ Wherever you flee, the Turkish state will bring you back. Many of your residences have been located. Your homes and workplaces are known. Even the countries where you demanded asylum will not protect you but will extradite you. It is soon. Wait…’ added Küçük. (https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/10/20/pro-govt-journalist-turkey-to-abduct-gulen-followers-in-us-europe/)

Serif Ali Tekalan, who is threatened by Cem Küçük is a medical professor who took charge of North American University, based in Houston, Texas, early in 2017. He has been target of baseless allegations and smear campaigns by the pro-government media in Turkey since then.

Tuncay Opcin, an investigative journalist who now resides in Houston is another well-known Turkish journalist who continuously has received death threats from figures like Cem Kucuk. Opcin says that the threats and the surveillance against him started after the coup attempt. He states that the first surveillance against occurred on Sept. 11 in 2016 at a shopping mall. The lengthy surveillance job against him made him think it was “a professional intelligence and surveillance job.”

Opcin chalks his targeting to his intense criticism of Erdogan’s government and his work as an investigative journalist. Opcin also says that he is disappointed about CPJ and Amnesty International since they did not pay attention to these threats and violations as expected. (http://dailycaller.com/2017/04/03/who-is-spying-on-turkish-journalists-in-the-us/)

Abdulhamit Bilici, the last editor-in-chief of Daliy Zaman before Government takeover in 2016 is another well-known journalist threatened in Aydin Unal’s article who now resides in the U.S.

While the exiled journalists and academics mentioned above were openly threatened by the Turkish Government linked figures, some other leading figures affiliated with Gulen movement in the U.S were harassed and covertly threatened by the Turkish Anatolian Agency and some other pro-government Turkish media organizations.

Pro-government Turkish Star Daily published the house photographs and addresses of Cemil Teber, Faruk Taban, Yuksel Alp Dogan, Hasan Ali Yurtsever, Burak Yeneroglu, Talha Sarac and Hakan Sukur who reside in different parts of the U.S. (http://www.star.com.tr/pazar/himmet-malikaneleri-haber-1279150/)

Besides, the threats from the Turkish media and Government affiliated figures towards the journalists and some leading participants of Hizmet Movement in the U.S, some business owners, grocery stores and even bookstores have been attacked by pro-Government groups in the U.S.

Nizam Market, a Turkish grocery store based in NJ has been attacked and verbally threatened by a Turkish government supporter on July, 2016.

Ant Bookstore, based in NJ has also been targeted and attacked several times in 2016 and 2017. Dr. Huseyin Senturk states that they detected several spying and surveillance activities in the store which were conducted by some Turkish nationals. He also says that the store was attacked and costumers were verbally threatened by a Turkish government supporter adding that the windowpanes of the store were also broken by some unknown figures.

On November 7 2017, Vakkas Doğantekin, a pro-government columnist and the president of the California-based Turkish community organization, TURCA, has attacked a Turkish speaking ice-cream seller affiliated with Hizmet Movement by calling him “terrorist” and “Jewish dog,”.

Dogantekin’s bio on TURCA’s website says he is a California resident for over 10 years and a freelance journalist contributing to Al Jazeera. He wrote at least three Op-Eds in 2017 for the pro-Erdogan daily newspaper, Daily Sabah.

Conclusion:

Considering all these particular incidents, some journalists, academics and NGO directors, businessmen affiliated with Hizmet Movement in the U.S has been continuously targeted by Turkish Government linked figures. The U.S federal and local security authorities should be aware of the fact that Turkish Government doesn’t function and operate as a regular democratic state respecting the international laws and principles. Therefore, it is safe to analyze that Turkish Government can try some undercover operations by using mob groups or militia forces trained by the Turkish Intelligence overseas here in the U.S as well. Advocates of Silenced Turkey strongly urges U.S security forces to take all necessary precautions to protect the lives of the people who might be in danger.

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.” Read more here: https://silencedturkey.org/protection-of-hizmet-participants

Download the report on threats supporters of Gulen Movement face abroad as pdf: AST_Report_Threats_Gulen-Movement

We urge everyone to take action. Please express your views or send attached letter to your two senators and representative to protect dissidents of Erdogan in the U.S.

Find your representative: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
Find your senators: https://www.senate.gov/senators/

Download the sample statement as pdf: AST_Letter_Threats_Gulen-Movement

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STATUTORY DECREE NO. 696 AND THE DEMISE OF RULE OF LAW

Since the July 15 alleged coup attempt, which President Erdogan defined as a blessing from God, Turkish democracy and justice have continuously deteriorated every day. Within the 24 hours after the alleged coup attempt, the Turkish state that was future-promising and showing signs of being able to compete with countries such as those of the European Union changed drastically. In less than 24 hours after the July 15th, Turkey woke up the widespread chaos; unresolved crimes, kidnappings, coffee shop raids, corruption and many illegal acts that would are accustomed to Third World Countries.

After the July 15th failed-coup attempt, the state has engaged in many illegal activities. The Erdogan regime passed several statutory decrees including the Decree number 675, which is mentioned in detail below, to suppress fear of persecution its supporters possess and encourage them to continue their work. As a matter of fact, the statutory decree mentioned provides impunity to the government officials who have acted in an illegal manner toward masses demonized by the government aided media, in the direction of Erdogan regime’s policies. Nonetheless, it protects them from being prosecuted for any crimes they commit.

Currently, Erdogan regime has issued a statutory decree (KHK) which indicates that all citizens, regardless of whether they are public servant, are entitled to any kind of intervention against those who are demonized and labeled as terrorist by the regime. Accordingly, any person or group considered to be a terrorist in the eyes of the government may be deprived of all rights recognized as universal human rights. Furthermore, anyone who unfairly treats these labeled individuals, without any authorization or court decision, will get impunity from legal or criminal penalties.

Turkey, once shown as a model country for the Middle East, is being rebuilt by the Erdogan regime which is taking conscientious steps to change the state structure and amplify social polarization.

As stated above, on November 8, 2016, the AKP regime issued the 675 numbered Decree Law and tried to cover up crimes committed by civil servants on July 15th. According to this decree: m.37/1:”Within the scope of suppression of the acts of coup d’etat and terrorist acts carried out on 07/15/2016 and their continuing actions, the persons who make decisions or implements measures, and who take part in all kinds of judicial and administrative measures, are immune from legal, administrative, financial and criminal liability within the scope of the decree laws issued during the state of emergency. ”

The following provision has been added to the Decree Law No. 675, with the Decree Law No. 696. According to this:

It is indicated that “Regardless of whether they carry an official position or whether they fulfill an official duty, the first clause shall apply to those who act within the scope of suppression of acts of coup and terrorism carried out on 15 July 2016 and their continuing actions”.

According to the new regulation, regardless of an individual carrying an official position or irrespective of whether or not they have fulfilled an official duty, the persons acting in the context of the suppression of terrorist acts and their continuing actions on July 15th shall have immunity from legal, administrative, financial and penal responsibilities.

The decree law will allow individuals who may not be an official, someone in the law enforcement such as military or police, to take actions and measures without considering their legal, penal, judicial, or administrative consequences. This is a clear violation of the main criteria of fighting crimes, such as being moderate and following principles such as lawfulness. With this arrangement, people have a legal basis to perceive themselves as police officials, which is not possible under a normal legal system. As a result, individuals in the society who feel the government’s support will be able to act with unlimited power.

In a country where it is a crime to even torture a street dog, the legal right to kill any human in any inhumane manner on the basis of unfounded accusations illustrates the extremity of this arbitrary regulation. Accordingly, under the protection of the government, individuals can be a judge, prosecutor and executioner at the same time, and the treat anyone as they wish without the pressure of any time constraints.

Since the arrangement issued inherently protects any kind of actions taken, victims whose rights will be violated will not have any right to file appeals regarding the violations. As a matter of fact, rights have been granted that would not have been granted to anyone or be recognized in any legal system in any country governed by democracy with the noted decree law.

The new arrangement is a declaration of the demise of rule of law, and its replacement with a new state order. In recent times in Turkey, the concepts of acts of terror and terrorism have ceased to be clad in terms of legality. These terms are now merely political in nature. A new concept as ‘unarmed terrorist organization’ has been introduced the courtrooms in Turkey. In the noted decree-law, the concepts related to acts of terror or the term, “continuation of acts of terror”, has not been clarified. This issue is the greatest threat to the hundreds of thousands of people who are subject to or potentially will face unfair trials in the country.

The expression of “suppression of the continuity of the actions” mentioned in the decree-law stipulates that any kind of intervention in the name of suppressing actions regarded as a continuation of actions related to the coup attempt and acts of terror cannot be prosecuted. Furthermore, “the persons who, within the context of the decree laws issued during the state of emergency, makes decisions and acts according to their duties”, whether official or civilian, are given the right to intervene on matters related to individuals whom they label as a terrorist or affiliated with terrorist attacks.

According to this, when someone who has been purged with decree-laws gets in touch with someone else in a similar situation for any reason, they are accepted to potentially have a connection to the July 15th coup attempt.

In this case, since there is no authority to object to the uncountable unlawfulness that may arise, individuals that resorts to inhumane or illegal actions may continue their lives from where they have left it without facing any kind of legal action. Thus, if someone confiscates another’s car, the car owner will not be able to ask “Why did you take it?” Because the regulation in question blocks all kinds of legal initiatives.

Likewise, terrorist organizations close to the current government, mafia-like communities, and paramilitary organizations will get immunity from prosecution and will not be held responsible for their actions. These are privileges that even the state do not possess.

In this context, it is clearly seen that the AKP government seeks to establish a Turkish version of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Notions related to Democracy and human rights can be read in Turkey, yet these concepts will no longer be beyond imagination.

The new arrangement is such a dangerous law that can cause execution of a judge who acquits someone who has been unfairly judged as a member of a terrorist organization because doing so would seem as if the judge was supporting the terrorist organization.

Likewise, any person or group who is a terrorist in the eyes of the government can become a victim of any person who sees themselves as a supporter of the Erdogan regime.

To conclude, this arrangement has made lawlessness lawful and severely harms the independence of the Turkish judiciary. With this arrangement, everyone who receives government support becomes a judge, a prosecutor and everyone also become a legal victim.

Download the statement as pdf: Statutory Decree No. 696 and The Demise of Rule of Law

Download the statement in Turkish as pdf: AST_696 sayılı KHK ve hukuk devletin çöküşü

NEWS ARTICLES ON THIS SUBJECT:

Erdogan Law Stirs Fears of Legalized Extra-Judicial Violence
“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest emergency decree risks inciting political violence by giving legal cover to pro-government vigilantes, opposition parties and legal authorities warned. The order, declared in the Official Gazette on Sunday, grants sweeping immunity for acting against terrorism or attempts to overthrow the government. Civilians won’t face legal consequences for actions against last year’s coup attempt — or more importantly — anything that could be considered its “continuation,” the decree said.”
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-25/erdogan-decree-stokes-fears-of-legalized-extra-judicial-violence

Immunity to civilians thwarting coup stirs debate in Turkey
“A new state of emergency decree released on Dec. 24 providing immunity to civilians who fought against last year’s coup attempt and terrorist acts that followed it has triggered a fresh debate in Turkey. Metin Feylzioğlu, the head of the Bar Associations in Turkey, said such a law granting immunity to civilians who confronted the July 15 coup attempt and terrorist acts that followed it would result in “people shooting each other in the head on the streets.” “I was terrified when I inspected the decree law no. 696. I was very sad,” Feyzioğlu said.”
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/immunity-to-civilians-thwarting-coup-stirs-debate-in-turkey-124701

Erdogan decree stirs fears of legalized extrajudicial violence in Turkey
““They’ve paved the way for anyone who claims to be fighting against terrorism to slaughter everybody else,” Ozgur Ozel, a CHP parliament whip, said in televised remarks in the western province of Manisa. “They will unleash vigilantes on us in a future democratic rally and will face no charges.””
https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/12/25/erdogan-decree-stirs-fears-of-legalized-extrajudicial-violence-in-turkey.html

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