1-646-504-2088
help@silencedturkey.org

ast news

Inconceivable torture as a grave human rights violation in Turkey at Şanlıurfa Counter-Terrorism Branch (TEM): “I put on a condom, now I will rape you”

Another grave human rights violation documented by Sevinç Özarslan with the victim of torture in Turkey. The history teacher, who worked as a teacher in the closed private teaching institution and had 3 children, who did not want his name to be disclosed for security reasons, told about the torture he faced in Şanlıurfa Counter-Terrorism Branch.

He was taken to Sanliurfa TEM with his 15-day-old baby, whose heart was born bigger than it should, and his puerperant wife. Moreover, he was subjected to such torture that he still could not take the trauma of what he had been through. The incident that happened was disgusting enough to identify it as subhuman. After they completely cut off contact with his wife and child, they put him in the cell. After being pressured to take advantage of effective regret, the victim, who did not even know the crime that he did, was tortured. In the winter, they imprisoned him in a room with open windows and no heating. They did not permit to sleep him until the morning with the control of police on duty, and then he was exposed to those horrible events he will never forget. First, they forced him to be naked, leaving only the underwear. They cursed and assaulted mothers, spouses, children, and whatever values came to mind with very severe insults. He was stripped and beaten after being blindfolded by people who were called “Interrogators“; and he heard that an interrogator said, “I put on condoms, now I will rape you.” Although this person could not do the action, he was tempted to do so. At the same time, they threatened the victim with open surgery, and the history teacher, who came to the end of his patience, shouted to be operated on without anesthesia. Even more painful, after all these tortures, they realized that they took the wrong person and then stopped the torture.

The reasons for a 44-year-old father with 3 children to live those situations are the fact that he was dismissed with the decree numbered 672, that he had just insurance registration in the closed institutions and his children were studying in Gulen-affiliated schools, that he had accounts at the Bank Asya, which was a bank approved by the state and its inaugurate was made by President Erdogan himself.

In a country where so-called democracy and justice are alleged, the main offense is to rape or allega batter, threaten with his family and feel entitled to this.

Source:

Interview by Sevinç Özarslan from Bold Medya with the victim of torture in Turkey on 2/9/2021. (The name of the victim is not disclosed because of security reasons)

https://boldmedya.com/2021/02/09/sanliurfa-temde-iskence-prezervatif-taktim-simdi-tecavuz-edecegim/

http://aktifhaber.com/m/gundem/sanliurfa-temde-iskence-prezervatif-taktim-simdi-tecavuz-edecegim-h156393.html

Reports on Torture in Turkey

https://silencedturkey.org/erdogans-torture-squads-and-torture-in-turkey-as-a-grave-human-rights-violation

https://silencedturkey.org/systematic-torture-and-ill-treatment-in-turkey

https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/07/29/turkey-police-watchmen-involved-torture-ill-treatment

Stories of the victims fled from Turkey:

 

 

 

 

 

Donate Now

 

 

 

Read more

PETITION THE TURKISH AUTHORITIES TO LAUNCH A FULL INVESTIGATION INTO THE DEATH OF MUSTAFA KABAKÇIOĞLU UNDER SUSPICIOUS CONDITIONS IN PRISON

PETITION THE TURKISH AUTHORITIES TO LAUNCH A FULL INVESTIGATION INTO THE DEATH OF MUSTAFA KABAKÇIOĞLU UNDER SUSPICIOUS CONDITIONS IN PRISON

Mustafa Kabakçıoğlu, a police officer expelled from his job by a statutory decree, died in solitary confinement cell in Gümüşhane Prison on August 29. The guards allegedly found him sitting alone on a chair with his head dropped to the back when they opened the cell door at 5.45 AM.

Mustafa Kabakçıoğlu was put in a confinement cell because he started coughing 9 days ago. Official announcements claim that he suffered from Covid-19 and the reason for his death was virus related. However, he tested negative on the day he died. Besides, his letter to the prison infirmary written 2 days ago from his death indicates that he was clearly suffering from symptoms that are not common for Covid-19.

Erdogan government released more than 90 thousand convicts and prisoners but deliberately kept politically persecuted victims in prisons. Mustafa Kabakçıoğlu was one of these political prisoners as an honorable police officer who was arrested four years ago without any concrete evidence of a crime.

Kabakçıoğlu was suffering from diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure. Over the course of four years of imprisonment, he complained many times because of insufficient health conditions. Thus, his death happens to be a suspicious case under these circumstances.

In the photographs taken after his death, Kabakçıoğlu is seen sitting on a chair his head down and his nails bruised. His black shirt is dusty. The prison doctor reports him to have died between 2 AM and 3 AM, yet no one knows how it happened.

Kabakçıoğlu filed petitions many times and demanded to go to the hospital regarding his asthma, and diabetic issues that he got in prison since 2017. He fell in the cell twice and lost consciousness. Kabakçıoğlu’s autopsy report on the cause of death is expected to be released within two months. His family filed a criminal complaint with the prosecutor’s office and demanding the people who are responsible for his death to be brought to justice.

Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) in its efforts to defend human rights calls the Turkish authorities to investigate the case urgently, bring responsible prison personnel to justice, and sanction them adequately. AST also condemns all inhuman treatment and unjust imprisonments in the strongest terms and ask for justice for those under relentless oppression for years.

PDF LINK

Donate Now

 

 

 

Read more

ELDERLY SICK INMATE WITH CORONAVIRUS WAS PUT IN A CELL IN TURKEY’S PRISON

The coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in Turkey’s prisons. As Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we spoke to the relatives of Namık Bingöl, a 57-year-old diabetic with high blood pressure inmate in the Gaziantep H-type closed prison after his COVID-19 test results turned out to be positive.

Close family members of Bingöl, incarcerated in Gaziantep Prison for about 4 years, claim that the prison administration did not provide them with accurate information about his status.

‘‘Today (September 10th), I went to see my father. While we were entering the prison, everyone who got there before us was upset saying that the inmates were sick. My father came when we arrived, he was barely standing. Her eyes were red, he was constantly sweating and coughing; his voice was hoarse” stated Bingöl’s daughter.

The family learned that Namık Bingöl’s coronavirus test was positive by chance. After returning home from prison, they received a phone call but they were not sure where the call was from, but they thought of it to be from the Ministry of Health. Bingöl’s daughter told AST that they wanted to talk to him and asked if he had contacted us. When she asked why they were asking these questions she was told that Bingol was tested for the COVID virus and the result was positive. They eventually gave the contact number of the jail.

Later on, the family learned that Namık Bingöl did not want to tell his family about the test in order not to upset them during the visit. However, he then stated that he had a test a few days ago and was waiting for the result. He also added that it was only him in the ward who was tested.

Following this situation, the family tried to reach the prison administration but could not get a satisfying response. They then contacted their lawyers when a guard told them “We don’t have time to deal with you, please hang up”. The relatives, who later managed to meet with the prison administration, learned that Namık Bingöl was taken into a single room.

The family believes that such a patient who has difficulty even with standing alone cannot meet their personal needs himself. They claim that 5 wards in the same prison are under the effect of virus spread and the life risk is rapidly increasing.

Another daughter of Namik Bingol shared a video on Twitter to call on the authorities for his conditional release.

You can access the video from this link.

Online Image of the document from the health department shows that imprisoned Namik Bingol’s Covid-19 test was positive.

Those who want to send us additional information on this subject can contact AST via help@silencedturkey.org.

NUR DOĞAN
Ladyjourno@gmail.com

Haberin Türkçe metnini buradan okuyabilirsiniz.

Donate Now

Read more

PRESS RELEASE: URGENT CALL TO ACTION FROM 15 ORGANIZATIONS TO TURKEY AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS TO PREVENT THE RISK OF MASS DEATH IN TURKEY’S PRISONS

FULL SIGNED PDF LETTER

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE: URGENT CALL TO ACTION FROM 15 ORGANIZATIONS TO TURKEY AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS TO PREVENT THE RISK OF MASS DEATH IN TURKEY’S PRISONS

The notoriously overcrowded prisons in Turkey pose serious health threats to inmates during the coronavirus pandemic. This is indicated in the complaints we received from the inmates’ relatives. Also, it is supported by the written and oral statements of the other inmate relatives as well as the reporting of the human rights activists and organizations. The recently passed execution bill is, unfortunately, not able to eliminate those threats due to its unfair and discriminatory nature. On May 13, 2020, an audio recording hit social media. Not only was its content confirmed by its source, but also other inmate relatives expressed similar claims as in the recording. All these point to that the inmates’ rights to life – which is among the most basic and universal human rights and is protected by the 10th amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey and the article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – are under clear, serious, and near threat as asserted by the inmates themselves.

May 8, 2020: In the B12 cell of Silivri prison no. 7, inmate Huseyin Kacan’s examination request was refused by officials despite him repeatedly saying that “we are not feeling okay, conduct testing on us”. There are 39 inmates in the B12 cell. It is claimed that the prison administration did not deal with the inmates despite the coronavirus symptoms seen on April 25. Although the seriousness of the situation was understood after a 48-year old inmate fainted, no tests were applied. After the relatives of those staying at the cell called Alo 184, the national emergency number, the Ministry of Health sent first responders to the prison for testing. The testing was conducted on May 6, 2020, and the test results were released on May 7, 2020. According to the results obtained from the e-nabiz (the ministry’s health portal), everyone in the cell tested positive. Nevertheless, the prison administration takes no action for those inmates. They are not doing anything for their treatment. D, whose husband is in the B-12 cell, wants to remain anonymous because she is worried about the health of her husband’s parents who have heart disease. After learning that her 39-year old husband tested positive for Covid-19, D described what has happened to the Arti Gercek news:
“After I learned about the cases in cell C-7, I was worried and asked him about their situation. He said ‘On Monday, they took away two friends from the cell and never brought them back, I think they tested positive. As a matter of fact, we all fell ill, it was like a flue, some have thrown up’. I asked if they were tested: ‘Forget testing, we are given only a small amount of soup for both sahur and iftar. The situation is so desperate. The first time we were given masks was when I was taken to the phone call’, (my husband) told”. Ekrem Solmaz, the father of Yasin Solmaz, another inmate from the C-7 cell, also found out last night that his son’s Covid-19 test was positive.

May 15, 2020: Being among the coronavirus risk group, journalist Çetin Çiftçi, who was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison and has been in Sincan prison for 8 months, was diagnosed with Covid-19. Çiftçi, who also has kidney and heart problems, was reportedly under treatment.

May 14, 2020: Stating the huge jump in the number of the coronavirus cases in Silivri prison, HDP Deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said that 45 inmates stay in cells with a capacity of 7. Gergerlioğlu also shared some letters from the inmate relatives and inmates themselves. Here are a few listed below:
”Z. A. stays in Silivri prison no. 5. In a phone call with his mother; he said that he had been taken to the infirmary twice, and then a sample was taken from him in a requested ambulance. He had not been informed about why the sample was taken, and he had been sent back to his cell without being taken to a hospital.” “My brother stays in Silivri prison no.2. He had said in our call last week that they were given such little food. We are so worried about my brother’s life, given the coronavirus threat. He is staying with 44 other inmates in a cell that has a capacity of 7 and the food service was so problematic due to the releases from the open prisons.” “In Silivri prison no. 7, there are 43 inmates in the cells. The coronavirus outbreak spreads into the prison. Some 30 inmates have shown symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. For the last several weeks, there has been a shortage in the prison’s canteen service, inmates are denied access to soap, shampoo, and napkins. They are forced to take a shower in cold water with dishwashing soap (due to the lack of provision of hot water).” “At the C-7 cell of Silivri prison no. 7, unfortunately, an inmate was tested positive for Covid19. The remaining 45 inmates in the cell are at greater risk. We are so worried about its spread to the other inmates in the cell.” “M.E. stays in Silivri L type prison no. 5. As per his family, the inmate stated that he has a dry coughing problem which is among the coronavirus symptoms. There are inmates in his cell with chronic diseases. They are denied access to personal hygiene materials. There is a shortage in the regular provision of cold and hot water. They are uninformed about the pandemic. The hygiene and proper cleaning of the dining halls are not adequate and no social distancing rules are being implemented. The food being served is unhealthy and improper and a quarantine room is not available in the prison.” “My brother stays in Slivri prison no. 8. When we talked to our brother, he said that there were patients he is in physical contact with that tested positive for Covid-19. Their request for testing was refused by the prison administration. He also said that they are staying in overcrowded cells. We are worried about my brother’s life. At my brother’s request, we ask for testing to be conducted.”

May 15, 2020: Şakire Solmaz, the wife of ex-cadet Yasin Solmaz who has been sentenced to prison for life, M.T., the partner of teacher M.T., B. Çicek, the wife of ex-police officer Ali Çiçek, and Fatih Çiçek, Ali Çiçek’s uncle and attorney, stated what they have been through during the last week. They shared with Bold Medya their relatives’ Covid-19 diagnosis reports obtained from (the Ministry of Health’s health portal) e-Nabız and the petitions that they submitted to the courts for their release.

“They avoid us like the plague, no one is here to help”, said Şakire Solmaz, the wife of Yasin Solmaz. Being locked up for 42 months, Ali Çiçek stays at the B10 cell of Silivri prison no. 7. His wife, B. Çiçek said “He rested for two days with a high fever. But he said he is fine now. Yet, the cell conditions are so bad. Foodservice is problematic. He said he has never seen such little food being served before. They were buying breakfast products from the prison canteen, but it is closed now. There is always a queue for the restroom. There is even a queue for the fridge, the living conditions got heavier. It is so crowded there, even if someone feels okay, the others who are not feeling okay affect him”.

Another inmate staying at the B12 cell of the prison no. 7 is teacher M.T. Being locked up for 19 months, M.T. was diagnosed with Covid-19. Having not seen her husband for 65 days, and stating that a week amounts to a year for her since May 6, his wife M.T. talked about her phone call with her husband: “Last time I spoke to my husband was on Wednesday, two days ago. Since May 6, a week has felt like a year. Because it is recorded in the health portal that he was taken to see a doctor, I asked him what is happening. He said there is no such thing. We were only tested (for Covid-19). Since then, no one has bothered to see us. They are putting such records in the system to make it look like they are monitoring us. They are only checking their temperature. They are not taking them to the doctor, but they (falsely) put records in the system showing that they are taking. They are in danger there. Not only do their immune systems get weakened but also they are not isolated. In fact, how can you isolate them in a place where 39 people stay! This is against the law. Moreover, the food service is so problematic. He said no vegetables or fruits have been served for the last two weeks. They are only given a very small amount of food. He said, ‘we were left here to die, no one is coming to check on us.’ He asked to seek help from whomever/wherever I can.”

The issues stated above clearly show that the Government of Turkey and the officials are not taking the necessary measures amid the global Coronavirus outbreak. They do not even provide the essential basic needs of those inmates whose well-beings and health are under their responsibility to protect. Not only that, but it is also clearly seen that they also fail to ensure physical conditions necessary to prevent the transmission of the disease, and that mass deaths can occur in prisons due to the “mass isolation” measures that are similar to the medieval practices.

April 8, 2020: It is claimed that a convict named Mehmet Yeter in Bafra prison, who reportedly had diabetes, was recently sent back to prison after his leg got amputated and three days later, he died from Covid-19. Despite the statement of the Bafra Public Prosecutor’s Office that Mehmet Yeter’s death was not related to Covid-19, a social media user called Ferhat Yeter, who declared himself as Mehmet Yeter’s son, shared some documents, that allegedly belonged to the public prosecutor, about the funeral proceedings of his father Mehmet Yeter.

April 20, 2020: Izmir Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that an inmate in Buca prison has tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

April 22, 2020: After the first coronavirus case in Buca prison, Izmir Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that 64 more inmates have also tested positive.

April 28, 2020: Konya Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that 55 inmates in Konya E type prison have tested positive for the coronavirus.

May 2, 2020: After receiving complaint letters from inmates and their relatives, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, CHP Istanbul Deputy and Vice President of the Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Committee, stated that they are receiving an unprecedented number of complaints, and most of them are about “inadequate access to nutrition, hygiene, and health care service”.

May 8, 2020: Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that 44 prisoners in Silivri prison have tested positive for Covid-19.

The significant differences between the official statements and the information received from the inmates’ relatives and their attorneys indicate that the extent of the coronavirus risk in Turkey’s prisons is far deeper than what has been announced. The Government of Turkey and officials, who are not taking the necessary precautions to protect the rights to life of those who are under their responsibility, in slightest terms, act with “severe neglect of duty and culpable negligence”.

We, a coalition of organizations concerned about human rights in Turkey, call on all national and international institutions and the general public, especially the Turkish Government, to act immediately and effectively to stop the aggravated coronavirus threats in Turkey’s prisons and prevent possible mass deaths from happening. Before it is too late, with no further loss of lives.

Respectfully,

Advocates of Silenced Turkey
PEN Argentina and Economic Equity (Argentina)
The Lantos Foundation (USA)
World Affairs Council of Harrisburg (USA)
Advocates for Dignity (Australia)
Social Justice and Advocacy Campaign (South Africa)
Alliance for Shared Values (USA)
Huddled Masses Inc. (USA)
Metro Organization For Racial (USA)
Journalists and Writers Foundation (USA)
Coalition for Women in Journalism
Advocates for Justice and Human Rights (USA)
Physicians for Social Responsibility (USA)
Universal Rights Association (South Africa)
Verein Verfolgt – Aktion für geflüchtete Menschen aus der Türkei (Switzerland)

FOR MORE INFORMATION

www.silencedturkey.org
info@silencedturkey.org

Donate Now

 

 

 

Read more

PRESS RELEASE: CALLING EVERY DISSIDENT ABROAD AS TERRORIST, ERDOGAN VOWS TO KILL “TERRORISTS”(!) BY JUSTIFYING THIS ATTEMPT WITH A REFERRAL TO THE OPERATION AGAINST BAGHDADI

PDF LINK

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

CALLING EVERY DISSIDENT ABROAD AS TERRORIST, ERDOGAN VOWS TO KILL “TERRORISTS”(!) BY JUSTIFYING THIS ATTEMPT WITH A REFERRAL TO THE OPERATION AGAINST BAGHDADI

It has now been over three years since the failed coup attempt and the Turkish government has been targeting its dissident citizens abroad since then. Until very lately, the issue was a concern of countries where some kidnappings and abductions took place and where authorities acceded to Ankara’s demands for their extradition.

However, lately, The U.S. administration also came to face the unpleasant reality of such inhumane practices after the unlawful arrests and imprisonments of American citizens in Turkey. Moreover, while opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been captured in Moldova, Ukraine, Kosovo, Malaysia, Gabon, and many other countries, last year Erdogan’s spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin hinted that Turkey would conduct such operations on the U.S. soil as well. Following all these intimidations in terms of human rights, this week we faced the most concrete and frightening threat voiced by the Turkish President. While giving a speech on recent happenings in Syria and Baghdadi’s death, Erdogan said Turkey’s actions would be justified in targeting individuals living in foreign countries if these individuals are viewed as terrorists by them and labeled as threats to national security. President Erdogan also added that he hoped he could deliver “good news” on this issue soon.

We emphasize our great concern about such targeting threats and urge the U.S. authorities to seek clarification from the Turkish administration over these threatening remarks. In this respect, a determined stance by the U.S. would play a deterring role for any reckless attempt by the Turkish government against Turkish dissidents living in the U.S.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

www.silencedturkey.org
info@silencedturkey.org

 

Donate Now

 

 

 

Read more

PRESS RELEASE: CRUCIAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY AND VIGIL FOR DECEASED PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES BECAUSE OF THE PERSECUTION

PDF LINK

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

CRUCIAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY AND VIGIL FOR DECEASED PEOPLE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES BECAUSE OF THE PERSECUTION

On July 15, 2016, Turkey witnessed an attempted but failed coup which made an accelerating impact on Turkey’s already fraying democratic mechanisms and allowed the administration to launch a sweeping purge to cleanse public service and security bureaucracy of his political opponents and critics. More than 150,000 public workers, including generals, admirals, judges, prosecutors, doctors, teachers, police officers and etc., have been summarily sacked by emergency decrees without due process. For more than 3 years we have been facing ruthless human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people – from arbitrary deprivation of the right to work and to freedom of movement, to torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detentions and infringements of the rights to freedom of association and expression. As a result of those inhumane operations of the authorities and also during escapes through the Evros River and the Aegean Sea, so many deaths have occurred. Recently 7 people including 5 young children lost their lives while trying to flee the persecution by boats like other thousands of people did. Today we are gathered to commemorate those deceased people whether directly murdered by being tortured, denied medical treatment, or indirectly killed by being forced to dangerous ways of escapes. As we always do, today once more again, we call on the Turkish government to ensure human rights all over the country and follow the rule of law. We also urge the international community to take action to stop these crucial human rights violations in Turkey.

 

Hafza Y. GIRDAP
Spokesperson
directorhg@silencedturkey.org

 

Donate Now

 

 

 

Read more

PRESS RELEASE: URGENT CALL TO GOVERNMENTS TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF PROMINENT DISSIDENTS OF ERDOGAN REGIME ABROAD AGAINST ABDUCTIONS ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE VICTIMS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES 8/30/2019

PDF LINK

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

URGENT CALL TO GOVERNMENTS TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF PROMINENT DISSIDENTS OF ERDOGAN REGIME ABROAD AGAINST ABDUCTIONS ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE VICTIMS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES 8/30/ 2019

We regretfully acknowledge that, in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in July 2019, 119 persons have been abducted in Turkey and also on the soils of different countries worldwide. Those abduction cases have been operated by the alleged special agents assigned by Turkish authorities.

As Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), we kindly request from governments around the world and all relevant international organizations caring about human rights to promptly take all necessary preemptive steps to ensure the safety of the prominent dissidents of Erdogan regime before it is too late, including to;

Identify individuals in the country who are likely targets of the Turkish National Intelligence Agency and the
The Turkish government and that is in danger of being threatened, abducted, tortured and/or killed or illegally
extradited,
• Investigate evidence of the Turkish government’s illegal activity, including potential perpetrators’ actions,
behaviors and abductions; extrajudicial assassinations of targets; and the torture or illegal removal of person(s)
from the country.
• Urge the Turkish government to immediately dissolve the Office for Human Abduction and Executions.
• Support Human Rights Defenders in Turkey and abroad, and prevent arbitrary deprivation of life and
extrajudicial killings,
• Turkish diplomats that have been working as spies, must be watched closely, and they must be prevented if they
are in preparation of any harm,
State departments should urgently call in Turkish ambassadors to attain information of whether they are working
on similar illegal abductions operations against the dissidents of Erdogan Regime.

Yours sincerely,

Hafza Y. GIRDAP
Spokesperson
directorhg@silencedturkey.org

Donate Now

 

 

 

Read more

PRESS RELEASE: TURKISH JOURNALIST AHMET ALTAN’S ARBITRARY IMPRISONMENT AND CALL FOR HIS RELEASE 8/29/2019

PDF LINK

FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

TURKISH JOURNALIST AHMET ALTAN’S ARBITRARY IMPRISONMENT AND CALL FOR HIS RELEASE

Ahmet H Altan is an acclaimed Turkish novelist with more than ten published books, columnist, journalist, editor-in-chief of a newspaper, and avid defender of democracy, civil rights and freedom of speech for all layers of the society. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole with the accusation of being a member of a terrorist organization, attempting to overthrow the government and the constitutional order, interfering with the work of the government and the national assembly. Turkish Supreme Court overturned the decision on him in January 2019. However,  the court denied Ahmet Altan’s petition for release. He was also convicted for insulting the president later in 2019.

Ahmet Altan had spent his career of more than 30 years by dissecting the visible and hidden fault lines threatening democracy and civil rights in Turkey. Throughout his career, Altan has always been subject to attacks and praises for lauding democracy, human rights, and civil liberties for all. He was sentenced to prison for 20 months in 1995 for defending the rights of Kurdish citizens  -his sentencing was later delayed on the condition of not repeating the same “crime”. He published documents obtained from military and bureaucratic sources much like “Pentagon Papers” and “Watergate scandal”. His leadership in enabling investigative journalism in Turkey and his stance on many subjects made him the recipient of more than 100 lawsuits instead of journalism awards. His stand-off with military and government and his principled defense of minorities remind us the likes of Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post (Watergate, Pentagon Papers) and Ralph McGill of Atlanta Constitution (Defending anti-segregation in Jim Crow era Georgia).

In December 2013, a graft probe by the prosecutors against five ministers and their sons as well as the son of the prime minister of the time, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was abruptly nipped in the bud by Erdogan. Altan’s defense of and emphasis on the justice system in a three-legged democratic system ruffled a lot of feathers and brought him the wrath of the government right after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Shortly after, he was detained and arrested. Though he was released on probation, his pseudo-freedom lasted only 24 hours. Upon leaving the courtroom, Ahmet spoke to the press, saying “This country is ours, we are not afraid. We’ll always defend law and democracy”.  During the trial, the prosecutors even claimed that he used his TV appearance the day before the coup attempt to give “subliminal messages” in support of the coup. He also shared the records of his experience during the trial with his lawyer to be made public for future generations. His notes were published and translated to English with the name “I WILL NEVER SEE THE WORLD AGAIN”.

 Snippets from Altan’s writings:

  • “We may die or be killed, be jailed or be tried in the courts, be left unemployed, be tortured or shot, but we may never be defeated. We are the defenders of life.
  • “How crowded is our loneliness! Wherever we turn, we bump into ourselves!”
  • “Love is like a sword wound! It heals but surely leaves its mark.”
  • “You can imprison me, but you cannot keep me here. Because, like all writers, I have magic, I can pass through your walls with ease.”
  • “I will never see the world again; I will never see a sky unframed by the walls of a courtyard. I am descending to Hades. I walk into the darkness like a god who writes his own destiny. My hero and I disappear into the darkness toge”

Today, we urge the Turkish government to enforce the rule of law and to immediately terminate Ahmet Altan’s arbitrary imprisonment! We also call on the international community to urge the authorities in Turkey for his immediate release and Ahmet Altan’s colleagues, friends, readers to speak out!

 

Hafza Y. GIRDAP

Spokesperson

directorhg@silencedturkey.org

 

Donate Now

 

 

 

Read more

PRESS RELEASE: The critical health situation of FATMA GORMEZ and urgent action for the release of BEKIR GORMEZ on conditions of pending trial without arrest 7/19/2019

PDF LINK

PRESS RELEASE: The critical health situation of FATMA GORMEZ and urgent action for the release of BEKIR GORMEZ on conditions of pending trial without arrest 7/19/2019

 

THE CRITICAL HEALTH SITUATION OF FATMA GORMEZ AND URGENT ACTION FOR THE RELEASE OF BEKIR GORMEZ ON CONDITIONS OF PENDING TRIAL WITHOUT ARREST

Under the state of emergency, imposed after the July 2016 attempted coup and lifted on July 2018, President Erdogan presided over the cabinet, which could pass decrees without parliamentary scrutiny or the possibility of appeal to the constitutional court. Public officials continued to be dismissed or suspended by decree without due process, with more than 170,000 dismissed since July 2016. Those dismissed from their jobs lost their income, social benefits, medical insurance and even their homes.

According turkishminute.com, Fatma Gormez, a former teacher who was removed from her job in the aftermath of a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, now weighs only 29 kilograms due to a series of health problems, Fatma is calling for the release of her husband to enable her to continue living via a video message posted on Twitter.[1] (Bekir Gormez is accused of allegedly posting tweets on his account.)

Stockholm Center for Freedom reports that Berk Gormez, a 14-year-old disabled son of that couple who were both purged, lost his life in January 2018. Berk’s father, Bekir Gormez was not permitted to visit him for the last 17 months despite of his and his mother’s severe health problems.[1] During the funeral of Berk, Bekir Gormez was not allowed to take his handcuffs off.

Given the arbitrary detentions of thousands of people due to lack of rule of law in Turkey, hundreds of thousands of people, including family members, are being affected and exposed to severe human rights violations. Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, HDP MP, stated on Twitter through his personal account that the case of Fatma Gormez was submitted to Supreme Court requesting her husband’s release by the court pending his trial.

We strongly urge the Turkish government to take the case of Fatma Gormez into consideration immediate effectively and release her husband on conditions of trial without arrest.

 

       Hafza Y. GIRDAP

          Spokesperson

UNHCHR
The Honorable Michelle Bachelet Jeria
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH- 121 I Geneva 10. Switzerland
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org

UN WOMEN
Phumzile Mlambo
Executive Director of UN Women
twitter: @phumzileunwomen
Address:

CSW Communications Procedure
Human Rights Section
UN Women
220 East 42nd Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10017 USA
e-mail: cp-csw@unwomen.org.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Address: 2201 C St NW, Washington, DC 20520
Ph: (202) 647-4000

Twitter: @StateDept
https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform

FREEDOM HOUSE
Washington Office Address:
1850 M Street NW, Floor 11, Washington D.C. 20036
info@freedomhouse.org

Twitter: @FreedomHouseDC

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE, TURKEY
The Honorable Abdülhamit Gül
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
06659 Kizilay
Ankara, Republic of Turkey
Email: info@adalet.gov.tr

AMBASSADOR OF TURKEY TO US.
The Honorable Serdar Kilic
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the
United States
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC, USA 20008
Email: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr

 

[1] https://stockholmcf.org/14-year-old-disabled-berk-dies-in-absence-of-his-father-who-is-in-prison-over-alleged-gulen-links/

 

Donate Now

 

 

 

Read more

PRESS RELEASE: The so-called coup attempt july 15 serves as a justification for the complete conversion of a country’s administrative system and persecution of hundreds of thousands in Turkey.

PDF LINK

The so-called coup attempt July 15 serves as a justification for the complete conversion of a country’s administrative system and persecution of hundreds of thousands in Turkey.

On July 15, 2016 Turkey witnessed an attempted but failed military coup against Erdoğan government. During this horrific uprising, hundreds of people were killed and thousands of others were injured. Right after the coup attempt, the Turkish government has taken a wave of oppressive actions against not only the alleged coup plotters but also those that are perceived as critics of the regime. With that, the country’s political spectrum has been completely changed. Amid massive crackdown on media outlets and hundreds of thousands of the dissidents, President Erdoğan further consolidated his power with a controversial referendum in 2017 that changed the country from a parliamentary democracy into one-man rule. Being seen a setback from the rule of law, the new presidential system deepened concerns on human rights.

Marking a monumental turning point in Turkey’s history, the uprising has not been thoroughly investigated. Questioning the government’s narrative has caused many to imprisonment. The leaked details fueled the suspicions on the government’s narrative thus diminished its credibility. The narrative along with the massive crackdown on the dissident groups and Erdoğan’s consolidation of power faced heavy criticism from almost all quarters of the democratic world. In fact, a former representative of the European Parliament and well-known politician Andrew Duff defined it as “quick and relentless so-called coup”. The present report of Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) provides an overview of controversies and dark points on the “so-called coup” along with the human right concerns during the ongoing post-coup crackdown on the Turkey’s dissident groups.

Some of the highlights from the report are:

  • A coup with no plan of action: Every coup has a certain plan of action, yet no official document has been presented so far for the July 15 coup attempt or the list of individuals involved with the Yurtta Sulh Council that has allegedly masterminded the coup.
  • A “blessing from God”: Right after the coup attempt, Erdoğan described the incident as a “blessing from God”, implying that he had finally found the opportunity to carry out the purge on his dissidents.
  • Step by step towards a presidential regime: Within less than a year, a referendum for constitutional change was held and the new Turkish-style presidential system was put into effect. Following this, Erdogan became the first president of the new regime through early elections.
  • A coup notice from TSK to MIT: Osman Karacan, a major in TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) went to the MIT (National Intelligence Organization) headquarters on July 15 at 2:20pm to give notice about the planned coup. Yet, no real precautions were taken to prevent or suppress the coup until 10.00pm.
  • Chief of MIT and Chief of Defense are still in office: Chief of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Hakan Fidan, Chief of Defense Hulusi Akar and 2nd Chief of Defense Yaşar Güler reportedly held a series of meetings following the notice at 2:20pm on the planned coup but did not notify President Erdoğan until 7:00pm, yet they kept their office.
  • The conflicting explanations from Erdogan regarding time of coup: When speaking to national and international media, Erdoğan stated contradicting times with regards to the time when he was informed of the planned coup.
  • The “controlled coup”: Turkey’s main opposition party (CHP) described what happened on the July 15 as “controlled coup”.
  • Planes on standby for escape: It is discovered that 4 different airplanes at 4 different locations were arranged for Erdoğan to be on standby that night, implying Erdoğan’s possible knowledge of the planned coup attempt.
  • Secret meetings a day before the coup: It is revealed that Akar, Chief of Defense, and Fidan, Chief of MIT (National Intelligence Organization), held a one-on-one confidential meeting that lasted four hours, a day before the coup.
  • “I received the orders to reinforce the Chief of Defense Forces from Zekai Aksakallı”: Colonel Fırat Akkuş stated this during the court hearing, bringing into question the role of Special Forces Commander Zekai Aksakallı in the coup.
  • Erdoğan did not allow an investigation: The Turkish Grand National Assembly’s July 15 Investigation Commission wanted to listen to the testimonies of Chief of Defense Hulusi Akar and MIT Chief Hakan Fidan. However, President Erdoğan did not allow either of the names to appear in front of the commission.
  • “Let an international commission investigate the coup and we will accept its findings”: The proposal of Fetullah Gülen who was blamed for masterminding the coup attempt is not accepted by the Turkish government.
  • Events not yet taken place written into the July 15 Official Report, how did that happen? It was revealed that the official report for July 15 prepared by Serdar Coşkun, the Constitutional Order Attorney General of the time, contained written reports of events that would take place at a later date written as though they had taken place at the time of the written record.
  • Purge lists prepared early on: Attorney General Serdar Coşkun admitted that the first cases of individuals being taken into custody and being arrested on July 16 were carried out based on the official report of the events. However, 3,000 judges and prosecutors were arrested on July 16 based on coup involvement although there is no evidence to support the allegations.
  • A project I disliked is July 15: When Binali Yıldırım, the PM of the time, was asked by a group of journalists if there were any projects that he felt a bit too demanding, his reply, in a sarcastic tone, was “Well, July 15 was a project I did not like at all.”

We urge;

  • international organizations to establish an independent commission to investigate and clarify the infamous July 15 coup attempt in Turkey,
  • international bodies to examine politically motivated coup charges in order to end the purge and grave human rights violations that are affecting millions of innocent lives justified through this controversial coup attempt,
  • the Turkish government to end arbitrary detentions, to find the perpetrators of enforced disappearances and bring them to justice, to reinstate the unlawfully dismissed public sector workers and to ensure the rule of law in Turkey.

 

Donate Now

 

 

 

Read more