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Human Rights Digest: January 2020 Articles

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TURKEY: MONTHLY HUMAN RIGHTS DIGEST January 2020

  1. A Mother’s Plea for Help: The Tumor is Spreading, My Daughter is Sick

On February 27, 2018, Sevgi Sezer, a critically-ill primary school teacher, was imprisoned for 7 years and 6 months due to her affiliation with the Hizmet Movement. After nearly two years, Sezer continues to suffer from a malicious tumor on her back while forcedly sharing an overcrowded prison cell with 16 other women prisoners. Sezer was denied medical attention for a long time despite making many requests while the tumor on her back, a constantly growing vascular malformation, went undiagnosed for 9 months. Sezer’s deprivation of medical assistance led to the painful growth of the tumor, causing her immense suffering and severely limiting her mobility. The appeals court continues to stall action on Sezer’s case as she suffers despite concrete medical evidence that warrants close medical attention and release from imprisonment. Teacher Sezer’s mother made an emotional appeal to authorities: “I could not hug my daughter in my last visit because the tumor spread all over her back. I am calling government officials to take action; my daughter is sick, in pain. She needs treatment.”

  1. 70 Turkish Air Force Academy Cadets Receive Life Sentence for “Courtroom Behavior”

On January 3, 2020, the 24th Istanbul High Criminal Court sentenced 70 Turkish Air Force Academy Students, aged 18-23, to aggravated life imprisonment. The Turkish Court charged all 70 of the cadets with violating the constitution, merging their cases under the overarching July 15 Coup Attempt trials. While the cadets’ involvement in the coup attempt has not been evidenced, the court found the cadets guilty of intent to aid and abet the coup attempt. Moreover, the presiding judge changed his original sentencing to a lifetime sentence and defended his decision by blaming the alleged contrarian behavior of the defendants during court proceedings. While the cadets can appeal the court order, the hysteria revolving around the July 15 failed coup attempt has effectively eliminated all avenues of justice and exoneration.

  1. Philanthropist Melek Ipek, “Angel Mom”, Sentenced for Hizmet Affiliation

On January 9, 2020, the 24th Ankara High Criminal Court sentenced Melek Ipek and her son Cafer Ipek to 12 and 79 years of imprisonment, respectively. The overarching case brought against billionaire Akin Ipek and the Ipek Family Estate found all family members guilty for providing financial support to the charity activities of the Hizmet Movement. Since five family members had escaped Turkey due to the undue political and judicial process, the Ankara court put their cases on hold while charging Melek Ipek with “opposition to tax law”, a bogus charge that, as it now appears, has been included to target the Ipek family’s vast financial estate. The court ordered for the seizure of all financial assets, dividends, and shares of all Ipek family members who hold stock in the Ipek Holding Company.

  1. Another Victim of the Hysteria: Left-Leaning Sports Reporter Fired from Job

On January 8, 2020, Fatma Karaagac, a left-leaning former sports reporter for Haberturk TV, gave an interview regarding her termination. In her remarks, Karaagac complained that she was fired for international political reasons while the company firing her blamed her alleged affiliation with the Hizmet Movement. Karaagac was neither sued or summoned to court. The prosecutorial hysteria directed against the Hizmet Movement continues to ransack the lives of thousands of people. The unquestioned vilification of the Hizmet Movement by the Turkish government allows for opportunists and people with personal vendettas to accuse anyone and any time of Hizmet affiliation to cause serious damage to their lives. Fatma Karaagac is a recent and prime example.

  1. Former Teacher from Adana Sentenced 7.5 Years for Teacher’s Union Membership

On January 8, 2020, the Adana 12th Heavy Criminal Court found Mehmet Onuk guilty and sentenced him for 7 years and 6 months. According to the court order, Mr. Onuk’s alleged crimes consist of using ByLock, a mobile chat application, holding religious study circles in his home, and being a member of a government-sanctioned worker’s union. Mehmet Onuk, like countless others, was charged for these crimes as part of the ongoing persecution campaign against the Hizmet Movement.


 

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Human Rights Violations in Turkey December, 2019

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TURKEY: MONTHLY HUMAN RIGHTS DIGEST

A TEACHER’S FINAL WORDS: THEY ARE KILLING PEOPLE

On December 20, 2019, Engin Erol (41) passed away from cancer after three years of inhumane imprisonment in Artvin and Erzurum prisons. Erol, a teacher, husband, and father of three, began experiencing severe health problems within three months of imprisonment and requested proper medical care from the Turkish courts. The prosecutor on the case ignored more than 20 appeals from Erol, delaying his diagnosis for months, and denying him access to medicine as his condition rapidly progressed to its end-stage. He was kept in Erzurum, one of the coldest cities in Turkey, during winter months while “the new warden turned the heat off” for months despite the below-freezing temperature. Erol pleaded for help in his final words: “They are killing people in there. There are two people suffering from my condition. Pray for them.”¹

MOTHER & 7-YEAR OLD CHILD WITH DOWN SYNDROME SENTENCED FOR HIZMET MOVEMENT AFFILIATION

Nuran Dilber and her daughter Nalan (7) have been sent to a İstanbul prison over their alleged links to the Hizmet Movement. Nalan, a child with down syndrome, requires special medical and educational attention. Prior to her arrest, Nalan had just begun to learn how to read and write, bathroom etiquette, and social interaction. Left with no one else to take care of her, Nalan continues to be imprisoned along with her mother.
Nalan continues to be imprisoned along with her mother. Their story came to fore thanks to HDP Parliamentarian Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, who voiced his opposition to the arbitrary arrests and emphasized the gravity of the trauma that Nalan has been through. Gergerlioglu criticized the detention of the Dilber family with strong words: “Where is your conscience?” ²

A BABY IN PRISON: MUAZ’S FIRST BIRTHDAY

On December 7th, 2018, only 60 days after giving birth to her baby, Nurhan Erdal Bahadir (38) was arrested as part of Turkey’s routine imprisonment of all dissidents and put in Tarsus Women’s Prison. Bahadir’s baby, Muaz, suffers from a genetic heart condition and a vision problem that caused permanent damage to the alignment of his eyes. The young mother’s request for a pair of glasses as well as an instant pot for her child’s health was denied for months while Muaz received neither medical care nor supplemental baby food during the first year of his life. Forced to sleep in a ward with 15 other women, Bahadir was only given a bunk bed to sleep with Muaz. When Muaz fell off the bed, the mother’s plea for help was met with a recommendation from prison guards to “tie the baby’s foot to the bed.” During her postpartum period, Mrs. Bahadir and Baby Muaz faced harsh winter conditions without proper heating and rationed food portions, compounding the cruelty of the prison conditions. In December 2019, Muaz celebrated his first birthday behind bars.³

MEMBERS OF FLORYA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SENTENCED: 26 BUSINESSMEN BEHIND BARS

On December 27, 2019, the Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court tried 26 business people for their official membership to Florya Chamber of Commerce, a local organization in Istanbul. The court sentenced nine defendants to 7 years and six months, and 14 defendants to 6 years and three months of prison time for “their affiliation with the Hizmet Movement. While the court refused to provide an explanation for their reasoning, the defendants’ appeals made no difference in the court’s sentencing decision⁵.

ANOTHER VICTIM OF THE HYSTERIA: CHP MAYOR IN PRISON FOR FORMER ROLE

On December 12th, 2019, Ibrahim Burak Oguz, a member of the main opposition party in Turkey, was found guilty for his alleged association with the Hizmet Movement because of his former role on the executive board of the Izmir Young Entrepreneurs Association (IGID). Oguz’s arrest came only six months after his electoral victory on March 21st, where he beat the leading party’s candidate and became the Mayor of Urla. While no specific charges have been leveled against Oguz, he has been sent to prison in Izmir for his alleged links⁴.

References:

1- https://magduriyetler2.blogspot.com/2019/12/kanserden-olen-tutukluerolun-son.html
2- https://magduriyetler2.blogspot.com/2019/12/tutsak-bebek-muaznannesinden-mektup.html
3- https://turkeypurge.com/mother-7-year-old-daughter-with-downsyndrome-sent-to-prison-on-terror-charges-report
4- https://www.cnnturk.com/turkiye/chpli-belediye-baskani-fetouyeliginden-tutuklandi
5- aa.com.tr/tr/turkiye/fetonun-is-dunyasi-yapilanmasi-davasindakarar/1685891#


 

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Key Human Rights Concerns in Turkey since the So-called Coup Attempt

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Following the coup attempt on the 15th of July 2016, the Turkish government under the authoritarian leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan 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. Currently, as part of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown, more than 170,000 people including judges, academics, teachers, journalists, police and military officers, and other public servants were dismissed from their jobs. In correlation, more than 217,000 were detained and 80,000 were arrested. Amnesty International reports that detainees were “being held arbitrarily” with “no evidence establishing reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior” and that “only a tiny minority of them were accused of taking part in the actual events of the attempted coup”.
Amid the massive crackdown of hundreds of thousands of dissidents, human rights organizations and the U.N. Human Rights Council have noted that human rights are violated on a large scale by the Turkish government. Arbitrary killings, suspicious deaths of people in custody, forced disappearances, tortures, ill-treatments, injustice, and threats – mostly against the followers of the Gulen movement, Kurds, and the Leftists – were reported widespread during this large-scale witch-hunt.
As people continue to be arrested and many more tortured and abducted, the present brief of Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) highlights some of the key human rights concerns that took place in Turkey during this on-going period.

Unprecedented scale of dismissals: More than 130,000 civil servants, with their names attached in lists to emergency orders, were dismissed by emergency decrees. These civil servants included over 4,200 judges and prosecutors, 7,000 academics, 6,000 health-care professionals, 33,500 teachers, and 44,500 police and military officers. Not only were people dismissed arbitrarily but also banned permanently from working in the public sector – many were even banned to practice their profession.

Collapse of judiciary system: With approximately 4,200 judges and prosecutors (including two judges from the Turkey’s highest court) dismissed permanently, over one-fifth of Turkey’s judiciary has been removed. Of those dismissed, at least 2,200 were jailed with their assets frozen due to their alleged links to the Gulen movement. Consequently, the climate of fear paralyzed the judges and prosecutors who still have their positions. The fear combined with the heavy government influence in the court system led to the collapse of the judiciary system and the deterioration of human rights in the country. As a result, Turkey ranked 109 out of 126 countries in 2019 on the rule of law index of World Justice Project.

Victimization of lawyers: Lawyers are among the many groups affected by the post-coup crackdown in Turkey. They were unlawfully associated with their clients’ alleged crimes. Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that many lawyers were targeted with criminal investigations with little or no evidence. According to the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, over 1,500 lawyers were persecuted over the past three years including 14 lawyers who were presidents of provincial bar associations – of those persecuted lawyers, one third remained imprisoned before and during their trials, and 274 were convicted of membership of armed terrorist organizations and sentenced to long prison sentences. Furthermore, approximately 34 bar associations were shut down by presidential decree with alleged affiliations to terrorist organizations.

The media purge following the attempted coup: In the aftermath of the failed coup, the government closed down 179 media outlets – including 53 newspapers, 37 radio stations, 34 TV channels, 29 publishing houses, 20 magazines, and six news agencies – with accused links to the Gulen movement, Kurdish opposition, or Leftists groups. Consequently, a total of 2,308 media workers and journalists have lost their jobs. The government cancelled hundreds of press accreditations and revoked passports of an unknown number of journalists and their family members to ban them from traveling abroad. In addition, the government imprisoned a record-breaking number of journalists in the wake of the coup attempt – with that, Turkey became the world’s largest prison for journalists. The Platform for Independent Journalism (P24) reported that at least 126 journalists and media workers were in prison in Turkey as of October 2019 – among them, many were put in long solitary confinement.
The absence of freedom of expression is not only a recurring problem for journalists but for citizens as well. In 2018, the Ministry of Interior reported that more than 7,000 individuals were detained for their social media posts after investigating 631,233 digital materials. In relation to the censorships and content restrictions in the country, Wikipedia has been blocked in Turkey since April of 2017. Currently, out of the 180 countries, Turkey ranks 157 th on the Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders and are listed among ‘not free’ countries by the Freedom House.

Persecuting academics: Following the coup attempt, 1,043 private schools and 15 universities linked to the Gülen movement were closed by a presidential decree. Eventually resulting in the displacement of over 60,000 students across the country. Over 8,500 academics reportedly lost their jobs either due to direct dismissals or university closures since September 2016 – and many of them were imprisoned. Large-scale dismissals of academics and teachers significantly damaged the education sector thus diminished the right to education.

Crackdown on health care sector: Turkish government has shut down 14 hospitals and 36 medical centers after the coup attempt on the pretext of alleged ties to the Gülen movement. Therefore, an estimated 21,000 health care professionals were laid off – including doctors, academics, nurses, mid-wives, and other hospital staff. Of those, 5,261 are medical doctors and academics who specialize in the medical sciences. The figures of how many health care professionals have been detained, arrested or currently in prison are estimated in the thousands. Given the longstanding issue of hospital and staff shortages in the country, the dismissal of health care professionals and closure of hospitals left many patients in despair of medical care.

Prison conditions: With persecution of tens of thousands of critics, Turkey’s prisons have never been fuller – the prison population has increased from 171,267 inmates in 2015 to 260,144 in 2018. Given the capacity of 211,766, inmates are forced to remain in overcrowding cells. In order to free up space for more political prisoners, the government released nearly 34,000 convicts from prisons. The inadequate provision of heath care to prisoners also remains a serious problem. Officially reported by the Ministry of Justice Prison and Correctional Facilities, there were 271 doctors serving nearly a quarter million of the prison population – of whom, only eight were full-time. Insufficient access to fresh water, proper heating, ventilation, and lighting are other concerns for prison conditions.

Torture and ill-treatment: Despite the government’s stated zero tolerance for torture policy, human rights groups reported widespread and systematic use of torture and ill-treatment in police custody following the coup-attempt-including severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks, water boarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, long solitary confinement, and depriving of food and water. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated acts of torture and ill-treatment aimed “at extracting confessions or forcing detainees to denounce other Individuals” in its report on Turkey in 2017. The Human Rights Association (HRA) reported that the number of incidents where prisoners were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in
detention centers and prisons was 2,178 in 2016, 2,415 in 2017, and 1,505 in 2018. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) reported a total of 126 suspicious deaths and suicides since the coup attempt – most of those occurred in detention centers and prisons, seemingly a direct result of torture and ill-treatment.

Abduction and enforced disappearance: In the aftermath of the coup attempt, forced disappearances made a comeback in Turkey. Opposing politicians and respected human rights groups claimed at least 28 abductions or possible enforced disappearances of individuals. Most of the victims were identified as dismissed public servants with alleged ties to the Gulen movement or critics of the government. Allegedly, victims were abducted outside detention facilities and illegally questioned and tortured by Turkey’s intelligence agency. Moreover, Turkey’s intelligence agency reportedly snatched over more than 100 alleged Gulen affiliates from 18 countries – individuals often deported by cooperative governments without due process.

Women and children in prisons: The prison conditions for women and children are exceedingly alarming. According to the Justice Ministry, as of 2017, nearly 10,000 women and 3,000 children under 18 are in Turkey’s prisons. The inhumane prison conditions also hold weight in women prisons. They face additional issues of the male security staff frequently obstructing their privacy during hospital visits, often times leading to incomplete examination. Among the prisoners, there are pregnant women or women who just gave birth and 677 children under 6 years old imprisoned along with their mothers – including 149 infants under 1 year old. Pregnant women were forced to stay with other inmates in overcrowded cells, also denied access to proper prenatal care – posing serious risks to their well-beings.
Likewise, mothers with children were also forced to share a cell with inmates.

Restrictions on right to travel: Another unlawful activity being pursued during this period is revoking the passports of government critics with perceived affiliations to the Gulen movement, Kurdish opposition, Leftists groups and their family members. On this ground, the Turkish government put restrictions on approximately 155,000 passports, reported by the SCF. Since their passports are restricted, many people, with the fear of persecution, use smuggler routes to flee from the country.
Unfortunately, many died in the Evros River and the Aeagean Sea. Turkey revoking its citizens’ passports also causes travel struggles for those across the world.

Seized the critics’ assets: The Turkish government abuses laws to seize assets of its critics. As of March 2018, the government had seized the assets of approximately 1,124 businesses and 127 individuals. According to the Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey, the net worth of the seized assets is an estimated 49.4 billion liras ($9.4 billion) since the 2016 coup attempt. Moreover, in most cases, the government freezes the assets of those on trial, financially crippling them and their families.


 

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Millions of Books Destroyed: Erdogan’s Regime Attacks the Culture of its Dissident Groups

Millions of Books Destroyed: Erdogan’s Regime Attacks the Culture of its Dissident Groups

Books play an important role in shaping public opinion and transmitting the culture of a society for the upcoming generations. For that, many authoritarian regimes throughout history have opposed books written in the pursuit of the opposition of those they perceived as enemies. With the goal of asserting complete control over public information and literature, the Erdogan regime has started such a war against the books and other publications of its dissident groups following the suspicious coup attempt on July 2016. In this direction, thousands of books have been outlawed and their publishers have been shut down. Therefore, copies of those books in all libraries and bookstores across the country have been confiscated. After it has been declared that possessing any copies of such books or publications may be considered the evidence for certain crimes, many people have been detained and arrested.
The current report of the Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) provides an overview of what has happened during Turkey’s ongoing post-coup assault on the books and the cultural institutions, with a focus on the affected groups including the Gulen movement, Kurds, leftists, and seculars.

Some of the highlights from the report are given below.

● Book disposals in public libraries: Constituting approximately 7 percent of the total books in the public libraries across the country, 135,000 books are reported to be removed from the public libraries due to their affiliations with the Gulen movement. Of those books:
– 30,000 books that are authored by Mr. Gulen have reportedly been ordered to be burned.
– The remaining nearly 100,000 books have been sent off for recycling.
● Getting rid of books with a fear of arrest: After certain books and publications have been blacklisted, many have reportedly burned or tore their books for the fear of being discovered by their neighbors or law enforcement officials.

Some reported incidents are:

– D.A., a librarian at a university during the time of the coup asserted how he had to categorize his books in his personal library that constituted nearly 2,000 books to dispose the ”dangerous ones” among them.
– In the central province of Yozgat, military police — gendarmerie — found 560 Gulen authored books near a water fountain in a village. A crime-scene was conducted hoping to find the people whom the books belong to.
– Police officers found 150 Gulen’s books, some of which were totally or partially burned in a village in Northern Cyprus.
– In another story, authorities discovered hundreds of Gulen books thrown into the waters of Ataturk Dam in Eastern Anatolia.
● Charges over possessing certain books: In some cases, people who possessed certain blacklisted books have been suspected and persecuted. Some of the reported incidents are as follows:
– Canan Badem: An associate professor at Tunceli University, who was detained in August 2016 on charges of association with the terrorist organization after the police have found a Gulen-authored book at his university office. As a well-known critic of Gulen and a professed atheist, Dr. Badem will be facing a long prison sentence if found guilty.
– A housewife, R.Y. has reportedly been detained over allegations of burning Gulen’s books at a place close to her home. She faces charges of membership in a terrorist organization and making terrorist propaganda.
– Four school officials have been reportedly detained by the gendarmerie forces after they found them burning some documents in the garden of a school in Mugla province.
– A college’s attempt to get rid of Gulen-authored books from the college’s library right after the coup attempt has sparked an investigation in the western province of Afyon.
● Banned publishers, media outlets and other incidents: Aside from the Gulen associated books, Erdogan regime’s war on cultural instruments has taken various forms during the ongoing post-coup crackdown.

Some of such drastic actions are as follows:

– With the government’s decree law as part of the post-coup crackdown, three news agencies, 16 TV channels, 23 radio stations, 14 magazines, 29 publishing houses have reportedly been shut down over alleged ties to the Gulen movement.
-Authorities have pulled off the shelves 72 books of Aram Press, one book of Tekin Press, and one unpublished book draft of Kirmizi Kedi Press.
– Istanbul Fourth Civil Court of Peace has issued a ruling to ban the distribution of the satirical weekly LeMan’s “Special Coup Issue”. This has been accompanied by trolls disseminating LeMan’s address with threats of ransacking it.
– A famous novelist, Zulfu Livaneli has also suffered from a similar ban when the ads of his latest novel has not been allowed to be displayed in public spaces by the authorities.
– Famous writers and philosophers including Albert Camus, Baruch Spinoza, Louis Althusser, Servet Tanili, and Nazim Hikmet have become suspects in the indictments prepared against the former head of now-defunct Free Journalists Association, Nevin Erdemir and in the indictment on Gezi protests in Ankara.
– Numerous physical assaults have occurred against publishers and bookstores across the country. In Diyarbakir province, for example, a warehouse of Avesta Press has been set in an arson attempt. Many branches of NT – a Gulen movement affiliated bookstore – have been destroyed and burned.
– Reports of the United Nations and other respected human rights organizations suggest that the conditions of Turkey’s prisons have been associated with already alarming records of human rights violations. One such issue is inmates’ limited access to books. While prisons do not allow book donations from outside, the prisoners have been allowed to possess 15 books at most. Furthermore, certain books that are either affiliated with the Gulen movement or in the Kurdish language have also been blocked. The number of affected inmates is reportedly more than 200,000 – including generals, diplomats, judges, academics, journalists, doctors and other people from all walks of life.
In addition to the cases that have been stated, there are officially more than half a million cases that are subjected to such terroristic crimes as reported by the minister of interior. With the pursuit to persecute individuals who attain these books, it is presumed that most of these individuals have already removed such publications from their possessions. Subjectively, if every individual was to get rid of several books, the total number of books disposed would be in the millions. This suggests that the multitude of the assault of Erdogan’s regime on the culture of its dissident groups are far more reaching than what is reported.


Download as a PDF File: https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Erdogans-war-on-books.pdf

 

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Turkey’s Massive Crackdown on Health Care Professionals Deepened the Country’s Already Alarming Records of Human Rights Violations

Turkey’s Massive Crackdown on Health Care Professionals Deepened the Country’s Already Alarming Records of Human Rights Violations

Following the coup attempt on the 15th of July 2016, dissident groups in Turkey are facing arguably their biggest crackdown in the country’s history. The Turkish government under the authoritarian leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has taken a wave of oppressive actions against those that are perceived as critics of the regime.
The health industry is among the variety of industries that have been affected in association with those actions. Hospitals, medical schools and health clinics have been shut down. Thousands of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, scientific publishers and health authorities have been dismissed from their jobs. Many of those have been detained and/or arrested and are now serving prison sentences for baseless charges of belonging to what they call a “terrorist” group. Human rights organizations have also recently reported that arrested individuals have
been subjected to severe torture and mistreatments.
The present report of the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) provides an overview of key human rights concerns during the ongoing post-coup crackdown on Turkey’s health industry, with a focus on the affected groups including health care professionals, patients, medical students, and shuttered institutions and organizations. Some of the highlights from the report are:

● Dismissals of health care professionals: With the combined figures of those who were dismissed from the civil service and those who lost their jobs after the government shut down their institutions, the total number of health care professionals including doctors, academics, nurses, midwives, and hospital staff who were laid off has reached more than 21,000. Of those, a total of 5,261 are medical doctors and academics who specialize in the medical sciences:

-1,697 academics who worked in state-run medical schools and universities were summarily and abruptly dismissed with the government’s decree laws.
-1,684 physicians who worked for the Ministry of Health were purged.
-More than 1,200 doctors in the private sector suddenly became unemployed when the government shut down hospitals, medical centers and health clinics.
-675 academics who teach medical sciences lost their jobs after the closure of the Gülen movement-linked universities.

● Jailed health care professionals: The government has never publicized the figures of how many health care professionals have been detained, arrested or currently in prison. However, SCF’s monitoring Turkey’s media outlets suggesting the estimated figure is in the thousands.
The report provides numerous cases that portray the magnitude of how ruthless Turkish authorities have become in targeting real or perceived critics. Three selected cases from the report are:
-Mustafa Emmiler: A 47-year-old professor, who was detained on August 15 of 2016 on charges of alleged links to the Gülen movement. Dr. Emmiler is a prominent figure in cardiovascular surgery and the receiver of the “Doctor of the Year” award from the Ministry of Health in 2013.
-Haluk Savaş: a prominent 51-year-old psychiatry professor at Gaziantep University, who was arrested on September 28 of 2016 on charges of “terrorism.” He was a nominee for a parliamentary seat from the main opposition, Republican People’s Party (CHP).
-Murat Acar: the Harvard-educated Turkish professor who was extradited to Turkey on an arrest warrant issued by the Turkish government through Interpol even though he was under UN protection in Bahrain. Dr. Acar was subjected to torture and ill-treatment for 18 days after his extradition to Turkey.

● Suspicious deaths of health care professionals: Suspicious deaths in Turkey have increased during the aftermath of the coup attempt, of which most occur in Turkish jails and detention centers where torture and mistreatment are executed. In most cases, authorities declared them to be suicides without any effective, independent or through investigation. SCF has documented such cases where victims were health care professionals. Two selected cases from the report are:
-Sevgi Balcı: A 37-year old nurse who was a mother of three fired by government decree in October of 2016, committed suicide by hanging herself in Isparta province. It was reportedly due to not being reinstated to her job.
-Ali Özer: a 48-year-old doctor who was jailed on charges of his suspected links to the Gülen movement, died allegedly due to heart attack in Çorum Prison on March 23 of 2017.

● Turkish health care professionals in exile: The rising authoritarianism in Turkey has enforced health care professionals to escape the country, sometimes even through illegal migrant routes. However, they still face endangerment in their new homes as they take on new challenges such as having a difficult time finding jobs and securing recognition of their medical licenses. Advocators of Erdogan harass individuals in which they receive threats from Turkish government proxies. Exiled doctors have reported that they are fearful of their families in Turkey who might face persecution because of their beliefs.

● Shuttered hospital, medical centers, pharmacies, charities:
-In 2016, the Turkish government has shut down 14 hospitals and 36 medical centers on the pretext of alleged ties to the Gülen movement. They were issued by simple decree-laws without any administrative or judicial probes.
-On a similar pretext, 400 pharmacies across Turkey renounced access to the electronic prescription system of the Social Security Institution (SGK), an act meant to force these pharmacies to go bankrupt overnight. In addition to that, nearly 1500 pharmacies are under investigation as the media outlets in Turkey recently reported.
-A UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) partnered charity organization, Kimse Yok Mu has similarly been shut down in 2016. The charity organization had been active for many years and delivered emergency relief in disaster zones, provided health care services and helped rebuilding infrastructure in various communities across 113 countries.

● Patients: Patients were left in distraught as multiple medical centers and hospitals were shut down. As before, given the shortage of hospitals and staff members, many patients are unable to receive medical help. This forced some patients to seek medical treatments in other provinces. On the other hand, the Turkish government deliberately violates adequate access to health care and medical treatments to those prisoned patients. The situation aggregated for those in solitary confinement as opposed to the European Prison Rules. The report provides numerous cases for patients in detention facilities and prisons. Four of those cases from the report are:
-Gökhan Açıkkollu: A 42-year-old history teacher with type 1 Diabetes was detained on July 24 of 2016 and held in police custody for 13 days before he fell ill. He was questioned allegedly under torture and abuse until he developed health problems again and was taken back to the hospital only to be pronounced dead.
-Yavuz Bölek: A 49-year-old police officer, father of three was arrested on August 25 of 2016 despite being in a critical stage of colon cancer. Bölek continues to be kept in prison given his severe health circumstances backed by the medical reports.
-Tuğba Yıldız: A mother of three was detained on January 15, 2017, in Tekirdağ province. During 24-day long police detention, she had been tortured and mistreated before she eventually developed symptoms of a psychological disorder to the extent of losing her sanity, as revealed by the doctor reports. And yet the court ruled for the arrest of Yıldız and sent her to prison, where she has been incarcerated ever since.
-Nurhayat Yıldız: This 14-week-old-pregnant woman had been imprisoned with her alleged ties to the Gülen movement. After reviewing her medical reports, her plead to be released had been denied. She was kept in a crowded cell with 24 inmates where she suffered a miscarriage on October 6 of 2016. After receiving two days of hospital treatments, she was thrown back in jail. Yıldız’s situation portrays one of the many cases where inhuman treatments executed toward pregnant women who are forced to be in jail both during their pregnancy and immediately after giving birth.

● Medical students: Following the failed coup attempt, medical students have also been negatively impacted. Many students who are enrolled in the medical schools that have been shut down, were forced to partake in other universities across Turkey. There are cases where medical students have been subjected to persecution or even imprisonment of alleged ties to the Gülen movement. Details following such situations are provided within the report.

RESOURCE:
Stockholm Center of Freedom


Download as a PDF File: https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Turkeys_massive_crackdown_on_health_care-1.pdf

 

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Massive Erosion of Women’s Rights in Turkey

Massive Erosion of Women’s Rights in Turkey

The Turkish government’s oppressive regime relentlessly continues despite all the efforts by the international community. Since 2013, the government has been targeting anti-government groups, mainly the Hizmet Movement, and the situation got worse after the so-called coup attempt in July 15, 2016. The government has no mercy in that even members of vulnerable groups such as women and children are jailed over baseless claims. This document briefly describes the current women’s rights issues in Turkey aiming to provide an overview of the current crisis.

Especially after the attempted coup, the government has been taking dissidents collectively into custody, and then sending them to jail with no solid proof. In some cases, women are arrested and tortured in place of their male family members such as their fathers or husbands. Because of their special needs, women constitute one of the groups that suffer the most from this oppression. Prison overcrowding is another serious problem. Inmates often sleep on the floor or by taking turns. Therefore, it is difficult to claim that prison conditions are suitable for women. Turkey has only a few prisons specifically designed for women, meaning that most female detainees stay in prisons built for men. According to the latest CEDAW report, there are many allegations of sexual harassment and violence amounting to torture and ill treatment in prisons and these claims are not investigated properly. Women in prisons face various types of harassment, for instance, in many prisons, unnecessary and excessively intrusive strip searches are conducted by male personnel, and security cameras placed in rooms–including those in bathrooms–are monitored by male guardians. Detainees have only limited access to personal care and hygiene products, which are often at risk of confiscation during ward searches. Female detainees are trying to make themselves heard by sending out letters, however, these letters do not appear in Turkish press as a result of censorship.

Incarceration during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth is another issue that needs immediate attention. There are many instances where security officials wait at the door of hospital rooms once they are notified of the patients’ registration to the hospital. Patients’ medical conditions are not monitored and they are deprived of essential medication and dietary supplements. Mothers are not allowed to nurse their babies during custody and once they are arrested, their infant babies are also sent to jail. Currently, there are more than 700 children under the age of 6 (including infants) living in prisons.

Violence against women is still an issue despite Turkey’s supposed commitment to end it. As the CEDAW report indicates, relevant laws do not criminalize domestic violence and propose no procedures to prosecute offenders. Because of insufficient protection, many women have either been murdered or sexually harassed and perpetrators are not afraid of prosecution. Honor killings continue to be committed as well, even within well-educated families. More than 100 women have been victims of honor killings since 2010.

Education is another serious problem of Turkish women. The rate of literacy is quite low compared to men (illiteracy is more than five times more prevalent in women than in men), because most families, especially in the east and south-east, do not allow their girls to go to school, but instead force them to marry under the age of 18. For university-educated women, on the other hand, the main problem is the alarming levels of gender inequality at work. Turkey ranks 131st among 144 countries in terms of gender equality.

We briefly touched upon a few of the problems faced by women in Turkey. Many human rights reports have extensively explored the aforementioned problems and others. As the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we urge every individual and authority to be aware of the worrisome situation of women in Turkey and take necessary steps urgently.


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Erdogan’s Long Arms Abroad and Recommendations to Governments

Is Turkey Turning into a Mafia State?

Evidence from Sudan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Georgia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Kosovo, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Mongolia Day by day, Erdogan and his oppressive government are extending their long arms to different countries around the world via the government institutions, intelligence agencies, and affiliated NGOs to expand their witch hunt against the Gulen Movement (aka Hizmet, which means Service in English)-affiliated people. Among their unlawful activities away from Turkey are intensified spying, intelligence gathering and profiling of critics that at times has led to harassment, intimidation and hate crimes. Although a majority of the countries do not pay attention to the unlawful requests of this oppressive leadership, there are some developing countries feel obligated to cooperate with Turkish agencies as they violate significant human rights, fundamental freedoms, and customary international laws.

To name a few, some officers within Sudan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Georgia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Kosovo, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine did not hesitate to operate the abductions and deportations of Gulen Movement-affiliated teachers, businessmen, journalists, academicians, and doctors, as well as their family members in some cases. These countries not only violated the UNHCR protection but also international human rights laws and customary international laws. The details of these unlawful abductions and deportations were revealed in a brief report recently released by the Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST). According to the Human Rights Watch, US Report of Religious Freedom, Amnesty International and several international human rights agencies, alleged supporters of the Gulen Movement in Turkey have been subjected to property seizures, arrests, detainments, imprisonments, as well as tortures such as use of stress positions, denial of food and water, detention in unsanitary conditions, in addition to beatings and rapes.

Gulen Movement is a global volunteer movement that focuses on science education, volunteerism, community involvement, social work and interfaith and intercultural dialogue. Graham Fuller, an expert of the region and vice chair of CIA Intelligence Council, wrote an expert opinion just after the coup attempt entitled “The Gulen Movement Is Not a Cult – It’s One of the Most Encouraging Faces of Islam Today”.

The President of Turkey, Erdogan, falsely accused the movement of masterminding the coup d’état attempt on July 15th, 2016 and declared the movement as an armed terrorist organization, so-called Fetullahist Terrorist Organization – FETO. Following the staged coup attempt, a significant purge was initiated by the Turkish government and more than 170.000 people were persecuted without any concrete evidence.

However, Erdogan was not satisfied with purging the supporters of Gulen movement in Turkey and expanded its witch hunt against critics to numerous countries in the world with unlawful ways such as bribery, threats, and economic oppressions. Turkish embassies and government agencies including the intelligence services and nongovernmental organizations affiliated with the Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government have been involved in the profiling and harassment of the movement’s members in varying degree, scope and intensity.

This persecution abroad is personally approved by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who stated that no country in the world will be safe for members of the Gulen Movement, claimed they do not have the right to life and vowed to pursue them wherever they are. His propagandists have even suggested assassinating and abducting critics abroad and have put a bounty on their heads.

The report of AST not only covers the unlawful abductions and deportations but also remind foreign security officers the risks Gulen Movement-affiliated people may face, offer recommendations and point out important points that countries should pay attention to resist possible attempts of the Turkish Government. They request that governments take necessary legal, administrative and practical measures are to ensure the protection of individuals who might be at risk and subject to possible abduction, enforced disappearance, and extrajudicial killings. They make a call on to take counter-measures including legal and other steps to prevent such blatant interference by the Turkish government in their country’s internal affairs and to protect their residents and asylum-seekers from the long arm of Erdogan.


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Turkey’s New Normal: Torture and Ill-Treatment

Turkey, after the failed coup attempt has been a tumultuous ground for human rights. Many subtopics of human rights violations were brought into the spotlight especially after the declaration of the state of emergency. Perhaps some of the most important derivatives of such violations are torture and maltreatment. Although a state of emergency can help condense and concentrate efforts to bring perpetrators into justice it does not grant the government a blank check to suspend human rights. Even though a delicate matter like suspect and prisoner rights can never be dispensable, Turkey is currently infamous for infringing plenty of them from a global standpoint.

Since the coup attempt in 2016 a hefty sum of 160,00 people were detained 152,000 of which were state officials varying from teachers to lawyers. According to the government’s statement a majority of these detainees were associated with the Gulen movement. Since 2016 an overwhelming 7,907 cases of human rights violations occurred among these were 2,278 victims of torture and within that number 423 of them occurred under police detention. Methods of torture included but were not limited to thumps, electrical chairs, and sexual assault threats (particularly women). In addition, 48 extralegal killings were reported which were deemed tolerable under “troubling” provisions vaguely stated in emergency decree 667.

Besides the aforementioned brutishness, safeguards available to any prisoner were denied by the detainers. Among those violated safeguards were reasonable detention and legal review arrangements, access to medical reports, right to choose a lawyer, and last but not least monitoring the places of detention. Considering the absence of these safeguards combined with the turmoil within cells detainees came to be more vulnerable to mental and physical abuse.

Numerous examples of each different method of torture can be exemplified, whether that is a teacher beaten to death and his autopsy altered (teacher Acikkolu), or a woman tortured remorselessly in front of her husband (Asli S.). The defiling of basic detainee rights is not only tarnishing Turkey’s reputation in the world stage yet it is also obliviously and gradually driving the Turkish government to a dead end.


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Academics at Risk in Turkey

The coup attempt on July 15, 2016 stands as the most ruinous mark to the legal and political grounds of the Turkish Republic and continues to do so. Due to the coup attempt many people have been stripped from their ebullience, charged with allegations in abetting the coup and serving as members of a terrorist group, been unlawfully released from their jobs or incarcerated under the articles specified by the state of emergency period. Hence after the declaration of the state of emergency laws, a “legal” basis for unlawful prosecution and illegitimate actions was formed.

Academics in Turkey after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt stands as certainly one of the most severely affected branches of civil structure if not the most. On July 23, 2016 2 days after the emergency decree-laws were established the state ordered the closure of 15 universities displacing over 60,000 students and rendering 2,808 academicians jobless according to the State of Turkish Higher Education’s report. The data published by the same report displayed an immense 8,535 academicians released from duty by December 2017 virtually quadrupling the July 2016 figure. As stated by another report compiled by BBC Turkey at least 23,427 academicians lost their jobs either due to direct dismissals or reasons pertaining to university closures.

In reality January 2016, 6 months Prior to the coup attempt, marks the inception of the witch-hunt against academicians following the “Academics for Peace” petition. The respective petition, signed by 1,128 education personnel, left the signatories with very severe and exasperating upshots ranging from criminal prosecutions, dismissals and detentions to travel restrictions. The most up-to-date consolidated numbers exhibit more than 9,200 higher education personnel subject to direct targeting alongside over 60,000 scholars, administrators, and students affected materially or incurring tangible losses ascribed to government and institutional actions.

Perhaps the pinnacle of the maltreatment of academicians did not take place during the process of prosecutions but after imprisonment. Dr. Ahmet Turan Ozcelik no doubt is an exemplar of this persecution. Dr Ozcelik was confined in Balikesir Bandirma prison for 14 months after a 21 day psychological torture inflicted prior to his transfer. During his imprisonment he developed colon cancer, notwithstanding his health issued he was denied preventive treatment. After rigorous efforts he was released, yet soon after following his release he passed away from colon cancer.


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The Challenges of Erdogan’s Turkey

1- Erdogan Has Established Himself as an Opponent of Human Rights and An Authoritarian Hunger for Power.

• Campaigned as reformer, once in office he has resorted to totalitarian tactics.
• Erdogan arrests political opponents, jails journalists, writers, judges, academics – 130,000 citizens.
https://news.vice.com/story/erdogan-is-still-arresting-his-opponents-in-massive-purge-that-has-surpassed-113000-people
• NYT: “Turkey has become like an open-air prison”.
http://nyti.ms/2nGAzrO
• Erdogan justifies his totalitarian actions by blaming Hizmet and moderate Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. International human rights organizations denounce this action as subterfuge.
https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2016/country-chapters/turkey
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2016/06/257880.htm
• Fethullah Gulen is a pacifist who calls for the education of women, interfaith dialogue and opposes the Muslim extremist “cancer.” World leaders are depending upon moderate Muslim reformers like Gulen for stability in the Middle East.
http://www.politico.eu/article/muslims-unique-responsibility-in-fighting-terror-london-attack-fethullah-gulen/
• Erdogan detained Amnesty International Turkish Chairman and director at the same time with more than 10 human rights defenders.
https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2017/06/271631.htm
• During 2017 U.S. visit, Erdogan’s personal bodyguards beat protestors, causing Congressional condemnation by a vote of 397-0. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/07/turkey-rejects-resolution-condemning-bodyguards-attacks-on-protesters.html
• According to CPJ, Turkey has the highest scored jailed journalist in the world.
https://cpj.org/europe/turkey/
• 2017 World Press Freedom Index by Reporters without Borders: Turkey 155/180 in the world rankings and behind even Russia and Ethiopia.
https://rsf.org/en/ranking
• RULE OF LAW: ABA Report American Bar Association (ABA) condemns mass detentions and arrests of Turkish legal community by passing the Resolution 10B against Turkey.
https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/abanews/2016%20Annual%20Resolutions/10b.pdf
• INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION OF JURISTS: Turkey: the Judicial System in Peril by International Commission of Jurists (ICJ).
https://www.icj.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Turkey-Judiciary-in-Peril-Publications-Re-ports-Fact-Findings-Mission-Reports-2016-ENG.pdf

2- The Botched Failed Coup Attempt.

• UK Parliament: No evidence Gulen behind coup.
http://buff.ly/2njjlO9
• German spy agency chief: Gulen not behind Turkish coup attempt.
http://reut.rs/2mVUWxM
• U.S. House Intel Chair Nunes: “Hard to believe Gulen is behind Turkish coup”.
http://theglobepost.com/2017/03/19/us-house-intel-chair-says-hard-to-believe-gulen-behind-turkey-coup/
• Stockholm Center for freedom released 191 pages “July 15 Erdogan’s coup” Report about the botched failed coup attempt.
https://stockholmcf.org/report/
• AFSV Video documentary “ Was July 15 Turkey’s Reichstag Fire”.
https://youtu.be/6QvF6TMxs1U
• WHAT REALLY HAPPENED IN TURKEY ON JULY 15, 2016?
http://afsv.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/White-Paper-on-July-15-failed-coup-attempt.pdf
• Why did Erdoğan ask Parliamentary Probe Commission to terminate its mission on coup attempt? By Journalist Yavuz Baydar.
https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/13543936

3- Torture as a Grave Human Right Violation.

• Human Rights Watch release a detailed report about torture and abductions after July 15.
https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/10/12/custody/police-torture-and-abductions-turkey
• Amnesty International Torture Report for Turkey.
https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/europe-and-central-asia/turkey/report-turkey/
• JWF Torture report to UN.
http://jwf.org/reports/
• The anti-torture struggle in Turkey was important. But torture is like a contagious disease. Once it starts it will spread. It is painful to see the reversal taking place now.
https://www.hrw.org/report/2016/10/24/blank-check/turkeys-post-coup-suspension-safeguards-against-torture
• Stockholm Center for Freedom “Mass Torture and ill Treatment” Report.
https://stockholmcf.org/report/
• National Interest: Turkey has a Hitler problem.
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/turkeys-erdogen-has-hitler-problem-14809
• Mass torture in Turkey under the spell of religious zealotry.
http://stockholmcf.org/mass-torture-in-turkey-under-the-spell-of-nationalism-and-religious-zealotry/
http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/26/europe/erdogan-security-germany-g20/index.html

4- Erdoğan’s Allies.

• Qatar — Biggest supporter of Hamas terrorists. While other Muslim nations broke relations with Qatar, Erdogan moved 5k troops to Qatar.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/25/erdogan-rejects-saudi-demand-to-pull-turkish-troops-out-of-qatar
• Iran – Erdogan linked to suspect helping Iran avoid terms of sanctions agreement.
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/a-mysterious-case-involving-turkey-iran-and-rudy-giuliani
• NATO Purge and Alliance with Euroasianists.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/07/13/turkeys-post-coup-purge-and-erdogans-private-army-sadat-perincek-gulen/
• Human Rights Watch release a detailed report about torture and abductions after July 15.
https://www.hrw.org/report/2017/10/12/custody/police-torture-and-abductions-turkey
• Russia.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/annaborshchevskaya/2017/01/27/is-erdogan-a-russian-ally-or-putins-puppet/#1d831a4d1596
• Radical Islamists, ISIS and Hamas.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-l-phillips/research-paper-turkey-isi_b_8808024.html
http://www.newsweek.com/2014/09/19/exclusive-how-istanbul-became-recruiting-ground-islamic-state-269247.html
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/06/world/meast/mideast-hamas-support/index.html

5- The long Arm of Erdoğan.

• Global Spying: German Justice Minister called out Erdogan’s global spying network
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/28/world/europe/germany-turkey-erdogan-spying.html • Illegal Kidnappings and Abductions by Erdoğan through bilateral interests of the countries like in Malaysia and Pakistan.
• Embassies and Consulates:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/turkey-spies-on-suspected-guelen-supporters-around-the-world-a-1141367.html
https://stockholmcf.org/der-spiegel-turkish-embassies-pursuing-erdogan-critics-in-35-countries/
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-spying-germany-europe-austria-35-countries-erdogan-coup-fethullah-gulen-diyanet-a7662096.html
• Mosques:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/magazine/reading-erdogans-ambitions-in-turkeys-new-mosques.html
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/turkey-erdogan-uses-mosques-to-win-referendum.html
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-l-phillips/turkeys-islamist-agenda-i_b_8891634.html
• Erdogan uses nine U.S. non-profits and has engaged 20 DC lobbying firms, and millions of dollars to spin his message.

6- International Abductions and Kidnappings.

• International Federation for Human Rights Letter on abductions in Pakistan.
https://www.fidh.org/en/region/asia/pakistan/letter-to-the-government-concerning-the-forcible-repatriation-of-289
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/a-turkish-family-has-disappeared-in-pakistan-and-suspicion-turns-to-intelligence-agencies/2017/10/11/aa8c0d80-a480-11e7-b573-8ec86cdfe1ed_story.html?utm_term=.53530d62e2f9
• Abductions in Malaysia:
http://www.theglobepost.com/2017/05/02/two-turks-kidnapped-in-malaysia-families-fear-of-extradition/
https://stockholmcf.org/eu-calls-on-turkey-to-investigate-abduction-cases-targeting-gulen-movement/
https://www.wsj.com/articles/ex-cia-director-mike-flynn-and-turkish-officials-discussed-removal-of-erdogan-foe-from-u-s-1490380426

7- The Danger to America and its interest.

• Germany has withdrawn its troops from Turkish base and relocated them to Jordan.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/germany-withdraw-soldiers-turkey-refused-visit-angela-merkel-nato-a7736686.html
• Erdogan’s radicalization of Turkey is transforming U.S.’ strongest Muslim NATO ally into a cooperative partner to those nations that pose the greatest threats to U.S. security.
http://www.weeklystandard.com/its-time-for-nato-to-call-turkeys-bluff/article/2008198
http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/03/29/the-dictatorship-in-natos-clubhouse-erdogan-kurds-turkey/
• The future of Turkey is at risk.
https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/turkey/2017-07-07/how-erdoganism-killing-turkish-democracy?cid=nlc-fa_fatoday-20170707
• Article by Steven Cook at Foreign Affairs about ‘ The American Alliance with Turkey was built on myth’.
http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/10/12/the-american-alliance-with-turkey-was-built-on-a-myth/amp/
• Kurdish Issue:
http://alonben-meir.com/writing/kurds-erdogans-tyrannical-governance/
• Afghanistan Issue and nuclear deal
• Anti Americanism in Turkey.
• Radicalism in Turkey, helping ISIS, and Imam Hatip Schools.

8- Erdoğan’s Dark Political Hostage Strategy.

•‘Hostages’ in Erdogan’s new Turkey.
http://www.politico.eu/article/turkey-erdogan-hostages/
• American Andrew Brunson has been improperly held (since Oct 2016) and accused of belonging to a “terrorist organization.” His crime? He’s been an evangelical pastor in Turkey for 23 years.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/17/politics/trump-erdogan-white-house-meeting-andrew-brunson/index.html

9- Religious and ethnic minorities.

10- International Responses.

• UN urged Turkey to release all jailed journalists, writers, judges, academics
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3949456/UN-official-calls-Turkey-release-journalists-jail.html
• UN Human Rights Commissioner complained over Turkey’s prevention of investigating human rights violations
http://bit.ly/UNHRC_urged_to_act_on_Turkey
• NATO chief warned Turkey to show “full respect” for rule of law
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/nato-chief-says-turkey-must-show-full-respect-for-rule-of-law-.aspx?pageID=238&nID=112483&NewsCatID=359
• Germany: Will not deport Turkish soldiers who’ve defected
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170511-germany-grants-asylum-to-escaped-turkish-soldiers/
• UK acknowledges Gulen movement asylum seekers
https://www.turkishminute.com/2017/04/09/uk-acknowledges-gulen-movement-asylum-seekers/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3721483/Sweden-wont-return-people-linked-failed-Turkey-coup.html
• American Bar Association’ s (ABA) resolution about their concerns on the rule of law in Turkey.
https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/images/abanews/2016%20Annual%20Resolutions/10b.pdf
• US commission on international religious freedom. 2016 religious freedom report.
http://www.uscirf.gov/countries/turkey

11- Zarrab Case.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/former-turkish-minister-economy-former-general-manager-turkish-government-owned-bank
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-man-at-the-crux-the-of-us-turkey-dispute-is-about-to-go-on-trial/2017/10/12/92c4c7a2-af96-11e7-be94-fabb0f1e9ffb_story.html?utm_term=.ff822d5748ec
• Why a New York Court Case has rattled Turkey’s President.
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/10/14/world/europe/turkey-new-york-case.html?referer=https://www.google.com/

12- What Can Be Done?

Turkey’s unique and historic role as a moderate Muslim nation and its longtime cooperation as a key NATO ally present challenges for policymakers who seek to hold Erdogan accountable for his atrocities. However, policymakers can:

• Deny U.S. Visas to Erdogan’s officials and Pro-ERDOGAN Businessman and especially who have engaged in torture and corruption.
• Compel Erdogan to release political prisoners and journalists.
• Grant political refugee status to those he persecutes in Turkey.
• Speak out against Erdogan’s attempts to close schools in foreign nations and stop illegally extraditing and kidnapping Turkish citizens who live abroad.
• Demand Turkey to release foreigners as hostages (priest Andrew, NASA scientist, US embassy’s workers, etc).
• Pressure UNHCR to give refugee status to Turkish citizens purged and prosecuted by Erdogan’s government using State of Emergency and decree laws as a base.
• Prevent TURKISH intelligence to make operations to abduct and get TURKISH citizens deported to Turkey.
• Release mothers/women (17,000) and kids (668) in prison with parole/conditional release.
• Provide Turkish newborns of Turkish citizens abroad with a travel document.


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