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Democracy & Good Governance

European Parliament Adopts Draft Report on Turkey focused on Human Rights Violations and Call on Suspending Accession Talks

The European Parliament has adopted the draft report on Turkey, that underpins corruption, human rights violations, shut-down of 160 media organizations, violation of rights defenders’ rights, concerns about setbacks in freedom of expression, unjustifiable detention of 150,000 and arrest of 78,000 people, dismissal of more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors and arrest of 570 lawyers. The report expresses concerns that Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs has been used in Europe by the Turkish intelligence services to put pressure on the opposition, particularly on members of the Gulen movement, a religious group blamed by the government for orchestrating the coup attempt. The report also criticizes the actions of the Turkish government against Turkish nationals in third countries, including harassment and kidnappings. While repeating an assertion that human rights and the rule of law have deteriorated in the country, the latest EP report also mentions other problems.
The resolution calls the formal suspension of EU accession talks with Turkey and mentions that a peaceful solution must be found for the rights violations in Turkey. The European Parliament General Assembly will vote on the draft report in the sessions between March 11 and 14. The Parliament’s decisions are advisory and non-binding. The Turkish foreign Ministry on Thursday said the decision of the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament (EP) advising formal suspension of accession negotiations between Turkey and the European Union was absolutely unacceptable.

Resources:
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-02-21/turkey-faces-crucial-vote-on-eu-accessio n-before-local-ballot
http://m.bianet.org/english/politics/205700-european-parliament-adopts-draft-report-on-turkey
https://ahvalnews.com/eu-turkey/turkey-slams-eu-parliaments-call-suspending-accession-talks
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-eu-idUSKCN1QA0MJ
https://www.theweek.co.uk/99755/end-of-the-road-for-turkey-s-eu-dreams

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Purge of Thousands of Health Care Professionals and Doctor Umut

The Ministry of Health has announced that more than 7,500 health care professionals including many physicians have been dismissed within the scope of a mass purge of government employees from their jobs. The purge has resulted in devastating consequences for dismissed physicians as they face hardship in finding a new position after being demonized by the government and their names plastered all over the media. Amnesty International called the mass dismissal of Turkish public sector workers a “professional annihilation” that has a catastrophic impact on their lives and livelihoods.

However, research carried out by the Stockholm
Center for Freedom (SCF) shows that over 21,000 health care professionals
including doctors, medical professors, nurses, technicians and hospital staff have
thus far been dismissed from public and private hospitals as well as medical schools and associations.

Doctor Umut’s story shed light on the devastating consequences of those political purges by Erdogan’s regime.

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Turkish court dismisses the case of 70 year old male only after his death

Turkish court dismisses the case of 70 year old male only after his death

Ibrahim Akbaba dies of heart attack at the age of 70 a day after complications resulted from torturous 2 day trip for his trial. Despite Mr. Akbaba’s sever health condition due to his Open Heart surgery and diabetes, he was summoned to appear in court having to travel from Mardin to Edirne on a 2 day trip.

The MP Ebru Gunay of People’s Democratic Party of Turkey brought up in the Turkish Parliament the fact that Mr. Akbaba was not given any medical attention despite his sever health condition leaving him with unable to take his prescribed medications. According to Ibrahim Akbaba’s son Şehmuz Akbaba who is also imprisoned in another penitentiary, the court would not have dismissed the case if it wasn’t for his father’s sudden death. It appears Ibrahim Akbaba dismissed himself out of bureaucratic yet inhumane Turkish justice system with his death.

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/367729/hasta-tutuklu-ibrahim-akbabaya-yol-eziyeti

http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/meclis-gundemine-tasindi-ihd-cagri-yapti-mahkeme-oldukten-sonra-tahliye-karari-verdi,785622

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Turkey May Face Sanctions After EU Court Decision Regarding Jailed Kurdish Politician.

European Court Slams Erdogan Administration For Imprisonment of Kurdish Politician

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) called on Turkey to release Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chairman of pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP), who has been imprisoned for two years and sharply criticized his ongoing imprisonment.

In an unusually blunt statement, the ECtHR portrayed Demirtas’s continuing imprisonment as politically motivated. While the court said Demirtas had been arrested on “reasonable suspicion,” the extensions of his detention lacks plausible justification.

In November 2016, Demirtas, along with other HDP Co-Chair Figen Yuksekdag, have been arrested on the charges of having links to outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

He faces dozens of years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors particularly charge him with instigating the violent anti-government protests in October 2014 when HDP supporters took into streets to protest the Erdogan government’s indifference to Islamic State (ISIS) onslaught on the Syrian border town of Kobani.

More than 40 people had been killed during Kobani protests across Turkey. Demirtas vehemently denies any role for the outbreak of violence. His imprisonment came when the Turkish government unleashed a massive crackdown on opponents in different quarters of the political spectrum, arresting tens of thousands of people, including HDP lawmakers and supporters.

Unlike its verdict and judgment on previous applications from Turkey regarding detention of journalists, the ECtHR invoked the 18th article of European Human Rights Convention in its recent decision, setting the stage for a potential diplomatic showdown.

The 18th article appears as binding for the countries against which the verdict was delivered. But President Recep Tayyip Erdogan outright dismissed ECtHR call for the release of Demirtas.

“[The extensions of detention] had pursued the predominant ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate, which was at the very core of the concept of a democratic society,” the top human rights court said in its statement.

“The Court therefore held, unanimously, that the respondent state was to take all necessary measures to put an end to the applicant’s pre-trial detention,” the court added, pressing Turkey to act swiftly.

In its articulation of the reasoning, the ECtHR referred to the “tense political climate” in Turkey, an element that “created an environment capable of influencing certain decisions by the national courts.”

If Turkey refuses to comply with the recent verdict, it would have grave ramifications for Turkey’s relations with the Council of Europe. Ankara may face sanctions in the case of non-compliance and even lose its membership in the Council of Europe, as the 18th article requires for the failing respondent states.

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Imprisonment of Academics Sparks Public Backlash

In a new round of crackdown, Istanbul police units have detained a number of academics linked with philanthropist Osman Kavala, who has been in prison for nearly a year, sparking criticism and condemnation from large segments of society, including leading business organization TUSIAD.

The new wave of arrests took place as part of Istanbul police’s efforts to dismantle Kavala-affiliated NGO Anadolu Kultur. Law Professor Turgut Tarhanli and Professor Betul Tanbay are among the detained.

“It is very sad to begin the day with the news of detention of many academics at a time when we were talking the return of scientists to the country. We owe the productivity of the lands in which we live to our culture that has become a shelter of science for centuries. We cannot progress by denying this!” Erol Bilecik, the head of the Turkish Industry and Business People’s Association (TUSIAD) wrote on Twitter, expressing his dismay.

Kavala, a secular and pro-Western activist, was imprisoned last year. Despite calls from the international community, the Turkish authorities did not allow his release.

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Kurdish Politician Says Erdogan Behind Latest Crackdown

Co-Chair of pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) pointed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as someone who pulled the strings behind a massive crackdown that targeted more than a 100 politicians and journalists in the latest wave last week.

In simultaneous raids, the Turkish police raided offices and houses of tens of politicians linked with HDP and a group of journalists in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir and other cities. The clampdown has aroused international and national criticism.

Sezai Temelli accused Erdogan of giving the order for the latest move that inflicted a new blow to the party already bleeding in the face of incessant waves of the crackdown. Former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag were imprisoned in late 2016 and are still in jail over terrorism charges. Thousands of party members have been jailed over similar charges.

This week saw another phase. The Turkish government has already taken over the administrations of more than 100 Kurdish-run municipalities. The president has repeatedly shown no signs of backing down and signaled a further escalation of crackdown amid armed clashes between Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish security forces.

A fragile truce between the PKK and the Turkish military collapsed in 2015 and renewed urban fighting gave Erdogan additional tools and excuse to crack down on the Kurdish political party which he portrays as the political wing of the armed militants.

The HDP rejects such blanket definitions and refuses association with PKK, which has been fighting the Turkish state since the early 1980s to carve out an autonomous zone for self-governance in southeastern Turkey.

A round of peace negotiations in 2015 came to an abrupt end when Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in Parliament in June 7 elections. When Demirtas cruised HDP to Parliament after an upsetting electoral victory that denied AKP the chance to form another single-party government. HDP’s unexpected triumph appeared to be a turning point after the president altered his policy course regarding the Kurdish conflict and adopted a security-first approach to resolving the decades-old issue.

The military solution, although tried during countless different governments over the past four decades, has ultimately proved to be elusive and untenable. The latest bout of violence reduced cities to rubble in many parts of southeastern Turkey, leading to the displacement of nearly half a million people. Both Human Rights Watch and the United Nations well documented the scale of devastation that swept the entire region, revealing the scope of its social and economic cost in fullest form.

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Groom detained for ‘insulting’ Erdoğan, bride performs ceremony alone

A groom named Rahat Akbaba was detained for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on henna night, a customary celebration before a wedding, in Turkey’s Diyarbakır province, causing the wedding ceremony to be held with just the bride, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

According to the report, Akbaba’s car was stopped on April 5 by counterterrorism units on his way from the hairdresser to the henna night party with his bride, Sara Başak. Akbaba was taken to a courthouse and later to Diyarbakır Prison after he was informed that a sentence of three years, nine months in prison for insulting President Erdoğan had been approved by an appeals court.

But their families held the henna celebration and later the wedding ceremony on April 6 as previously planned. Başak performed all the rituals alone.

“They could not tolerate our happiest day. They made the arrest intentionally on henna night. During our talk at the courthouse, he [Akbaba] wanted us to hold the wedding ceremony. We did so out of spite,” said bride.

Twenty-seven social media messages that Akbaba has posted on social media since 2012 were judged to be insults to President Erdoğan by the court.

Source:
https://turkeypurge.com/gloom-detained-for-insulting-erdogan-bride-performs-ceremony-alone

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Interpol shelves Turkish government’s arrest requests over baseless terrorism charges

The International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has put on hold almost 50 requests from the Turkish government to arrest people wanted by Ankara on baseless terrorism charges, the pro-government Sabah daily reported on Friday.

The requests by the Turkish government are political in nature, Interpol has ruled, according to the Erdoğanist daily.

Turkey is seeking the arrest and extradition of alleged “senior terrorist leaders” including Salih Muslim, the former co-leader of a Kurdish political group in Syria, and Adil Öksüz, a senior member of FETÖ, Sabah reported.

The paper also claimed that Interpol previously displayed its stance against the Turkish government by reportedly deleting a list of 72,000 alleged members of the Gülen movement. The list was uploaded by the Turkish police on August 2, 2016, right after a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The Turkish government’s blatant abuse of Interpol to persecute, harass and intimidate critics and opponents is much worse than one can imagine, research by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) revealed on September 20, 2017.

The dubious and false charges filed by Turkey through Interpol to hunt down legitimate critics of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have in some cases succeeded in the extradition of people from abroad, subjecting returnees to torture and ill treatment in notorious Turkish prisons. In other cases, people were stranded in third countries while travelling and were forced to fight the forcible return as they remained in detention facilities.

The Turkish government also revoked the travel documents and passports of many Turks without informing them and filed missing and lost reports with Interpol on their behalf when in fact no such request was made by the passport holders. Erdoğan has also pursued his witch-hunt against foreign companies that traded with almost 1,000 Turkish companies which were unlawfully seized and nationalized by the government on fabricated terrorism charges. Interpol mechanisms were used to gather information on foreign partners on absurd charges of terrorism, which sparked diplomatic crises with other countries.

Source:
https://stockholmcf.org/interpol-shelves-turkish-governments-arrest-requests-over-baseless-terrorism-charges/

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Detention warrants issued for 300 teachers in a month in Turkey’s capital of Ankara

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants in the past month for 300 teachers who worked in schools owned by people close to the Gülen movement, the tr724 news website reported.

The schools were closed and the teachers dismissed by the government as part of a witch-hunt launched after a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman, who runs the operation targeting the Gülen movement, was the prosecutor at Pınarhisar Prison when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was jailed there for four months in 1999.

On Nov. 15, 2017 Kocaman refused to comply with a ruling from the court of cassation which said that being sympathetic to or following publications of the Gülen movement is not sufficient to declare a person a member of the movement, which was designated as a terrorist organization by President Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.

Source:
https://stockholmcf.org/detention-warrants-issued-for-300-teachers-in-a-month-in-turkeys-capital-of-ankara/

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