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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

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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

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info@silencedturkey.org

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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

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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

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info@silencedturkey.org

 

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

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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

 

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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

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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

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

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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

 

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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

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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/

 

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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.

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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.

 

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So-Called Coup Attempt, July 15th

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THE SO-CALLED COUP

THAT SERVES AS A JUSTIFICATION FOR THE COMPLETE CONVERSION OF

A COUNTRY’S ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM

AS WELL AS A JUSTIFICATION FOR THE VICTIMIZATION OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS

  1. The date of July 15, 2016, has become, without a doubt, one of the most significant turning points in the history of the Republic of Turkey and thus calls for extensive discourse and deliberation. July 15 is truly such a bizarre incident, one that has been personally described by the alleged July 15 victim (!) President and General Director of the Justice and Development (AK) Party, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as being a “blessing from God”; one bizarre incident that has been used as justification—by way of taking  advantage of the atmosphere of coup and terror—to establish a one-man regime by seizing control of all democratic institutions including the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the government, and the judicial system; one truly bizarre incident of which the clearing of speculations surrounding it has been hindered by its “victim” (!) himself. Despite the fact that many questions wait to be answered surrounding this ominous incident that has cost hundreds of thousands of people their homes and their jobs, tens of thousands of people their freedom and hundreds of people their very lives, an incident that has been used as a justification to completely transform the administrative system of an entire country, the beginning of a period of oppression and tyranny that has continued for years on end, and the fact that these sought out answers continue to be covered up persistently, this project has been put together and presented for your consideration, bearing the thoughts that finding and presenting the contradictions and oddities that have surfaced will be beneficial in both understanding the truth behind July 15 as well as recording it as history. Hoping that the dark clouds and curtains of fog be lifted as soon as possible and that the victimizations being carried out under the excuse of July 15 finally come to an end.
    • A Coup With No Plan of Action

     

  2. Every coup has a certain plan of action, yet so far no official document has been presented as to the plan of action regarding the July 15 coup attempt or the list of individuals involved with the Yurtta Sulh (Peace in the Fatherland) Council, which has been alleged to have masterminded the coup. In order for a coup to be successful, the following needs to be specified; the plan of action, the team of individuals who will carry out the plan of action, and the chain of command by which the plan will be executed. However, in the case of July 15, none of these are present.https://stockholmcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/15_July_Erdogans_Coup_13.07.2017.pdf (p. 11)
    • “Blessing From God”

     

  3. On the night of July 15, after the coup attempt had been suppressed, Erdogan described the incident as a “blessing from God.” He was implying that he had found the opportunity to carry out the purge which he had been wanting to carry out but was unable to on account of the law. Through a purge operation which was initiated the very next morning, tens of thousands of people were arrested. Over 100,000 civil service employees and public servants were dismissed from their jobs.http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/haber/turkiye/644388/_Allah_in_buyuk_lutfu_.html
    • Step by Step Towards a Presidential Regime

     

  4. Following July 15, the Turkish-style presidential system was established. While the Turkish people had been in opposition to this system prior to the coup attempt—as indicated by public opinion polls— after July 15, things had turned around completely. Within a time period of less than a year, a referendum for constitutional change was held, and the new Turkish-style presidential system was put into effect. And two years after the coup attempt, Erdogan became the first president of the new regime through early elections. He now had consolidated all authority at the tip of his very fingers.https://www.haberturk.com/gundem/haber/1314879-kilicdaroglu-baskanlik-sistemi-15-temmuz-sehitlerine-ihanettir
    • Calling People to the Streets, Instead of Suppressing Coup Attempt

     

  5. Izmir Chief Public Prosecutor Okan Bato stated that on July 15 at 3:00 pm, he had notified Erdogan of the preparations for the coup. However, Erdogan took no action whatsoever to suppress the coup attempt. If, after being notified beforehand of the planned coup attempt, Erdogan had taken action to prevent the coup instead of calling on the people to go out into the streets, the 250 individuals (killed on that day) would be alive today.https://www.hrw.org/tr/world-report/2017/country-chapters/298690
    • Coup Notice from the TSK to the MIT

     

  6. A major (Osman Karacan) in the TSK [Turkish Armed Forces] went to the MIT [National Intelligence Organization] headquarters on July 15 at 2:20 pm to give notice about the planned coup. Yet, from that hour until nighttime around 10:00 pm, no real precautions were taken to prevent or suppress the coup.http://www.tr724.com/kurgu-kontrollu-darbe-ihbarci-binbasi-2-yildir-mite-calisiyormus-ismi-de-farkliymis/
    • Chief of MIT and Chief of Defense Are Still in Office

     

  7. Chief of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) of Turkey Hakan Fidan, Chief of Defense Hulusi Akar and 2nd Chief of Defense Yaşar Güler, held a series of meetings at the Chief of Defense Headquarters following the notice they had received regarding the planned coup. They have stated that around 7:00 pm that evening they called Erdogan, could not reach him and thus they notified his Head Bodyguard Muhsin Köse. So far Erdogan has not removed either Hakan Fidan, Hulusi Akar, or Muhsin Köse from their positions.http://www.tr724.com/cumhurbaskanligi-koruma-muduru-zan-altinda-sefer-can/
    • Conflicting Explanations from Erdogan Regarding Time of Coup

     

  8. President Erdogan, while speaking of when he first became aware of the coup attempt, continuously made reference to different hours of the day. On the night of July 15, he said, “In the afternoon, unfortunately, there was a certain restlessness present within our armed forces.” On July 18, during an interview he gave to CNN International, he said, “I was notified that night around 8:00 pm.” On July 20, when speaking to Al-Jazeera, he used the expression, “My brother-in-law notified me around 8:00 pm.” On July 21, to Reuters, he explained, “My brother-in-law called me around 4:00–4:30 pm and said to me there’s some commotion going on around Beylerbeyi.” Whereas the starting hours of the commotion in Istanbul Beylerbeyi where the coup attempt first broke out was around 9:30 pm. And on July 30, during a joint broadcast between ATV and A Haber, he said, “We heard of something starting up that day around 9:15 pm. My brother-in-law called me up at 9:30 pm.” The fact that Erdogan gave so many conflicting explanations regarding such a specific matter raised a question mark in people’s minds.http://www.cumhuriyet.com.tr/foto/foto_galeri/575077/9/Darbe_girisimini_ne_zaman_ogrendi__Erdogan_in_sozlerindeki_saat_farkliliklari.htmlI learned about it in   the afternoon.”  July 15th.
  9. ” I was notified around 8:00 pm.”  July 18th.
  10. “My BROTHER-IN-LAW told me about it around 8:00 pm at night.” July 20th.
  11. ” My brother-in-law called around 4:00–4:30  and said ‘There’s some kind of commotion around Beylerbeyi.’ ” July 21st.
  12. “We heard of something starting up around 9:15 pm. My brother-in-law called me at 9:30 pm.” July 30th.
    • Controlled Coup

     

  13. It was discovered that Erdogan had been notified of the coup attempt before the actual execution and even though he could have taken action to prevent the coup from happening, he chose not to. In a report put together by Turkey’s main opposition party CHP in June 2017, July 15 was described as a “controlled coup.” In other words, Erdogan, rather than preventing the coup—of which he had been aware of beforehand—allowed it to be carried out in a controlled manner and, afterward, used the aftermath to his advantage.https://www.bbc.com/turkce/haberler-turkiye-39478777
    • Planes on Standby for Escape

     

  14. It was discovered that Erdogan had arranged for 4 different airplanes at 4 different locations near Marmaris to be on standby that night. In addition to the airplane in Dalaman which Erdogan was using, there were airplanes ready for use in Denizli, Izmir, and Aydin. In order for these airplanes to have been ready for a potential flight that night, they would have to have been notified at least by 5:00 pm that evening. The fact that Erdogan had made such arrangements beforehand is another indicator that he had been aware of the planned coup attempt. In that case, again, the question arises of why he did not take action to suppress the uprising within the military.http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/15-temmuzda-hazir-bekleyen-dort-ucak-h98846.html
    • Chief of Defense Hulusi Akar Who Failed to Prevent the Coup Becomes Head of Ministry of Defense, How So?

     

  15. In a confidential statement given to the Ankara 14th High Criminal Court on March 17, 2017, the Special Forces Commander of the time Zekai Aksakallı said, “Inside the Turkish Armed Forces, when times of crises and states of emergency arise, as soon as any notification is received, the orders that ‘personnel cannot leave their post’ is given. Commanding officers continue their duties at their given posts. This fundamental and simple principle applied in every instance was, however, not put into practice on July 15, 2016, when the first notification was received. If it had been put into effect, the coup attempt would have come to light from the very beginning.” In other words, he advocated that the coup could have been prevented had these orders been delivered. The Chief of Defense of the time, Hulusi Akar, failed to give these orders. Despite this fact, President Erdogan called him a “hero” and had the people applaud him during an AKP rally. Not only did he not dismiss Akar from his position, but he also appointed Akar to be the Minister of Defense as part of the first presidential cabinet formed after the early elections of June 24, 2018.
  16. http://www.aljazeera.com.tr/haber/aksakalli-kural-uygulansa-darbe-girisimi-bastan-aciga-cikardi
    • Secret Meetings A Day Before the CoupIt was discovered 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. It was also found out that, following this long meeting, Fidan and Special Forces Commander Zekai Aksakallı also held a one-on-one confidential meeting that lasted about an hour. The fact that these three names played the most critical role during the coup that took place the very next day raises quite a bit of suspicion.
  1. https://t24.com.tr/haber/hulusi-akar-ile-hakan-fidan-darbe-girisiminden-bir-gun-once-6-saat-basbasa-gorustuiddiasi,391229
    • “I Received the Orders to Reinforce the Chief of Defense Forces From Zekai Aksakallı

     

  2. In the fourth court hearing of the trials held for the cases of the 221 defendants regarding actions taken within the Chief of Defense forces during the course of the July 15 coup attempt, Staff Colonel Fırat Alakuş, in his defense, stated that he had personally received the orders to “reinforce the Chief of Defense forces in case of any potential actions certain terrorist organizations may take” from Special Forces Commander Zekai Aksakallı. Alakuş said, “I was assigned the duty by Special Forces Commander Zekai Aksakallı himself. As for the details of the assignment, I was told that I would be receiving them from Colonel ümit Bak.”https://www.cnnturk.com/turkiye/genelkurmay-baskaninin-urkutucu-dedigi-darbeci-komutan-konustu
    • Air Forces Commander not Notified of The Ban on Flights, Could It be Related to the Secret Meeting at the Palace?

     

  3. Although Akar, Chief of Defense, put a ban on all military flights/missions throughout the country as of 7:00 pm, neither the Air Forces Commander nor the Naval Forces Commander was notified of this ban.  It was discovered that the then Air Forces Commander Abidin ünal had been secretly visiting the palace of President Erdoğan using a vehicle belonging to MIT and holding secret meetings there from the month of April prior to the coup onwards. Not only did Abidin ünal fail to take any sort of action to prevent a coup from taking place on the night of July 15, but also he did not allow any preventive measures to be carried out.http://www.shaber3.com/abidin-unal-gizlice-erdogan-a-gitti-haberi/1320819/
    • Erdoğan Did Not Allow an Investigation


    The TBMM (Turkish Grand National Assembly) 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. Akar and Fidan were not able to stand in front of the commission and answer their questions.

    https://twitter.com/15temmuzgercegi/status/1018414216288407552

    • Fethullah Gulen: “Let an international commission investigate the coup, and we will accept its findings.”In multiple interviews, including the New York Times, Financial Times, Sky News, and The Guardian, Fethullah Gulen said: “If there are allegations that I directed this coup attempt, let an international commission investigate it, and we will accept its findings.”

           https://t24.com.tr/haber/fethullah-gulen-uluslararasi-bir-komisyon-darbeyiarastirsin-sonucunu-simdiden-kabul-ediyoruz,350385

      • Events Not Yet Taken Place Written into the July 15 Official Report, How Did That Happen?

       

    1. It was discovered 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. The official report had been written up at 01:00 am yet it contained the records of events such as the bombing of the TBMM (Turkish Grand National Assembly), the bombing of the Presidential Palace intersection, and the air raid at the Ankara Police Headquarters none of which at that point in time had taken place. Moreover, these incidents had not even taken place in the way in which they were described in the report. What’s, even more, is the fact that events which never even took place were recorded as though they had actually happened.http://www.tr724.com/savci-15-temmuzu-sarsacak-belgeyi-dogruladi-o-gece-olaylar-yasanmadan-tutanaklardayazilmis/
      • Binali Yıldırım (Former Prime Minister): A Project I Disliked, July 15

       

    2. When Yıldırım was asked by a group of journalists, “Were there any projects that you felt were a bit too demanding?”, his reply, in a sarcastic tone, was, ” Well, July 15 was a project I did not like at all.”
      • 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. For instance, he gave orders to have approximately 3,000 judges and prosecutors to be arrested. However, on July 16 there was no evidence to support the allegations that the said 3,000 judges and prosecutors had been involved in the coup. No evidence to that effect was found later on either. The purge lists had been prepared in advance. And they were put into effect right after the coup attempt. In the morning of July 16, at 01:00 am, only three hours after the military insurrection had started, 2,745 judges and prosecutors were dismissed from their duties. The official report prepared by Attorney General Serdar Coşkun was also written up at the same time that night, 01:00 am.

      https://www.ahmetdonmez.net/iste-serdar-coskunun-skandal-tutanaktan-sonraki-ilk-talimati/

      • MIT conspiracy towards Akın Öztürk?It was discovered that MIT official and retired soldier Sadık üstün, a close friend of MIT Chief Hakan Fidan since the time they met during their time serving in the TSK (Turkish Armed Forces), had called up certain commanders and told them that the number 1 role in the coup would be General Akın Öztürk. It was discovered that at that time Akın Öztürk, who had—as later discovered—been assigned to the Akıncılar Base by Air Force Commander Abidin ünal, was still in his home. It was discovered that Sadık üstün had been working together with Air Force Commander Abidin ünal.https://www.ahmetdonmez.net/mitci-sadik-ustun-savci-serdar-coskunu-da-aradi-mi/
        • “So-called Coup” explanation from Andrew Duff


        Former European Parliament representative and well-known politician Andrew Duff made the following statements regarding the report written by July 15 public prosecutor Serdar Coşkun, “We have finally figured out how Erdoğan was able to exploit this so-called coup in such a quick and relentless manner. This report shows us that certain incidents were prepared beforehand, ERDOĞAN allowed for the insurrection to be carried out in a controlled manner and afterward put his own version of a constitutional coup into action.”

        https://www.ahmetdonmez.net/andrew-duff-savci-coskunun-tutanagi-bazi-seylerin-onceden-hazirlandigini-gosteriyor/

                           “QUICK AND RELENTLESS SO-CALLED COUP”

        • What Kind of Connection Does the Religious Affairs Council have with MIT?
          It was discovered that on the night of July 15, Moaz al-Khatib, the man Erdoğan wants to see as the leader of Syria, and the President of the Religious Affairs Council, Görmez, were also present at the MIT headquarters.

        https://odatv.com/gormezden-sonra-sira-fidan-ve-akarda-mi-2707171200.html

       

 

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  • July 15 Purge in Numbers

    249 people lost their lives

    612,347 people were interrogated

    160,000 people were arrested

    152,000 state officials were arrested

    62,669 political prisoners were charged with terrorist activity

    7,907 incidents of human rights violations

    3,502 victims were subjected to torture and ill-treatment

    686 torture incidents occurred during detention

    51 prisoners died in suspicious circumstances

    69,301 students were incarcerated (highest number of students incarcerated at any given time in the history of the country)

    2,767 teenagers, aged between 12 and 18, were incarcerated

    197 teenagers, aged between 12 and 18, were incarcerated due to the alleged involvement in terrorism

    102,000 people were jailed due to the alleged use of ByLock mobile application

    Assets valued at $11,000,000,000 were seized

    130,000 public officers were suspended from work

    80,000 citizens were arrested

    4,000+ judges or prosecutors were dismissed from work

    2,300+ private educational institutions were closed

    7,257 academics were dismissed

    1,600+ non-profit and non-governmental organizations were closed

    1,500+ public associations and foundations were closed

    200 public media companies were closed

    2,500 journalists and media workers were left unemployed

    19 unions were closed

    15 private universities were closed

    1,539 lawyers were put on trial

    580 lawyers were arrested

    103 lawyers were sentenced to long terms in prison

    5,705 academics were suspended

    8,240 armed forces employees were dismissed

    1,067 NATO-supporting members of the armed forces were dismissed

    28 individuals were abducted

    100+ members of the Gulen Movement were abducted and brought back to Turkey from 18 different countries by the National Intelligence Organization

 

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Re: Urge Turkish Authorities to stop torture and bring perpetrators to justice on INTERNATIONAL DAY IN SUPPORT OF VICTIMS OF TORTURE JUNE 26 th

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INTERNATIONAL DAY IN SUPPORT OF VICTIMS OF TORTURE, JUNE 26TH

     Gokhan Acikkollu, the 42-year-old history teacher with diabetes, was dismissed from his job, subsequently detained and tortured for 13 days under police custody in Turkey. He ultimately died from a heart attack. Two years later, after his death, authorities found him not guilty and reinstated him to his teaching post; however, no real justice has been given.

Since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, democratic and fundamental human rights have been suspended in Turkey. The Turkish government has disregarded basic human rights, equality, and respect for human dignity. It has completely broken its ties with the western world, the European Union in particular. It is stated in Human Rights Watch October 2017 report that people accused of terrorism or of being linked to the July 2016 attempted coup are at risk of torture in police custody. There has been a spate of reported cases of men being abducted, some of whom were held in secret detention places, with evidence pointing to the
involvement of state authorities. 

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, High Commissioner for UN Human Rights, declared that during the state of emergency period about 160,000 people were detained in Turkey; 152,000 state officials, including teachers, judges, and lawyers were arbitrarily expelled or investigated; over 200 journalists were arrested, 201 media outlets and hundreds of websites were shut down. There were many cases of torture, rape, and kidnapping, which were only partially reflected in the reports.

According to a report released by the United States Department of State on human rights practices in Turkey in 2018 between July 2016 and July 2018, Turkish Ministry of Justice reported that “investigations” were opened into 612,347 persons, the majority of whom were affiliated with the Gulen movement. Authorities prosecuted 1,519 lawyers and dismissed 7,257 academics and more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors. After the coup, the government operated prisons became filled with people who were detained and awaiting trial and began to work over capacity. 28 individuals disappeared, some kidnapped in broad daylight in front of their families.

Reports of torture, mistreatment, and abuse skyrocketed from tens in 2017 to more than 2,500 in 2018. 51 people lost their lives under suspicious circumstances in official custody.

The most recent torture incidents took place at Police Headquarters in Ankara against detained six ex-diplomats of Turkish Foreign Ministry on May 26th which were documented by the Ankara Bar Association. HDP MP Omer F. Gergerlioglu; Erinc Sagkan, President of Ankara Bar Association, and CHP MP Sezgin Tanrikulu spoke out about the allegations immediately.

We urge all the international bodies and human rights organizations along with Turkish judiciary to take all necessary steps to STOP TORTURE in TURKEY and bring all the perpetrators to justice.

Advocates of Silenced Turkey
help@silencedturkey.org
www.silencedturkey.org
Twitter: @silencedturkey
Facebook: @silencedturkey

 

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PRESS RELEASE ON THE OCCASION OF THE WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2019

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WORLD REFUGEE DAY 2019

It is acknowledged in UNHCR’s Global Trends 2018 Report that the number of forcibly displaced people increased by 2.3 million people in 2018. By the end of the year, almost 70.8 million individuals were forcibly displaced worldwide as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, states:

“What we are seeing in these figures is further confirmation of a longer-term rising trend in the number of people needing safety from war, conflict, and persecution.”

Since the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish government has targeted individuals and groups opposing the government. Through a mass witch-hunt, hundreds of thousands of people have been faced with arrest, imprisonment, torture, inhumane and degrading treatment, denial of fair treatment, labeling, confiscation, and passport seizure. Turkish prisons became filled with people who were detained and awaiting trial and began to operate over capacity. 28 individuals disappeared, some kidnapped in broad daylight in front of their families. Reports of torture, mistreatment, and abuse skyrocketed from tens in 2017 to more than 2,500 in 2018. 51 people lost their lives under suspicious circumstances in official custody. Consequently, thousands of people were forced to leave the country for freedom and to live in humane conditions.

Migration is not easy for those who migrate as well as those countries who receive them. The activist poet Warshan Shire’s words about forced displacement summarize the refugee issue very concisely: “No one puts their children in a boat unless the boat is safer than the land.”

We, as AST (Advocates of Silenced Turkey), are dedicated to support refugees as well as to defend their rights and be a voice for them.

Hafza Y. GIRDAP
Spokesperson
directorhg@silencedturkey.org

 

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