1-540-209-1934
help@silencedturkey.org

Council of Europe commissioner for Human Rights

SEND A LETTER: GRAVE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY

AST STATEMENT REGARDING GRAVE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY ON
HUMAN RIGHTS DAY, DECEMBER 10

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. Many decrees adopted contained measures that undermine human rights safeguards and conflict with Turkey’s international human rights obligations. The routine extensions of the state of emergency within two years have led to profound 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.

The Erdogan government is showing disregard to the rights of its dissidents. Approximately 217,000 people are detained and over 82,000 people are arrested on terrorism charges. Those prosecuted include journalists, civil servants, teachers, politicians, academics, human rights defenders as well as police officers and military personnel. The prosecutions often lack compelling evidence of criminal activity. Thereby the State officials use torture and ill-treatment in custody, including severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks, waterboarding and interference with medical examinations.

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, as various decrees stipulated that public servants “shall be evicted from publicly-owned houses or houses owned by a foundation in which they live within 15 days”.

Websites including Wikipedia are blocked. Hundreds of media outlets, associations, foundations, private hospitals, and educational establishments that the government shut down by decrees are still closed, their assets were confiscated without compensation. The states of emergency have been used to severely and arbitrarily curtail the human rights of a very large number of people which is also declared by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

One of the most alarming actions of the Turkish authorities is incarceration of women who are pregnant or have just given birth. Some are incarcerated with their children and others violently separated from them. At this moment, seven hundred forty-three (743) children under the age of six are in jails across Turkey with their mothers, detained or arrested as part of the government crackdown on its dissidents. One hundred forty-nine (149) of these children are infants under a year old. “This is simply outrageous, utterly cruel, and surely cannot have anything whatsoever to do with making the country safer” as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein” also emphasized.

Another alarming action of the Turkish government is the overseas operations conducted by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) to capture perceived political opponents of President Erdogan’s administration. Abductions are perpetrated by violating international legal norms.

We, as Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), want to emphasize our deep concern and make you aware of human rights violations in Turkey. We want the Turkish government to change its seizure policies and reinstitute human rights all over the country and follow the rule of law. Turkey is in breach of its International Law Obligations. We, as AST urge you to address this situation and attract attention to it in your official capacity. AST urges to stand against the unlawful practices of the Turkish government after the failed coup attempt in July 2016.

In this regard, we call upon the Government of the Republic of Turkey to:

● Stop arbitrary arrests, detentions and wrongful prosecution of political prisoners and release them;

● Stop arbitrary arrests, detentions and wrongful prosecution of women and children;

● Stop illegal overseas operations to capture perceived political opponents;

● Stop, prevent and punish the use of torture and ill-treatment by State officials;

● Reinstate, those wrongly detained, prosecuted and dismissed from their posts;

● Ensure and safeguard the independence of the legal profession.

You can download the AST Statement’s PDF version about Grave Human Rights Violations in Turkey

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Human-Rights-Day-Letter.pdf

SEND AN EMAIL OR MAIL

We urge you to express your views or send attached sample statement to following addresses:

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Human-Rights-Day-Letter.docx

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN

#FreePrisonersofConscience
#StandUp4HumanRights

Video about Children and their Mothers are Prisoners of Conscience in Turkey

AST FLYER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/HUMAN-RIGHTS-DAY-FLYER.jpg

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ABOUT HUMAN RIGHT VIOLATIONS.

United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner

The Honorable Ms. Michelle Bachelet Jeria/High Commissioner
InfoDesk@ohchr.org
civilsociety@ohchr.org
dexrel@ohchr.org

COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE, U.S. HELSINKI COMMISSION

234 Ford House Office Building 3rd & D streets SW, Washington, DC 20515

TEL: 202-225-1901 | FAX: 202-226-4199 |
EMAIL: INFO@CSCE.GOV
Twitter: @HelsinkiComm | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/helsinkicommission

UNITED NATIONS & EU

The Honorable Zeid Ra’ad AI Hussein
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: InfoDesk@ohchr.org

The Honorable Dr. Koumbou Boly Barry
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education
Palais des Nations
CH- 1 2 1 1 Geneva 1 0. Switzerland
Email: sreducation@ohchr.org

The Honorable David Kaye
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
Palais des Nations
CH- 121 I Geneva 10. Switzerland
Email: freedex@ohchr.org

The Honorable Federica Mogherini
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
European Commission
Rue de la Loi 200/Wetstraat 200 B-1049
Brussels, Belgium
Email: federica.mogherini@ec.europa.eu

The Honorable Thorbjorn Jagland
Secretary General of the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
Avenue de I’Europe F-67075
Strasbourg Cedex, France
Email: private.office@coe.int

The Honorable Nils Muiznicks
Commissioner for Human Rights
Council of Europe
Avenue de I’Europe F-67075
Strasbourg Cedex, France

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Phone: (202) 647-6575

 


Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS AND NGOS

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Twitter: @hrw | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumanRightsWatch

NY Address: 350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

Emma Daly, Communications Director
Tel: +1-212-216-1835
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

HUMAN RIGHTS FOUNDATION

Twitter: @HRF | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humanrightsfoundation/

New York Address: 350 5th Ave., #4515 New York, NY, 10001
Phone Number: (212) 246-8486

FREEDOM HOUSE

Twitter: @FreedomHouseDC | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomHouseDC

For all general inquiries, please contact
Freedom House: info@freedomhouse.org or call our main line: 202-296-5101, fax 202-293-2840

For Congressional inquiries, please email
Annie Boyajian, Advocacy Manager, at boyajian@freedomhouse.org

Freedom House Washington Office Address:
1850 M Street NW, Floor 11
Washington D.C. 20036

Freedom House New York Office Address:
120 Wall Street, Fl. 26
New York, NY 10005

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

Twitter: @amnestyusa | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amnestyusa

If you believe your human rights have been violated and you need referrals for assistance or want to share your story, contact our research team
report@aiusa.org

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR DEMOCRACY

Twitter: @NEDemocracy | Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/National.Endowment.for.Democracy

Ph: (202) 378-9700
E-Mail: INFO@NED.ORG

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL

Twitter: @anticorruption | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TransparencyInternational/

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL SECRETARIAT

Address: Alt-Moabit 96 10559 Berlin Germany

General contact:
Telephone: +49 30 3438 200
Fax: +49 30 3470 3912
Email: ti@transparency.org

INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Twitter: @fidh_en | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FIDH.HumanRights

FIDH AT THE UN (NEW-YORK)
110 East 42nd Street, Suite 1309 NY 10017 New-York

Phone Number: 001 646 395 7103

HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST

Twitter: @humanrights1st | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humanrightsfirst

New York
Human Rights First
75 Broad St, 31st Floor
New York, NY 10004
Tel: (212) 845 5200
Fax: (212) 845 5299

Washington
Human Rights First
805 15th Street NW, Suite 900
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: (202) 547 5692
Fax: (202) 543 5999

INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE

Email: information@icj-cij.org
Phone: (+31) 70 302 23 23
Fax: (+31) 70 364 99 28
Twitter: @CIJ_ICJ
Website: http://www.icj-cij.org/en

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SEND A LETTER | PURGED PUBLIC WORKERS

PURGED BEYOND RETURNS

SEND A LETTER to COUNCIL OF EUROPE, VENICE COMMISSION & MEMBER OF CABINET

“On the evening of 15 July 2016, elements within Turkey’s armed forces attempted a violent coup. The coup attempt was quickly thwarted as thousands of people took to the streets and state forces overpowered the coup plotters. Hundreds died, and thousands were injured in a night of terrible violence. The government declared a state of emergency soon afterwards on 20 July 2016 with the stated aim of countering threats to national security arising from the coup attempt. While the state of emergency was initially declared for three months, it would be renewed seven times, and its remit broadened to include combatting ‘terrorist’ organizations. The state of emergency finally ended on 18 July 2018, two years after it was first announced, having ushered in a period of tremendous upheaval in Turkish public life.

During the state of emergency, the government had the extraordinary power to issue emergency decrees with the force of law. These decrees were used to enact a wide variety of measures, affecting diverse issues from detention periods and NGO closures to snow tyre requirements. Around 130,000 public sector workers were dismissed by emergency decrees. Those dismissed include teachers, academics, doctors, police officers, media workers employed by the state broadcaster, members of the armed forces, as well as people working at all levels of local and central government. Their dismissals did not include specific evidence or details of their alleged wrongdoing. Instead, the decrees offered a generalized justification that they ‘…had links to, were part of, were connected to, or in communication with…’ proscribed groups.
The arbitrary dismissals have had a devastating impact on those who lost their jobs and their families. They did not only lose the jobs they occupied; in some cases, they were entirely cut off from access to their professions, as well as housing and healthcare benefits, leaving them and their families without livelihood opportunities.

For a long time, these dismissed public sector workers did not have any recourse against their dismissal as they had no access to ordinary administrative or legal channels in Turkey. Following considerable domestic and international pressure, the government passed an emergency decree in January 2017 setting up a ‘State of Emergency Inquiry Commission’ (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Commission’) to review decisions taken by the emergency decrees, including the appeals of purged public sector workers. Amnesty International research, which involved a review of procedures and a sample of decisions taken by this Commission and interviews with dismissed individuals and their families, reveals that the Commission – by its very design – is not set up to provide an effective remedy to the thousands of public sector workers dismissed from their jobs by emergency decrees. The combination of factors – including the lack of genuine institutional independence, lengthy review procedures, absence of necessary safeguards allowing individuals to effectively rebut allegations about their alleged illegal activity and weak evidence cited in decisions upholding dismissals – resulted in the failure of the Commission to provide a recourse against dismissals, leaving more than a hundred thousand individuals – their livelihoods on hold – without a timely and effective means of justice and reparation. The Commission does not have institutional independence from the government as its members are largely appointed by the government and may be dismissed simply by virtue of an ‘administrative investigation’ on the basis of suspicion of links to proscribed groups. Thus, the provisions for
appointments and dismissals could easily influence the decision-making process; should members fail to make decisions expected of them, the government can just as easily dispense with them.”

Purged Beyond Return Report by AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL, pp. 4-5, October 2018.

SEND A LETTER AS A DISMISSED PUBLIC WORKER OR DEFENDER

The Commission of Europe invited OHAL commission to Strasbourg in November about their political decisions and the violation of rights of the dismissed 130,000 public workers. We urge the dismissed public workers or their defenders to write letters to the commission, member of the parliament, President of the Council of EU and Secretary of Venice Commission:
In order to comply with the human rights standards that they profess to uphold, Turkish authorities should reinstate all the dismissed public sector workers and, in any cases where individuals are reasonably suspected of wrongdoing or misconduct in their employment, or of a criminal offense, any decision on their dismissal should be made solely in a regular disciplinary process with full procedural safeguards.

3 SAMPLE LETTERS FOR PUBLIC WORKERS

Below are the sample letters created for a dismissed teacher, doctor and public worker. Do not forget to include your own story by changing the related parts.

You can download TEACHERS SAMPLE LETTER here…

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Teacher_sample_letter.pdf

You can download DOCTORS SAMPLE LETTER here…

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Doctors_sample_letter.pdf

You can download PUBLIC WORKER SAMPLE LETTER here…

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/public_servants_Sample_letter.pdf

CONTACT INFORMATION TO SEND YOUR LETTER.

1) PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN COUNCIL
Donald TUSK
https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/contact/general-enquiries/send-message/?IsPresident=true

2) PRESS OFFICE
press.office@consilium.europa.eu

3) PRESS CENTER
press.centre@consilium.europa.eu
Planning.Audiovisuel@consilium.europa.eu

4) SECRETARY OF VENICE COMMISSION
Thomas Markert
Thomas.markert@coe.int

4) RIAA OOMEN
Chairperson of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy: Bureau of the Assembly
ria.oomen-ruijten@eerstekamer.nl

5) BERNARD BRUNET
Bernard Brunet is currently Head of Unit “Thematic Support, Monitoring, and Evaluation” in the
European Commission (DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement
Bernard.BRUNET@ec.europa.eu

6) JOHANNES NOACK
Member of Cabinet
johannes.noack@ec.europa.eu

7) MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE on Political Affairs and Democracy
http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/AssemblyList/AL-XML2HTML-EN.asp?lang=en&XmlID=Committee-Pol

8) TWITTER

—-VENICE COMMISSION—-
@venicecomm

—-EUROPEAN COUNCIL—-
@EUCouncil

“PURGED BEYOND RETURN” 28 pages report released by Amnesty International about the
130,000 dismissed public workers in Turkey. You can reach the report from the link;

https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur44/9210/2018/en/

NEED HELP?

If you need help to translate your story, AST volunteers in your local community will help you.
If you could not find an AST volunteer for the translation of your letter from Turkish to English to submit, you can send the Turkish letter to help@silencedturkey.org until November 15. We will try to do our best to translate your letter by our volunteers and empower you to submit your letter to the relevant commissions and officials in Europe

 

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An open letter to President Erdoğan from 38 Nobel laureates

Dear President Erdoğan,

We wish to draw your attention to the damage being done to the Republic of Turkey, to its reputation and the dignity and well-being of its citizens, through what leading authorities on freedom of expression deem to be the unlawful detention and wrongful conviction of writers and thinkers.

In a Memorandum on the Freedom of Expression in Turkey (2017), Nils Muižnieks, then Council of Europe commissioner for Human Rights, warned:

“The space for democratic debate in Turkey has shrunk alarmingly following increased judicial harassment of large strata of society, including journalists, members of parliament, academics and ordinary citizens, and government action which has reduced pluralism and led to self-censorship. This deterioration came about in a very difficult context, but neither the attempted coup nor other terrorist threats faced by Turkey, can justify measures that infringe media freedom and disavow the rule of law to such an extent.

“The authorities should urgently change course by overhauling criminal legislation and practice, redevelop judicial independence and reaffirm their commitment to protect free speech.”

There is no clearer example of the commissioner’s concern that the detention in September 2016 of Ahmet Altan, a bestselling novelist and columnist; Mehmet Altan, his brother, professor of economics and essayist; and Nazlı Ilıcak, a prominent journalist – all as part of a wave of arrests following the failed July 2016 coup. These writers were charged with attempting to overthrow the constitutional order through violence or force. The prosecutors originally wanted to charge them with giving “subliminal messages” to coup supporters while appearing on a television panel show. The ensuing tide of public ridicule made them change that accusation to using rhetoric “evocative of a coup”. Indeed, Turkey’s official Anatolia News Agency called the case “The Coup Evocation Trial”.

As noted in the commissioner’s report, the evidence considered by the judge in Ahmet Altan’s case was limited to a story dating from 2010 in Taraf newspaper (of which Ahmet Altan had been the editor-in-chief until 2012), three of his op-ed columns and a TV appearance. The evidence against the other defendants was equally insubstantial. All these writers had spent their careers opposing coups and militarism of any sort, and yet were charged with aiding an armed terrorist organisation and staging a coup.

The commissioner saw the detention and prosecution of Altan brothers as part of a broader pattern of repression in Turkey against those expressing dissent or criticism of the authorities. He considered such detentions and prosecutions to have violated human rights and undermined the rule of law. David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, concurred and dubbed the legal proceedings a “show trial”.

Turkey’s own constitutional court concurred with this criticism. On 11 January this year, it ruled that Mehmet Altan and fellow journalist Şahin Alpay’s rights were being violated by pre-trial detention, and that they should be released. Yet the first-degree courts refused to implement the higher constitutional court’s decision, thus placing the judicial system in criminal violation of the constitution. Mr President, you must surely be concerned that the lower criminal court’s defiance and this non-legal decision was backed by the spokesperson of your government.

On 16 February 2018, the Altan brothers and Ilıcak were sentenced to aggravated life sentences, precluding them from any prospect of a future amnesty.

President Erdoğan, we the undersigned share the following opinion of David Kaye: “The court decision condemning journalists to aggravated life in prison for their work, without presenting substantial proof of their involvement in the coup attempt or ensuring a fair trial, critically threatens journalism and with it the remnants of freedom of expression and media freedom in Turkey”.

In April 1998, you yourself were stripped of your position as mayor of Istanbul, banned from political office, and sentenced to prison for 10 months, for reciting a poem during a public speech in December 1997 through the same article 312 of the penal code. This was unjust, unlawful and cruel. Many human rights organisations – which defended you then – are appalled at the violations now occurring in your country. Amnesty International, PEN International, Committee to Protect Journalists, Article 19, and Reporters Without Borders are among those who oppose the recent court decision.

During a ceremony in honour of Çetin Altan, on 2 February 2009, you declared publicly that “Turkey is no longer the same old Turkey who used to sentence its great writers to prison – this era is gone for ever.” Among the audience were Çetin Altan’s two sons: Ahmet and Mehmet. Nine years later, they are sentenced to life; isn’t that a fundamental contradiction?

Under these circumstances, we voice the concern of many inside Turkey itself, of its allies and of the multilateral organisations of which it is a member. We call for the abrogation of the state of emergency, a quick return to the rule of law and for full freedom of speech and expression. Such a move would result in the speedy acquittal on appeal of Ms Ilıcak and the Altan brothers, and the immediate release of others wrongfully detained. Better still, it would make Turkey again a proud member of the free world.

Full list of Nobel laureate signatories:

Svetlana Alexievich, Philip W Anderson, Aaron Ciechanover, JM Coetzee, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji, Elias J Corey, Gerhard Ertl, Albert Fert, Edmond H Fischer, Andrew Z Fire, Andre Geim, Sheldon Glashow, Serge Haroche, Leland H Hartwell, Oliver Hart, Richard Henderson, Dudley Herschbach, Avram Hershko, Roald Hoffmann, Robert Huber, Tim Hunt, Kazuo Ishiguro, Elfriede Jelinek, Eric S Maskin, Hartmut Michel, Herta Müller, VS Naipaul, William D Phillips, John C Polanyi, Richard J Roberts, Randy W Schekman, Wole Soyinka, Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas C Südhof, Jack W Szostak, Mario Vargas Llosa, J Robin Warren, Eric F Wieschaus

Source:
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/28/nobel-laureates-president-erdogan-turkey-free-writers

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