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WOMEN’S RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BY THE TURKISH LEGAL SYSTEM

The Uncharted Lives of Women Battling the Legal System

The intent of this report is to declare the victims of the ‘New Turkey,’ especially women with children who have been under persecution since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Although the Turkish government does not promote transparent data on the number of children imprisoned with their mothers, there are 864 children in the prison according to the Justice Department Prison and Penitentiaries Management. The ages of these children vary between newborns to 6 years, as of May 24, 2019.

This report is based on an interview conducted on behalf of Advocates of Silenced Turkey, via a telephone conversation. The information presented in the interview has been evaluated in accordance with the standards set by the European Convention on Human Rights, the Constitution of The Republic of Turkey, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules), United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules), and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules). These documents have played a critical role in assessing the human rights violations in the case. This report briefly describes the current women’s rights violations in Turkey and aims to provide an overview of the current crisis.

Persecuted Lives in Erdogan’s Regime by Sevil Sena Kesgin

INTRODUCTION

” Old Turkey no longer exists; this Turkey is new Turkey “

… said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an outrageous speech. Thus, started the story of the dictatorship and the despotic regime of Turkey. Following the alleged coup attempt of 15th July 2016, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) along with President Erdogan has taken a wave of oppressive actions against many innocent people, especially targeting members of the Gulen Movement. Although Gulen strongly denied any role in the failed coup and has called for an international investigation, President Erdogan and the Turkish Parliament has refused Gulen’s proposal. Instead of launching an investigation regarding the coup attempt and finding proof to support claims, the government decided to use the event as a tool to remove and detain people from all walks of life who oppose the government or simply do not support it.

Most of the recent detentions targeted a highly educated segment amongst women’s groups including professionals ranging from academicians, doctors, and teachers to judges and prosecutors. According to Advocates of Silenced Turkey’s report on human rights violations in Turkey, “more than 130,000 people have been dismissed from their jobs. In correlation, more than 217,000 have been detained, 160,000 have been arrested and an unknown number of people have fled from their home country in hopes of finding their freedom” since July of 2016.1

In the aftermath of the government’s propaganda, those labeled as “traitors” have been shown no goodwill by prosecutors and judges who view even pregnant women and homemakers as non-threatening offenders even if they have no prior criminal records. Women have been arrested and tortured over these baseless claims. According to the Turkish Criminal Code, Law No. 5275, Article 16/4 the implementation of Criminal and Security Measures prohibits the arrest of women with babies younger than six months and pregnant women:

“The execution of the prison sentence against a woman who is pregnant or who gave birth less than six months ago shall be postponed.”

However, these rules seem to not apply to Gulen Movement supporters. The young generation growing under this cruel regime have witnessed torture both in the jails and at the courts. Unfortunately, the number of children in Turkeys’ prisons exceeds 3000 according to an AST report. The treatment of female prisoners and their children has deteriorated during the years in which Turkey has experienced a general shift towards authoritarianism.

BEHIND THE SCENES: A TRUE STORY

Ayse Kaya is one of the victims of the ‘New Turkey.’ She is a mother of one, who was detained only a day after she delivered her baby in Istanbul and was then transferred to a police station in Edirne, 240 km away from Istanbul. She is a Gulen Movement member who used to work at a non-profit organization managed by women. Ayse Kaya’s life took a radical turn after the so-called coup attempt, just like other innocent victims. On December 16th, 2016, in the midst of her first pregnancy she received a call from the local prosecutor’s office which informed her of the warrant for her arrest. She was accused of being a member of a terror organization. She speaks of her decision to evade the law until after her birth and said that she refused to report to the police department to give her testimony because all of her friends had been arbitrarily taken into custody for their affiliation with the Gulen Movement without a valid reason or any evidence. This situation is entirely against the principles exemplified by Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

“No one shall be held guilty of any penal offense on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offense, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed.”

On July 25th, 2017, about half an hour after Ayse’s labor, police officers arrived at the hospital. On the 27th, she was taken to the prosecutor for her interrogation and was detained for a week. She was later released with the condition to report to the authorities once a week to provide her signature. In the period of nine months before Ayse and her husband fled from Turkey, Ayse and her baby continued to provide her signature and to live in different secret locations with her husband who was at risk due to the search warrant issued against him.

IMPROPER JUSTIFICATION FOR ARREST and TREATMENT OF DETAINEES

When Ayse was informed about her arrest warrant, she was in the midst of her first pregnancy. As is necessary for every pregnant woman, Ayse too needed routine doctor’s appointments for both herself and her baby’s well-being. However, she could not go to hospitals because of the formal processes and constant security checks. Ayse spent the duration of almost her entire pregnancy completely in the dark about her baby’s health. She describes her helplessness during those months, saying:

“I was happy only the times when he was moving in my womb because at that time, I knew he was fine.”

 On the night of 24th July 2017, Ayse’s contractions began. She tried to control the labor process using the knowledge she had gained through research. She had planned to have a homebirth with a midwife in order to avoid the possibility of being caught by police officers. However, things didn’t go as expected and she knew that she needed to go to a hospital. Still hoping to preserve her freedom, Ayse waited at home until the last possible moment before leaving for the hospital. Upon her arrival, birth was just minutes away. She was immediately taken to the operating room. Approximately half an hour after Ayse’s labor, police officers showed up at the hospital. They wanted to interrogate Ayse right away, but she refused their demand because of the unsuitable environment. The next morning, Ayse was discharged from the hospital and was delivered to the police officers. They took her and her baby directly to the police station, saying that the interrogation would take about five minutes and that Ayse could then return home. Their words were far from the truth.

Although each and every police officer has to always advise the victim, witness, or suspect of his or her rights before an interrogation, Ayse was not informed properly about her rights. Moreover, she was interrogated by a police officer multiple times in the absence of her lawyer and was then taken with her newborn in tow to the local courthouse of Edirne — 240 km away from Istanbul where she gave birth. The group of police officers who accompanied her to Edirne were all men. Although the standards in place stipulate that women detainees shall be supervised by female officers and staff, there were no female police officers in the car. Ayse was in the postpartum period and had given birth only a day ago. She had private needs that she could not meet because she was surrounded by men. The incident is tremendously upsetting and violates a multitude of articles of different declarations.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 5 and 9;

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.”

Moreover, according to the Bangkok Rules, women in Ayse’s condition have the right to be treated humanely;

There is a prohibition of solitary confinement or disciplinary segregation for pregnant women, women with infants and breastfeeding mothers.”

These rights are all addressed by the law, but there is the invisible fact of the psychological state of new mothers. As the delivery process brings many psychological and physical shifts in a woman’s life, the actions of the Turkish state and its actors caused both physical and emotional distress.

DETENTION CENTER CONDITIONS

When Ayse arrived at Edirne, she was interrogated without her lawyer countless times.

Mrs. Kaya mentions in her interview that the organization she was employed at was completely legal, operating under the appropriate government department that oversaw non-profit organizations, and was subject to unannounced government audits. However, as in the personal interview conducted by AST, Ayse claims that she was accused to be a member of an association which was identified as a terror organization by the Turkish authority which violates the right of freedom of assembly.

According to the Article 33 of Constitution of The Republic of Turkey;

“Everyone has the right to form associations, or become a member of an association, or withdraw from membership without prior permission.”

Ayse stayed at the hospital that first night in Edirne at which point the doctors diagnosed her baby with jaundice. Because of the immediate detainment after labor and the long distance to Edirne, Ayse had not found enough time to breastfeed her baby. While the baby was taken for the treatment, everyone else neglected to check Ayse’s situation, although she had given birth the day before. Despite the inflammations of her body, she couldn’t get treatment for herself. In her interview, Ayse says;

“I was brought into a clinic for a health assessment and I repeatedly told everyone…that I had given birth. I naively repeated myself, telling them about my post-birth stitches. I hoped that doctors would be more understanding, but they did not care at all, transferring me from one floor to another without listening to my pleadings.”

On the 27th of July, two days after labor, Ayse was taken to the prosecutor for her interrogation. During the tribunal, the prosecutor assumed a tough attitude towards Ayse because of the pressure on him related to her situation on social media. The prosecutor threatened Ayse with her newborn baby and forced Ayse to tell him things that he wanted to hear. He explicitly threatened her, saying, “You cannot see your baby again.” However, his threats and his other comments were not recorded by the clerk during the interrogation.

These actions are a complete violation of Article 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

“Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.”

and

Article 25 of Constitution of The Republic of Turkey;

“Everyone has the freedom of thought and opinion. No one shall be compelled to reveal his/her thoughts and opinions for any reason or purpose; nor shall anyone be blamed or accused because of his/her thoughts and opinions.”

Most interestingly, the officials offered Ayse her release in return for her husband’s arrest. The prosecutor clearly violated the law which sets forth that there is no way to hold someone responsible for another individual’s crime.

According to the Constitution of The Republic of Turkey, Article 38/7;

“Criminal responsibility is personal.”

When Ayse refused their bid, asking why her release would be offered if she was truly a criminal, the prosecutor immediately issued an arrest warrant for her husband as well. This too is a violation of a right stated in the Turkish Constitution.

According to the Constitution of The Republic of Turkey, Article 38/5;

“No one may be compelled to make a statement that would incriminate himself or his legal next of kin or to present such incriminating evidence.”

ILL-TREATMENT and OTHER DEGRADING CONDITIONS

Unaware of all these formal procedures was a newborn baby waiting at the hospital all alone, in need of his mother more than anything else. As baby Ekrem was under phototherapy, breastfeeding would have aided in his recovery, but Ayse was not allowed to nurse her baby during the specific milking times of the hospital. Despite all her petitions, she could not go to feed her baby during the daytime. Being a woman or mother does not mean anything to the Turkish authorities. Even a basic right can be violated easily in Turkey.

According to the Rule 48 of United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders;

“Women prisoners shall not be discouraged from breastfeeding their children unless there are specific health reasons to do so.”

Before the court order, she had a week full of interrogations both in the police station and the prosecutor’s office. She was just in her first week after delivery, and the conditions she was faced with were not suitable for her health. Her environment was not adequate for someone who needed to rest and should not have been standing all day. Since she spent the entire week mostly standing, her hands and feet were swollen. The relevant authorities did not provide appropriate healthcare to Ayse which is another violation of her rights.

According to the UN Bangkok Rules on Women Offenders and Prisoners;

“In addition to reproductive healthcare, gender-specific responses are needed for mental health, substance abuse and the treatment and care of other diseases. Women prisoners should have the same access to preventative healthcare, such as breast cancer screening, as offered to women in the community.”

During the week, Ayse stayed at the hospital where no food from outside the hospital was permitted. She could not eat because of the poor food quality and requested to have food from outside; however, the police officers did not allow this. Although she needed to eat well to produce enough milk for baby Ekrem, she could not eat any cooked meal for an entire week and drank only fruit juices. As a breastfeeding woman, she did not receive any additional food items or vitamins to supplement her complex dietary needs. In her interview, Ayse says that she once asked the police officer to go to the hospital’s canteen to have soup. However, even on the way to the canteen, the police officer showed ill-treatment both physically and verbally by jostling her in front of other people.

IN CONCLUSION…

The public prosecutor decided to release Ayse on probationary terms during which she would need to provide her signature twice a week. Ayse began to live with her mother-in-law because her husband had to live in secret locations. One day, she received a call that informed her about the indictment which would sentence her to seven to fourteen years in prison. That same day, Ayse left her mother-in-law’s home where police officers came to arrest her the next morning. They pressured her elderly mother and father-in-law to reveal Ayse’s location. The police officers also visited Ayse’s husbands’ grandmother’s house. Police officers came along to search the houses three more times after this. Ayse and her family could no longer stand this cruelty and injustice. They had been forced into civil death and did not want to be treated like traitors any longer. They hoped to start living together as a family again and so one night, Ayse along with her husband and baby, emigrated from Turkey on dangerous waters as they crossed the Evros River with seventeen others on a small boat.

All of those people had one ultimate goal: the hope of finding new lives overseas.

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 30.

REFERENCES

1 Advocates of Silenced Turkey. “Key Human Rights Violations in Turkey Since the So-Called Coup Attempt.” 2020. https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Key_Human_Rights_Concerns_in_Turkey-4.pdf



Gamze Hanim: Disrupted Families by Ahsen Kocaman

Introduction

In July of 2016, the lives of hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens would drastically change as they found themselves being unjustly accused of terror crimes. On July 15th, Turkey would experience an attempted coup, which would ultimately be blamed on the Hizmet movement, a faith-inspired civic movement rooted in Islam. This community of people follow the teachings of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Islamic cleric and a spiritual leader. It is this very community that was accused of being a terrorist organization by the Turkish government, which led to the unjust mistreatment of thousands of Turkish citizens.

The 2016 coup attempt became the catalyst for the uptick in instances of human rights violations that would take place in Turkey. In a recent Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) report, reported numbers are staggering: more than 130,000 individuals residing in Turkey have lost their jobs, more than 217,000 have been detained, and 160,000 have been arrested since then.1 Each individual has their own story, but the themes of suffering and heartbreak are a common ground for most of them. Within a few hours after the attempted coup, a group of Turkish citizens found themselves labeled as terrorists — at times by those closest to them. This singular event essentially led to immense pain and hardships that thousands of men, women, and children would face as they struggled to find freedom in a changed world.

One victim to such struggles is a Turkish woman named Gamze. As an attorney in Turkey, it was her job to protect the law of the land as instituted in the constitution. Yet, even attorneys themselves can find the system working against them. It was this very system that betrayed Gamze and her family, unjustly imprisoning her husband and forcing Gamze and her two children to flee the country they once called home. The obstacles Gamze and her family faced were a result of the lawlessness in Turkey. The laws that Gamze once vowed to protect were not there to protect her as the system was misused to purposefully mistreat thousands of Turkish citizens.

In the years since the attempted coup of 2016, Turkish citizens of varying ages and backgrounds have found themselves as victims to the unfair and unjust legal system in Turkey. In a nation filled with corruption, these individuals have been subject to mental and physical anguish, whether imprisoned or not. Those who are imprisoned, such as Gamze’s husband, are subject to unsanitary, inhumane prison conditions for crimes they didn’t commit. These prisoners are left to wonder when — or if — they’ll ever experience full freedom again. Those who are not imprisoned live in constant fear of what could happen to themselves and their loved ones at any given moment. A knock on their door in the early morning hours could mean that life as they knew it would be changing from that moment onward.

This is the story of Gamze, a Turkish lawyer who became victim to the system that was meant to protect her.

Methodology

This report is based on a combination of desk research and interviews held by Advocates of Silenced Turkey. For the interview portion, a representative of AST interviewed Gamze via a video chat, which was then uploaded to the official YouTube channel of AST for the greater public to view. The desk research portion of this report was completed through a series of steps, the first being to familiarize oneself with the case. The second step was to identify the violations within the case. The third step consisted of conducting research on domestic laws in Turkey and international laws. These included looking into three types of central texts: official United Nations documents, European Council of Human Rights documents, and the Turkish Constitution. The final step in the desk research was to compare violations in the case against standards set in these three central texts.

The purpose of this report is to shed light on the human rights violations occurring in Turkey in the present day. This is only one story out of thousands, and our goal is to advocate and raise awareness for these individuals and the human rights violations they have been victim to. Perhaps most importantly, we aim to provide a platform for victims to make their voices heard.

Gamze and Her Family

Gamze was an attorney by occupation, living in Istanbul, Turkey with her husband and two children — a seven-year-old and a ten-year-old son. Her husband, an electrical engineer, would embark on a business trip in May of 2017 which would eventually lead to his imprisonment and the fleeing of his wife and two sons. Although a seemingly normal business trip, Gamze’s husband found himself under arrest after the hotel he checked into alerted the police about his whereabouts. It was then that the lives of Gamze and her family took a turn for the worse.

Human Rights Violations

Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees

In the midst of her husband’s arrest by the Turkish police, Gamze was unaware of what had just happened to him. It was hours later that she received a call from her husband. During this pre-trial period, Gamze was not only kept from knowing that her husband had been arrested in the first place, but she also wasn’t made aware of where he was being kept. It was only after a long search with her husband’s family that they were able to find which police station he was being held at. This withholding of information ultimately violates Article 19 of the Turkish Constitution which states that the next of kin of an arrested individual shall be notified immediately when a person has been arrested.2 Similarly, Rule 68 in The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, known commonly as the Nelson Mandela Rules, states that “Every prisoner shall have the right, and shall be given the ability and means, to inform immediately his or her family… about his or her imprisonment.” 3 In the case of Gamze and her family, the authorities did not contact Gamze or her husband’s family in an appropriate manner immediately following his arrest, and it was only through their own efforts that his family was able to locate his whereabouts.

Gamze’s husband’s mistreatment began during this pre-trial period. In her interview, Gamze describes how her husband was kept from using the bathroom for an extended period of time — an incident that they decided to file in a report. Because his family decided to do this, Gamze’s husband suffered the consequences. He was made to kneel in front of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk statue in front of the police station as a public display of shame. For thirty minutes, he was hand-cuffed and presented to any passerby who may have walked by the station that day. At the end of the grueling thirty minutes, his wrists had turned red from the handcuffs. It was only with the threat of filing a report to the doctor did the police finally remove Gamze’s husband’s handcuffs. This period of public humiliation that Gamze’s husband was put through, essentially violates a multitude of laws and human rights conventions. Article 17 of the Turkish Constitution states; “No one shall be subjected to torture or maltreatment; no one shall be subjected to penalties or treatment incompatible with human dignity.” 4 Similarly, the first rule of the Nelson Mandela Rules dictates:

All prisoners shall be treated with the respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings. No prisoner shall be subjected to, and all prisoners shall be protected from, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, for which no circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification.5

Likewise, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 5 and the European Convention on Human Rights Section 1, Article 3 state parallel conventions. 6 In the act of publicly humiliating Gamze’s husband for filing a report, these various laws and conventions are ultimately violated. Per the Nelson Mandela Rules, the circumstances within which the police decided to punish Gamze’s husband, do not justify the degrading treatment that he received that day in front of the police station. The physical as well as psychological effects of such maltreatment on the detained prisoner is apparent.

Trial Procedures

Upon his arrest by the Turkish police, Gamze’s husband waited in jail for a week until he had his trial and was officially charged. The reason for his arrest consisted of multiple accusations. His name was allegedly in the data on an SD card, and this information was confirmed by another individual who named Gamze’s husband to the authorities. Furthermore, depositing money and having a retirement account at Bank Asya, a private bank affiliated with the Hizmet movement, was another reason for his arrest. Yet another cause cited for the arrest was his attendance and participation at Hizmet movement. He was additionally accused of stealing KPSS questions, a standardized test in Turkey. During the course of the trial, Gamze’s husband was also accused of living in Hizmet affiliated housing during college in 2002, a time in which Gamze states that her husband wasn’t even living in Turkey. The documents that the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) produced to prove this were falsified documents, meant to further incriminate Gamze’s husband. Gamze explains this as follows: “…even though [my husband] wasn’t in Turkey in 2002, he [was] faced with such an accusation. Of course, we proved this, and we even sued the MIT for the creation and presentation of fake documents…” This act by a government agency is a violation of both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 10 as well as the European Convention on Human Rights Section 1, Article 6.  Both conventions state that individuals are entitled to a fair trial, something that Gamze’s husband was ultimately denied due to document falsification. 7

Gamze’s husband was ultimately handed a sentence of 8 years and 3 months.

Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

The prior mentioned incident regarding Gamze’s husband and the Ataturk statue was the first instance of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment. The pre-trial treatment of the detained individual did not change much upon his admittance into prison. Though Gamze’s husband was assigned to a prison ward with a capacity of 10-12 people, an overwhelming 36 prisoners were made to live there. To be clear, this was not for a short amount of time; rather, it is the seemingly permanent conditions that her husband was made to live in for years at a time. Prisoners were forced into tight quarters meant for a third of the number of people actually occupying the space. Such instances of overcrowding can lead to insanitary conditions which pose a potential risk to an individual’s mental and physical health. This cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners is a violation of Article 17 of the Turkish Constitution, which prohibits maltreatment of any individuals; a similar convention can be found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights Article 5 and European Convention on Human Rights Section 1, Article 3. 8 Most importantly, Rule 13 of the Nelson Mandela Rules dictates that: “All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health, due regard being paid to climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation.” 9 The inhumane treatment of prisoners in regard to their over-capacity living space is yet another violation that Gamze’s husband was subject to during his time in prison.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

The violation regarding the number of people in a prison ward are only one of the factors attributing to the terrible conditions in the prison. In addition to living in a small, confined place with a large group of people, there were no activities or classes offered for Gamze’s husband and his prison mates. It is important to note that other prisoners who weren’t affiliated with the Hizmet movement were provided activities or classes while in prison. This indicates that prisoners such as Gamze’s husband were denied these classes simply due to political and ideological differences. The Nelson Mandela Rules on the treatment of prisoners addresses these specific issues in a few rules. Rule 4.2 states that “prison administrations and other competent authorities should offer education, vocational training and work, as well as other forms of assistance that are appropriate and available, including those of a remedial, moral, spiritual, social and health- and sports-based nature.” 10 Similarly, Rule 105 of the Nelson Mandela Rules indicates that “Recreational and cultural activities shall be provided in all prisons for the benefit of the mental and physical health of prisoners.” 11 The failure to provide activities and classes for specific prisoners when these activities and classes existed for other prisoners is a human rights violation. Due to the political affiliations of Gamze’s husband, he was denied this right.

Conditions did not get any better for the prisoners as they often found themselves with no access to water. Gamze recounted that at times there was no water coming from the pipes. On other occasions, prisoners either did not receive hot water, or any water at all. Once again, these create the risk of unsanitary conditions. The lack of water is a violation of Rule 18.1 of the Nelson Mandela Rules which states that “Prisoners shall be required to keep their persons clean, and to this end they shall be provided with water and with such toilet articles as are necessary for health and cleanliness.” 12 With no continuous access to water, the well-being of prisoners would essentially be at stake. Once again, one does not need to look any further than Article 17 of the Turkish Constitution, Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights which state that the maltreatment of prisoners are prohibited. 13

Gamze’s Hardships

During the course of her husband’s time in prison, Gamze and her two children were also going through a series of hardships. Gamze and her sons left home to stay in a friend’s house where they remained for a few months. When the order came for her arrest, the police searched Gamze’s parents’ house. It was at this point that she and her husband, whom she had been in communication with up until then, decided that she and the children should leave the country for their own safety. Gamze fled Turkey for Greece approximately three months later. A week beforehand, Gamze’s mother and children had caught a flight to the United States of America after being able to obtain visas. Gamze had to travel through Greece first to be able to escape Turkey. Once in Greece, she thought that she would easily be able to book a flight to America; however, she found out that her visa had been canceled. She had expected a quick and painless escape to freedom; this news shattered that probability.

After two months in Greece without her family members, Gamze eventually went to Germany. At that point, Gamze planned for her mother and children to fly to Germany where they would be reunited. Much like her previous experiences, this reunion had more obstacles than Gamze had expected. Due to complications in air travels with certain companies, her children were not able to fly over to Germany to join their mother. Upon booking a second flight after their first failure, Gamze’s children finally made it to Germany where they landed in Frankfurt Airport. This time around, Gamze was nervous about how she was going to find her children at the airport, whether or not she would be able to prove her relation to them, and a variety of other possible problems.

In the midst of all this stress, Gamze found help through the Diakonie Deutschland organization. A woman working there had listened to Gamze’s entire story and had cried alongside her, vowing that no matter what happened, she would reunite Gamze with her children. In an emotional account, Gamze explains that this woman took them into the terminal and spoke with the police. The Diakonie representative told the police that they were in no way to act or to speak harshly to Gamze and that she was a mother who was about to reunite with her family. To this, Gamze said, “Of course this was a very emotional moment. I mean you think, this person isn’t a Muslim, you don’t know if she is a person of faith, yet she is a good person … It was a very different moment, I mean that woman taking care of me, respecting motherhood and the sacredness of motherhood is a very important thing.” Upon this very touching and meaningful moment, the police took Gamze into a waiting room and as soon as the plane landed, went to get her mother and two children.

In the end, Gamze was able to reunite with her children. Eventually, her mother – who sacrificed so much to keep her grandchildren safe – flew back to Turkey. At this point, Gamze and her children stayed at a camp in Germany for four months before being moved to a permanent location. Unfortunately, Gamze’s story does not end well; at the time of her interview, Gamze’s husband still hadn’t been reunited with his family and remains in prison serving his sentence. A family has been split, and the future of Gamze and her children remain uncertain as the fight for human rights in Turkey continues.

References

1 Advocates of Silenced Turkey. “Key Human Rights Violations in Turkey Since the So-Called Coup Attempt.” 2020.
https://silencedturkey.org/wp content/uploads/2020/04/Key_Human_Rights_Concerns_in_Turkey-4.pdf

2 Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. https://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/constitution_en.pdf

3 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and Related Recommendations. New York: United Nations, Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, 1958. Print.

4 Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. https://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/constitution_en.pdf

5 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and Related Recommendations. New York: United Nations, Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, 1958. Print.

6 The European Convention on Human Rights. Strasbourg: Directorate of Information, 1952. Print.; The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948-1998. New York: United Nations Dept. of Public Information, 1998. Print.

7 Ibid.

8 Ibid.

9 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and Related Recommendations. New York: United Nations, Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, 1958. Print.

9 Ibid.

10 Ibid.

11 Ibid.

12 The European Convention on Human Rights. Strasbourg: Directorate of Information, 1952. Print.; The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948-1998. New York: United Nations Dept. of Public Information, 1998. Print.

13 Ibid.



Rahime Yildiz: An Arbitrary Stay in Tarsus Jail by Sümeyye Kara

Introduction

Turkey has been experiencing the systematic violation of human rights over the past four years. Trust in justice has been shaken by a dramatic erosion of the rule of law. Following the so-called coup attempt on the 15th of July, 2016, the Turkish government under the authoritarian leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, took a wave of oppressive actions against not only the alleged coup plotters, but also against those whom they perceived to be critics of the regime. According to data from Advocated for Silenced Turkey, “as part of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown, more than 130,000 people including judges, academics, teachers, journalists, police and military officers, as well as other public servants have been dismissed from their jobs” while “more than 217,000 people have been detained and 160,000 have been arrested.” 1 The torture and maltreatment of captive mothers is another grave and recurring problem within this new system. It has been widely reported that the Turkish government engages in the “systematic use of torture and ill-treatment in police custody … including severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks, waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, prolonged solitary confinement, and deprivation of food and water.” 2 The prison conditions for women and children are contrary to basic human dignity. Women face many issues such as being harassed by guards conducting body cavity searches. Among these new prisoners, there are more than 30 pregnant women or women who just have given birth and 780 children under six-years-old imprisoned alongside their mothers, 149 of whom are younger than the age of one. Pregnant women and mothers with children are constrained to remain with other prisoners in overcrowded cells. Additionally, their access to appropriate pre-birth care is denied, which presents genuine danger to their well-being.    

 Methodology

This report is based on an interview with Rahime Yildiz, conducted via a telephone conversation in January 2020. The analysis provides a succinct overview of the ongoing violations in Turkish prisons by comparing and contrasting current practices of the Turkish government with the universally recognized and widely ratified United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules), the European Convention of Human Rights, and the Turkish Constitution. The analysis is composed of part commentary and part interview data. The details of each violation are interwoven directly into the comments to provide a vivid and relatable description of her experiences.

The Story of Rahime Yildiz

In 2016, Turkey’s political air was feverish. One morning Rahime Yildiz was awoken from her freedom. She had received a call from the Provincial Directorate of Security and learned that there was a warrant for her arrest. She made a hasty departure back from her vacation to report to the police. After three days of detention, she was transferred to prison. Her baby, Nil Mualla, was sent to her side after a few days. Not only had Rahime been cruelly separated from her one-month old baby, but she also had no knowledge of what happened to Nil Mualla in the space of those few days. Subsequent to her arbitrary arrest, Rahime spent the next 11 months of her life in prison. During this time, she faced many difficulties, such as the substandard prison conditions and a dangerous illness that her baby suffered. Rahime was only formally indicted after eight months in prison. Three months after the indictment was filed, Rahime was finally allowed a trial during which she was released on probation. However, at her next trial, she was handed a prison sentence of 6 years and 3 months — a decision which she appealed. Having completely lost her trust in the Turkish Judicial System, Rahime deserted Turkey with her family in 2018 while her case was still with the appellate court.

 Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

On the 7th of September 2016, Rahime Yildiz was taken into custody in Mersin. Her one-month-old baby Nil Mualla was separated from her mother at that instant. According to Rahime’s testimonies, the police used tyrannical interrogation techniques and threatened her with separation from her baby, the hardest kind of loss for a mother. Police authorities tortured Rahime Yildiz in a manner contrary to human dignity. During her testimony, the officers verbally abused and insulted her and used brute force to intimidate her such as by hitting the table. Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” the Turkish Constitution also sets forth frameworks for rules that should technically lead to fair trials for political prisoners. However, with few exceptions, “especially those affiliated with the Hizmet movement have been intentionally deprived of such measures, with [few] exceptions.” 3

Rahime Yildiz describes her treatment at the hands of the police as follows: “While I was defending myself, saying that I had never done anything against the law, I was subjected to abusive treatment by the police. From that point on, I decided that there were no people capable of understanding me, and so I kept quiet. I didn’t even know that I had the right of defense through my lawyer because I had not committed any crimes.”

While the government claims to have a “zero tolerance” policy for torture, what Rahime was subjected to is definite proof otherwise. According to the 2019 Country Report of the U.S. Department of State, Turkey’s 2018 Ministry of Justice shared the following statistics: “the government opened 2,196 investigations related to allegations of abuse. Of those, 1,035 resulted in non-prosecution, 766 resulted in criminal cases, and 395 in other decisions. The government did not release data on its investigations into alleged torture.” 4 The story of Rahime Yildiz’s trial lays bare multiple incidents that violate her rights during her detainment in a Tarsus Jail. She described her experience at this jail as follows: “The guards treated me terribly, especially during the body cavity search. They handled me very cruelly and callously during the entire process. Unlike with the other prisoners, they rebuked me relentlessly.” As stated in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners – Rule 51, body searches should preserve the right to privacy and dignity, should be undertaken in a sensitive way, and should never be “used to harass, intimidate or unnecessarily intrude upon a prisoner’s privacy.” This was not the case for Rahime.

Prison and Detention Center Conditions

After her ordeal with the police who took her into custody, Rahime Yildiz was promptly sent with her baby Nil Mualla to the Tarsus Jail. The prison was overcrowded, which exacerbated the difficulty of the situation for Rahime, who had to protect her baby as well. Rahime was brought to a prison dormitory with a maximum occupancy of 26 beds. However, Rahime and two other women joined an existing group of 55 other female prisoners in this tight space. Rahime mentions that “some ladies offered their beds to mothers with children, [but] it was an unbelievably frightening atmosphere!”

Since 2016, conditions in Turkish prisons have been increasingly compromised. Under normal circumstances, the dormitories have separate sleeping and living quarters. However, due to the overcrowding, the living rooms have also been converted into makeshift sleeping areas. Even though the number of prisoners has rapidly increased, the number of beds has stayed the same. As such, the entire floor is usually covered with mattresses lined side by side with some prisoners having to sleep almost on top of others while others do not get a mattress at all.

The Prison Administration should also have been offering special accommodations for breastfeeding women, in addition to providing them with adequate nutrition and living conditions. The prison once again failed willfully in this regard. It had no refrigeration systems, and definitely did not comply with even the most basic hygiene standards. According to Rahime’s interview: “Our cells were full of cockroaches. They were all over us, in our beds, and even on our food. We had to put everything in sealed boxes including our cutlery and plates.” As stated in Nelson Mandela Rule 13, a prisoner’s accommodations shall meet all requirements of health, particularly in regard to space, air and ventilation. This requirement was not met.

The prison also did not offer much in the way of meals. The women usually had to pool what little money they had to purchase more food from the canteen. Moreover, the prison did not provide appropriate food for Rahime’s baby when she started eating solids. Since the canteen was not open each day, this became a problem for Rahime. Rule 22 of The Nelson Mandela Rules states: “Every prisoner shall be provided by the prison administration at the usual hours with food of nutritional value adequate for health and strength, of wholesome quality and well prepared and served.” Although Turkish Municipal Law has these correlative rules in place, they were completely ignored by the authorities. Incarcerated mothers and their children in Turkish prisons were callously and continuously neglected in what constitutes a blatant crime against humanity.

Another significant challenge for Rahime was that people were permitted to smoke indoors. Rahime Yildiz and infant Nil Mualla were put at grave danger given that secondhand smoke in such close quarters makes all prisoners as passive smokers. This is in violation of the Turkish Penal Code which stipulates that sufficient hygiene conditions must be given in prison rooms and sections thereof.

Rahime awaited her trial without formal charges for eight months. During this time, she suffered from asthma and baby Nil Mualla developed an acute mucus congestion because of the secondhand smoke. Both Nil Mualla and Rahime became severely ill around their 40th day in prison. Finally, they were taken to emergency services where Rahime recounts: “the doctor told me Nil would develop apical pneumonia if left untreated, and therefore requested that we be removed from our cell immediately. They transferred me to the prison infirmary for 5 months, but the prison administrator really did not want me there.”

AST’s research reveals that appropriate and sufficient health-care services were often absent in these conditions. Rahime Yildiz required prompt medical assistance because her baby was having a health crisis, but unfortunately her request was not met by the prison administration. A well-established right by the Nelson Mandela Rules, specifically in Rule 24, states that prisoners should have access to “necessary health-care services free of charge without discrimination on the grounds of their legal status.” Whereas in this case, Rahime Yildiz’s right to healthcare was jeopardized by the narrow-mindedness that charged her with terrorism.

As well as these, Rahime was also faced with massive concerns for her safety and security. A mentally ill patient in the infirmary where Rahime stayed during her baby’s illness constantly threatened to kill Nil Mualla. The prison guards offered nothing in the way of protection, so Rahime was left no choice but to go back to her ward, leaving behind the care of the infirmary. Nil Mualla’s security was jeopardized by the prison administration who could have let them stay in another infirmary room. The Bangkok Rules pay ample attention to the continual safety and security of prisoners, especially women prisoners deemed exceptionally vulnerable due to pregnancy and the postpartum periods. The Rules require women to be treated with humanity and with dignity at all times. Human rights advocates emphasize that children in prison with a parent should never be treated as prisoners. Nil Mualla suffered through the same ordeals that adult prisoners faced. These experiences may have created irrevocable traumas for which the Turkish authorities are undeniably. Moreover, the initial imprisonment of Rahime in itself is in violation of Turkish law since it is a member state of the United Nations and should comply with its conventions.

Freedom of Expression and Arbitrary Arrest 

The Turkish government severely constricts the freedom of expression of its citizens, particularly those who are from a select number of political groups. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights presents the essential right to freedom of speech in Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; This right includes freedom to change their religion or beliefs, either alone or in community with others; To manifest their religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Both during Rahime’s custody and even before her trial, her freedom of speech was limited. Moreover, at both her trial and in her time in custody, she had no knowledge of the crimes she was being charged with. She was also not afforded the opportunity to defend herself. In fact, the only question the judge asked during the trial was how she had met her husband!

Rahime Yildiz’s imprisonment was completely arbitrary. The judiciary system lacked neutrality in her case. As stated previously, she had no knowledge of the nature of the accusations against her. Evidently, Rahime Yildiz was treated in this manner because she was a member of the Hizmet Movement. Her arrest was gratuitous, and there was no evidence regarding the alleged crimes presented by prosecutors. Moreover, arrest procedures required by Turkish law stipulate that an indictment must be prepared in the short-term. Rahime waited for the judiciary to file an indictment for eight months. During this time, her lawyer submitted several petitions to both the prison administration and the court board. These petitions were wholly ignored. The European Court of Human Rights emphasizes that a crime and its potential penalty must be proportional. The arrest warrant cannot be utilized as a punishment device within the legal system as it was with Rahime. Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights stresses that the arrest period must be reasonable. According to the practices of the European Court of Human Rights, if the arrest exceeds a suitable period of time, it could be regarded as an infringement and may result in compensation.

Keeping a mother with an ill baby in jail for a disproportionate amount of time is a form of punishment incompatible with human dignity. Rahime’s life in Turkey came to a conclusion as she left the country on the back of a lorry in 2018. This journey with her tiny baby led her to freedom. Unfortunately, Rahime’s story is a reflection of countless others, but these stories are important to document to both increase social awareness and also to leave a lasting impression in history.

References

1 Advocates of Silenced Turkey. “Key Human Rights Violations in Turkey Since the So-Called Coup Attempt.” 2020.

https://silencedturkey.org/wp content/uploads/2020/04/Key_Human_Rights_Concerns_in_Turkey-4.pdf

2 Ibid.

3 Advocates of Silenced Turkey. “Captive Mothers and Babies.” 2020. https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Captive-Mothers-and-Babies.pdf

4 Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State. “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Turkey.” 2019. https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/turkey/



Ozlem Meci: No Respect for Motherhood by Ceyda Tunca

Introduction and Methodology

The Republic of Turkey has faced significant economic, social, and political challenges since the so-called coup attempt of July 15, 2016, as the country officials have been surreptitiously exploiting its resources for their own gains. Turkey’s current authoritarian regime, headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, framed the followers of the Gulen Movement for masterminding the coup. As a result of this coup, over 500,000 thousand people have been either arrested, dismissed from their jobs, or arbitrarily imprisoned. As the country’s systematic crackdown was used to justify the weakening of the protections of the justice system, countless ordinary citizens were subjected to physical and psychological torture that is still ongoing today. Moreover, amongst those victimized were also pregnant women. By virtue of their vulnerable physical state, pregnant women are protected by principles established in many human rights documents such as the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders. However, many elements of such documents were violated indiscreetly and without concern by Turkish systems and officials. In order to document and record these violations, AST has conducted interviews with some of these women. This report utilizes an interview conducted by an AST volunteer and compares it against the human rights guidelines from the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, European Prison Rules, The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Nelson Mandela Rules), and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (Bangkok Rules) to delineate the violations. This report is dedicated to documenting the ill-treatment of one of the hundreds of pregnant women that were detained: Ozlem Meci.

Ozlem Meci’s Story

Ozlem Meci’s story begins before the coup of 2016. By 2013, the Erdogan regime had already begun pressuring Hizmet members in Turkey. The tutoring center where she worked as a teacher was closed down by the governor around April of 2016 due to unspecified reasons. In May of 2016, the police issued a search warrant to find Mrs. Meci’s who had charges of terrorism leveled against him owing to his affiliation with the Gulen Movement. Mr. Meci was not found by the Turkish government, as he had fled for his safety, leaving Ozlem and their daughter behind. After the coup attempt, Ozlem Meci took her five-year-old daughter and moved from Ardahan to Izmir, where her family resided. Around November of 2016, the police showed up at Mrs. Meci’s house and asked her to report to the police station where she was detained for two days. The officers explicitly stated that in addition to her membership of the Hizmet affiliated non-profit organization Sema Foundation, she was also being held simply because her husband could not be found. At the end of these two days, Ozlem was taken to the courtroom and then transferred to prison. At the time, Ozlem was 22 weeks pregnant. The prison conditions took an immense toll on Ozlem and her baby, due to lack of proper bedding, nutrition, and warmth. Her baby was born on the brink of life and death; and yet, Ozlem was still separated from her newborn son for six days after his birth. Fortunately, when this separation leaked into Turkish news outlets, the prison officials took Ozlem to the hospital where her baby was held. Ozlem remained in prison for a cumulative period of 12 and a half months until being released on probationary terms of having to sign-in to a police department every three days. Unable to pursue life and liberty in Turkey any longer, Ozlem and her husband decided to seek refuge in another country in hopes of finding peace.

Section 1: Improper Justification for Arrest

Ozlem Meci’s arrest was based on unlawful terms, as the police officers explicitly stated her arrest was due to “being a member of Sema Foundation, having a monthly subscription to the Zaman Newspaper, sending her daughter to a private school, and especially because of [her] husband.”  The newspaper and the foundation, both being associated with the Gulen Movement, became evidence of criminal activity. The reasoning of the police officers underscores that Ozlem was found guilty on the basis of her political opinion in a country where the constitution clearly grants freedom of belief. Consequently, this accusation violates the Turkish Constitution Articles 10, which states that “Everyone is equal before the law without distinction as to language, race, color, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such grounds,” as well as Article 33 of the Turkish Constitution.

Most significantly, Ozlem was held guilty for the alleged crimes of another individual: her husband. This is a violation of European Prison Rule 14, “No person shall be admitted to or held in a prison as a prisoner without a valid commitment order, in accordance with national law.” These groundless accusations formed the basis of her indictment while she was still 22 weeks pregnant.

 Section 2: Prison and Detention Center Conditions

Some of the most glaring human rights violations in Ozlem’s case was the prison conditions that she faced as a pregnant woman. The prison that she was sent to was appropriately designed to hold 11 people. However, Ozlem was the thirteenth prisoner. Without sufficient space or accommodations, Ozlem was left to sleep on a makeshift bed on the floor in the midst of winter. Over time, the number of prisoners increased to 26 including all the children, which is a common occurrence in Turkey as “women with infants and breastfeeding mothers are forced into overcrowded dormitory-style holding cells” (“Born and Raised in Prison: Turkey’s Captive Children, 17). This blatant disregard for humane conditions for prisoners violates European Prison Rule 18.1 and Nelson Mandela Rule 13, which both similarly state that “All accommodation provided for the use of prisoners and in particular all sleeping accommodation shall meet all requirements of health…”  These conditions coupled with stress, caused a mass to form on Ozlem’s neck, which prevented her from talking — this was only one instance of many in which her health was jeopardized indifferently by those in charge. Thankfully, this mass slowly dissipated over time.

As a pregnant woman in prison, the nutrients that Ozlem needed became even more imperative for the proper growth of her baby boy. Unfortunately, Ozlem stated that “the food given in prison was very insufficient as well as very oily and nutrient deficient.” The prison doctor would often warn Ozlem of complications that could form as a result of these deficiencies. However, when Ozlem asked for advice on what to eat, the doctor would not give her an answer. His lack of response was a direct violation of European Prison Rule 44, which states that “The medical practitioner or other competent authority shall regularly inspect, collect information by other means if appropriate, and advise the director upon: the quantity, quality, preparation and serving of food and water…”

Over the course of routine pregnancy controls that occurred at Menemen Public Hospital, the doctor noted an abnormal enlargement of the baby’s kidney. At 37 weeks, Ozlem was transferred to a hospital after her contractions started and went into labor without having the opportunity to notify her family. Her inability to inform her family is a fundamental issue which violates Article 22 of the Turkish Constitution, which emphasizes the freedom of communication, and European Prison Rules 24.9 which states that “Upon the admission of a prisoner to prison, … or the transfer of a prisoner to a hospital, the authorities shall, unless the prisoner has requested them not to do so, immediately inform the spouse or partner of the prisoner, or, if the prisoner is single, the nearest relative and any other person previously designated by the prisoner.”

 The lack of regard for Ozlem’s health during her pregnancy had pressing consequences for the health of her baby Murat who started to show symptoms of complications following his birth. Hence, he was immediately transferred to a private hospital. Ozlem, on the other hand, was sent straight back to prison only a day after giving birth and was denied her right to see her baby or to be informed about his condition. Ozlem’s family only found out about her birth when the private hospital asked for the ID of the newborn and pressed the prison officials to notify the family to process the ID. Throughout the six days that Ozlem was separated from Murat, the prison guards gave Ozlem bags for her to use to pump her milk. However, there was no way for her to preserve the milk which should usually be kept in a refrigerator. In order for the milk to not spoil, Ozlem put the milk bags near the window during February — a cold winter month in Turkey. Ozlem’s brother in law drove a total of three hours every day to transport the milk bags from the prison to the hospital. However, after a few days, the prison guards did not have any more milk bags left and did not make any other accommodations for Ozlem, who had no choice but to pump her breast milk into the prison sink. When her brother-in-law left the prison empty handed that day, this separation of a newborn and its mother was leaked to news outlets. The resultant public outrage led to the involvement of the Minister of Justice. Pursuant to the public pressure, the prison sent Ozlem to the hospital where her newborn was being treated. Ozlem was only allowed to see her baby six days after his birth. Their separation and mistreatment violate Bangkok Rule 9, which states: “Many women worldwide who are admitted to prison are accompanied by their children, who may remain with them in prison, sometimes for long periods. It is vital to respect such children’s right to the highest attainable standards of health…”

Section 3: Ill-treatment and Inhumane Conditions

Murat’s recovery process radically accelerated once he was united with his mother. After he had fully recovered, both Murat and Ozlem were transported back to prison. However, the prison was not accommodated with proper heating and hot water. As a result, Ozlem requested a heater to keep her baby warm many times from the prison officials but was denied every time. In their denial, Ozlem was forced to think of alternate solutions: with the help of other prisoners, Ozlem would bathe Murat with cold water as her friends would hold a hairdryer towards the baby to keep him warm. These inhumane conditions are evidence of the intentional violations of human rights in Turkish prisons and constitute a direct violation to European Prison Rule 36.3 which states that “Special accommodation shall be set aside to protect the welfare of such infants” as well as the Nelson Mandela Rule 16 and Turkish Constitution Article 17. For the next six months, baby Murat had severe sleeping and gas issues; moreover, he would also throw up exceptionally often. When Ozlem took Murat to the prison doctor, nothing conclusive was found. Once Ozlem had the opportunity to take Murat to the hospital after they were released from prison, when he was nine months old, she was told that Murat had gone through a severe infection. All in all, it took a total of 12 and a half months for the court to release Ozlem and her baby after she was sent to prison.

Conclusion

Fortunately, Ozlem Meci and her baby Murat were able to reunite with her family after a year-long separation. Her family made the decision to relocate to another country in hopes of living a normal life again. Ozlem’s circumstances are not unique in Turkey and constitute a pattern of behavior by Turkish officials that are definitively insulting to human dignity and which are proof of a cavalier disregard for the sanctity of life. It is absolutely apparent that these events threatened baby Murat’s life and wellbeing, and that they should not be overlooked or taken lightly. It is critical to recall that no human life is in vain, but the Turkish Government does not treat those accused of being followers of the Gulen movement as fellow humans. This report sheds light on only one of many who have gone through similar events. Many people have lost their jobs, freedom, and life under the Erdogan regime. There are 864 infants and babies in Turkey’s prisons facing the same hostile environments that young Murat spent the first year of his life in. It is imperative to note these events in hopes of obtaining justice one day.

References

1- Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. https://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/constitution_en.pdf

2- European Prison Rules. https://rm.coe.int/european-prison-rules-978-92-871-5982-3/16806ab9ae

3- Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and Related Recommendations. New York:

4- United Nations, Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, 1958. Print. https://www.unodc.org/documents/justice-and-prison-reform/Nelson_Mandela_Rules-E-ebook.pdf

5- The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for

6- Women Offenders. https://www.unodc.org/documents/justice-and-prison-reform/Bangkok_Rules_ENG_22032015.pdf

7- Advocates of Silenced Turkey. “Captive Mothers and Babies.” 2020. https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Captive-Mothers-and-Babies.pdf


 

Deniz Hanim: Forced into Hiding by Nihal Kariparduc

INTRODUCTION

The coup attempt of July 2016 in Turkey marked a monumental turning point in Turkey’s political history. Erdogan blamed Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who is based in Pennsylvania, for masterminding the coup and began a systematic process of arresting sympathizers to the Gulen Movement. Any and all connections to the Gulen Movement, such as holding an account at a bank associated with the movement, were used as evidence of terrorism crimes.

But what truly gave Erdogan this power? Erdogan declared a victory in a referendum which gave him access to sweeping new powers allowing him to bypass the normal parliamentary process to implement new policy. After the referendum in 2017. Turkey made the transition from a parliamentary system to a presidential one. As a result, the independence of the judiciary, legislature, and media in Turkey has been jeopardized as a result of the Erdogan administration’s action.1 As of 2017, more than 130,214 homemakers, teachers, NGO workers, academics, judges, prosecutors and journalists have been imprisoned.2 Currently, Turkey has jailed more journalists than any other country in the world.3 Now, there are over 200,000 people imprisoned, many of whom are pregnant women, mothers with their children, or people with disabilities and illnesses.

Deniz and her family are one of many families victimized by Erdogan’s persecution. In 2016, Deniz had been working in community relations at an institution run by Gulen supporters for approximately 14 years while her husband worked as a company manager at a separate institution. Deniz and her husband had two children: a 16-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter. They were a typical Turkish family until Erdogan’s regime labeled them as terrorists. Deniz’s husband (henceforth referred to as Mehmet) was arrested on August 19th, 2016 and remains in prison to this day. Deniz was tried for her alleged crimes on October 11, 2018 but was declared innocent. This report details the violations of their human rights using an interview conducted with Deniz by Advocates for Silenced Turkey. Her claims were evaluated using the standards set by the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Turkish Constitution.

FAILURE TO INFORM FAMILY

On August 19th, Deniz received a call while at home from the police, notifying her that her husband Mehmet had been arrested. Her kids began to cry when they heard the police officer through the phone. The police did not tell Deniz where her husband was being held. In a panic, Deniz frantically called all the police stations in her province in the hopes of locating him. When she was finally able to find Mehmet, she was not allowed to speak to him.

According to Rule 68 of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (henceforth the Nelson Mandela Rules), every prisoner has the right “…to inform immediately his or her family, or any other person designated as a contact person, about his or her imprisonment, about his or her transfer to another institution and about any serious illness or injury…”4 Deniz was not informed of the institution her husband was taken to and had to take matters into her own hands. She was left to call everywhere in her province and other nearby areas. Mehmet’s location should have been given to her directly without her having to take individual action. Most importantly, Deniz was denied an opportunity to talk to him even after the long hours of searching.

Unfortunately, the Turkish justice system continued to infringe on their rights as human beings, violating both international and domestic standards.

TORTURE AND ILL TREATMENT

Deniz learnt of the conditions behind bars when talking to a fellow prisoner friend of Mehmet who had been released but had stayed in the same cell as her husband. Mehmet’s friend notified Deniz that her husband had been tortured. Moreover, on the day he was arrested, August 19th 2016, the doctor he was taken to reported that he had been assaulted, repeatedly kicked, beaten, clawed, and more. Deniz also learned that during the time that her husband was in custody, he and other detainees were not given pillows and that they had to use plastic bottles to make makeshift pillows.

On the day of his arrest, Mehmet’s family was denied knowledge of his whereabouts, he was tortured, and he was then denied appropriate accommodations. According to the first rule of the Nelson Mandela Rules, “All prisoners shall be treated with respect due to their inherent dignity and value as human beings. No prisoner shall be subjected to, and all prisoners shall be protected from, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, for which no circumstances whatsoever may be invoked as a justification.”5 As similarly stated by Article 17 of the Turkish Constitution, “No one shall be subjected to torture or mal-treatment; no one shall be subjected to penalties or treatment incompatible with human dignity.”6 His treatment at the hands of Turkish officials was a disregard for the “inherent dignity and value” underscored in the Nelson Mandela Rules.7 This is not an isolated incident and is actually representative of the way many sympathizers or members of the Gulen Movement are treated by Turkish institutions.

PRISON AND DETENTION CENTER CONDITIONS

The day to day living conditions at prisons were also not on par with human dignity. Mehmet shared a cell meant for 18 people with 39 others. They did not even have bunk beds; their beds were placed directly on the concrete floor. Prisoners should be afforded enough floor space to live comfortably. The cramped quarters of a cell meant for 18 yet occupied by 39 is definitely not conducive to healthy and hygienic living. The health conditions outlined as “…climatic conditions and particularly to cubic content of air, minimum floor space, lighting, heating and ventilation…” in Rule 13 of the Nelson Mandela were not met.8

The overcrowding of cells has many adverse psychological and physical effects. According to “Overcrowding in Prisons and Its Impact on Health,” “the increase in physical contact, the lack of ventilation and light, as well as a shortage of time spent outdoors favors disease propagation, essentially infectious and parasitic diseases.”9 Moreover, as stated by the same study, overcrowding of prisons leads to a higher rate of suicide, behavior disorders, and psychological disorders. In general, overcrowding of cells leads to a very physically and physiologically draining environment.

RIGHT TO PRIVACY

During the time that Mehmet was incarcerated, Deniz found out that the police were in search of her too. She had to immediately move into her brother’s house to evade arrest. She changed her residency address to her mother’s since her kids needed an address for their school enrollment. During this time, the police officers raided her mother’s house six to seven times in search of Deniz. The situation caused heightened stress for Deniz’s family and disrupted the flow of their day to day lives. If the family suspected another raid, they would take days off work in order to discuss what they should do. This regime took an adverse psychological toll on everyone.

After school, the kids could not directly go home for fear of being followed, so they usually went to their grandparents’ house first. They often waited until sunset and went through dark alleyways and streets to get home. They always looked behind them to see if the police or anyone suspicious was following them. In one instance, Deniz’s son couldn’t turn onto the street his mother was residing at for 40 minutes for his fear of a suspicious man following him. He could not be sure whether the man was a police officer or an ordinary citizen.

The manner in which the police raided Deniz’s mother’s home and their routine of following the children home are in violation of Article 20 of the Turkish constitution, which states that “everyone has the right to demand respect for his/her private and family life. Privacy of private or family life shall not be violated.”10 Both in and out of the home, Deniz’s and her family’s right to privacy was infringed upon.

On October 11, 2018 Deniz was ultimately found by police who had followed her daughter back home from school. She was then taken into custody.

FREEDOM OF THOUGHT

The main reason Deniz and Mehmet were brought to court in their respective cases was due to their employment at an institution operated by Gulen supporters. However, according to Article 33 of the Turkish Constitution, “Everyone has the right to form associations…”11 Being associated with a group or an organization is not a valid reason to be arrested.

During Deniz’s trial, she was asked about why she had evaded arrest, where she worked, and the bank with which she held an account. Deniz explained that she was not running away and that she was only in hiding to be able to take care of her kids. This was because she was the sole caretaker in the absence of their father. In regard to her job, she said that it was a regular job that she had been hired for to perform. She also explained that she used her bank account to receive paychecks. Deniz was released after the trial, 27 months after Mehmet’s — who still remains imprisoned.

CONCLUSION

During Mehmet’s incarceration, Deniz and her children visited him often. However, the security searches they had to endure were intrusive and humiliating. Four or five people would be placed in a room with two officers responsible for a body search. Deniz’s daughter would turn her back to her mother in embarrassment as she saw her mother’s treatment. Deniz reported an incident during which an officer was yelling “You can’t pass through! Take off your clothes!” simply because her daughter was wearing clothing with a zipper. Deniz was finally allowed to help her daughter who was given a shawl to wrap around her waist before being allowed through. After the incident, Deniz’s daughter said, “Mom, let’s never talk about this again. Let’s forget about it.” The family always concealed these events from Mehmet just like he made no mention of his own condition in an effort to enjoy their time together. Trying to brighten each other’s days, the children and their father would take note of and share the fun things they had done recently. They would try to help each other forget about their present situation.

The Turkish government continues to systematically violate the rights of those it considers to be guilty while the public is either largely unaware due to the state-controlled media or actually condones these actions because of their commitment to the government’s narrative.  Deniz’s family is just one of the thousands directly affected by Erdogan’s regime. Families just like Deniz’s are awaiting justice behind the bars of Turkish prisons.

References

1 The Economist. “Turkey is Sliding into Dictatorship.” Apr. 15, 2017. https://www.economist.com/leaders/2017/04/15/turkey-is-sliding-into-dictatorship

2 Advocates of Silenced Turkey. “About Us.” https://silencedturkey.org/about-us

3 The Economist. “Turkey Leads the World in Jailed Journalists.” 2019. https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/01/16/turkey-leads-the-world-in-jailed-journalists

4 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and Related Recommendations. New York: United Nations, Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, 1958. Print.

5 Ibid.

6 Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. https://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/constitution_en.

7 Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and Related Recommendations. New York: United Nations, Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, 1958. Print.

8 Ibid.

9 García-Guerrero, J and Andres Marco. “Overcrowding in Prisons and its Impact on Health.” Spanish Journal of Prison Health 14 (2012): 106-113.  http://scielo.isciii.es/pdf/sanipe/v14n3/en_06_revision2.pdf

10 Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. https://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/constitution_en.

11 Ibid.



Dr. Rana: Cruel Treatment by Sara Gwynn

INTRODUCTION

As a candidate to join the European Union, Turkey’s negotiations for further accession were halted in 2018 due to Turkey “[continuing] to move further away from the European Union, with serious backsliding in the areas of the rule of law and fundamental rights…” 1 Some of the key violations include unacceptable accommodations in prisons where “the current population in Turkish prisons is 4-5 times higher than the normal capacity,” the use of various torture methods such as “severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks, waterboarding, sleep deprivation, stress positions, long solitary confinement, and [deprivation] of food and water,” reports of abductions, and an alarming amount of women and children being detained in unfit prison conditions. 2 Likewise, various sources show the same evidence of abductions, disappearances, arbitrary detention, torture, and unfit detainment/prison conditions in Turkey during 2018 and 2019.3 All of this evidence has shown a necessity for reform in the Turkish government to stop the continuous infringement of the human rights of Turkish citizens.

This report is based on the experience of Dr. Rana, a once high standing doctor in Turkey who was arrested on the basis that she was a member of the Hizmet movement — the group allegedly responsible for the 2016 coup. On this basis alone, Dr. Rana had her rights violated and lost a sense of safety in her home to the point that she smuggled her family out of Turkey and eventually sought asylum in Canada for a new life. Although she was able to escape with her family, Dr. Rana experienced many hardships in order to establish a secure future for her family. She resorted to smuggling her child in a suitcase across the Turkish border and endured the struggles that came with seeking asylum and living life as a refugee. This high price for safety eventually led to a brighter future for Dr. Rana and her family, but normalcy never fully returned to their lives. The desk research done to complete this report looked at official documents, such as the Turkish Constitution, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, European Prison Rules, and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules). Each of these documents establish the rights that humans are entitled to and identify violative acts against human rights. By using these documents, the violations that came from the hands of her government can be identified in Dr. Rana’s experience with the judicial system of Turkey.

ARBITRARY ARREST OR DETENTION

The 15th article of the Turkish Constitution protects citizens from being arrested on the basis of their thoughts, opinions, religion, and so forth. 4 However, Dr. Rana’s arrest was solely on the basis of her affiliation with the Hizmet movement rather than substantial evidence or a direct link of her involvement with the attempted 2016 coup. The warrant for her arrest and detainment was an unconstitutional act by the Turkish government and led to further violations of Dr. Rana’s human rights.

PRISON AND DETENTION CENTER CONDITIONS

Dr. Rana was detained for a few days and explained that she didn’t know how anyone could endure such circumstances for a longer period of time. Upon arrival, Dr. Rana was told that her infant could stay with her in the cell or stay in a place away from Dr. Rana with supervision. Dr. Rana chose for her son to be separated from her, a hard decision but one that she later appreciated for the sake of her child. When describing her cell, Dr. Rana explained that it was small and had an overwhelming smell of sewage. The standard accommodation that prisoners are entitled to must “…respect human dignity and… meet the requirements of health and hygiene… especially to floor space, cubic content of air, lighting, heating and ventilation.”9 From her description of the cell, it is suggested that there was improper ventilation in her cell, thus violating the accommodation that she was entitled to while being detained.

In addition to the inadequate accommodation, Dr. Rana was deprived of contact with prison authorities which she should have been entitled to as a detained individual.5 Dr. Rana explained that she spoke to the cameras, yelled from her cell, and even pressed a red call button that supposedly alerted the prison authorities, but no one responded. This lack of contact becomes increasingly more of an issue when Dr. Rana was not given the proper care as a detained individual.

From the lack of supervision and response from prison authorities, Dr. Rana experienced two more violations to her human rights. Being a new mother, Dr. Rana was in discomfort due to her inability to breastfeed and wanted pain relievers in order to cope with the pain along with something to clean herself with when she eventually had to relieve the milk in her breasts. These pleas were not acknowledged or fulfilled by prison authorities. Along with these hygienic requests, her requests for clean water to drink were also ignored. These two instances violate The European Prison Rules, which states that prisoners are entitled to clean drinking water at all times, a clean living space, and the needed toiletries to maintain personal hygiene. Women specifically are entitled to “sanitary towels provided free of charge and a regular supply of water to be made available for the personal care of children and women, in particular women involved in cooking and those who are pregnant, breastfeeding or menstruating.” 6 Dr. Rana was subjected to an unclean environment and denied the right to maintain personal hygiene in regards to her breastfeeding needs because no guards or prison authorities upheld their responsibilities. Furthermore, no drinking water was made available to her and Dr. Rana was put in a degrading situation where she needed to use the water from the toilet of her cell as drinking water. This also posed a potential risk to her health.

CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT AND PUNISHMENT

Torture or other degrading or cruel treatment is a prohibited practice on humans and is described by the United Nations as “…any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted by or at the instigation of a public official on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or confession, punishing him for an act he has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating him or other persons…” 7 Despite the Turkish government’s “zero tolerance for torture policy,” many reports on Turkey mention sexual assaults, physical beatings, and other harmful experiences for detainees in Turkey.8 In Dr. Rana’s experience, she was subjected to emotional abuse and manipulation in order to get a fabricated confession from her. While being detained, Dr. Rana was urged to confess to crimes that she did not commit under the promise that it was the only way that she would be able to raise her son outside of a prison cell. This intimidation combined with the physical discomfort of her detainment cell and the mental toll of being separated from her newborn could be seen as factors used to try and control Dr. Rana, suggesting the use of psychological torture on Dr. Rana.

CONCLUSION

By sharing her story, Dr. Rana has shown the necessity for change and reform in the Turkish government. From her arbitrary arrest to the violations that she experienced during her detainment, Dr. Rana has shared another victimized experience from the current Turkish regime. And while Dr. Rana has done her best to escape an environment that failed to uphold her human rights, these infringements continue to persist in Turkey. 9 The Turkish government continues to practice unethical treatment towards detained individuals and to purposefully neglect the accommodations to which they are entitled.10 Without change, unconstitutional arrests are likely to persist, and victims will continue to endure violations at the hands of their own government.

References

1 European Commission. “Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions.” 2019.  https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:52019DC0260&rid=6.

2 Advocates of Silenced Turkey. “Key Human Rights Violations in Turkey Since the So-Called Coup Attempt.” 2020.

https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Key_Human_Rights_Concerns_in_Turkey-4.pdf

3 Human Rights Watch. “In Custody Police Torture and Abductions in Turkey.” 2017. https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/turkey1017_web_0.pdf.;

Stockholm Center for Freedom. “HRW Urges UN to Address Human Rights Violations in Turkey.” 2020. https://stockholmcf.org/hrw-urges-un-to-address-human-rights-violations-in-turkey/.;

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Turkey: UN Report Details Extensive Human Rights Violations During Protracted State of Emergency.” 2018. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22853&LangID=E.;

United States Department of State. “Turkey 2018 Human Rights Report.” 2018. https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/TURKEY-2018-HUMAN-RIGHTS-REPORT.pdf.;

Peoples’ Democratic Party. “Urgent Call: Turkish Prisons Have Evolved into Torture Centers!” 2018.  https://www.hdp.org.tr/en/news/from-hdp/urgent-call-turkish-prisons-have-evolved-into-torture-centers/11684.

4 Constitution of the Republic of Turkey. https://global.tbmm.gov.tr/docs/constitution_en.

5 European Prison Rules. https://rm.coe.int/european-prison-rules-978-92-871-5982-3/16806ab9ae

6 The United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for

Women Offenders. https://www.unodc.org/documents/justice-and-prison-reform/Bangkok_Rules_ENG_22032015.pdf

7 The European Convention on Human Rights. Strasbourg: Directorate of Information, 1952. Print.; Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

8 United States Department of State. “Turkey 2018 Human Rights Report.” 2018. https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/TURKEY-2018-HUMAN-RIGHTS-REPORT.pdf;

Human Rights Watch. “In Custody Police Torture and Abductions in Turkey.” 2017. https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/report_pdf/turkey1017_web_0.pdf;

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “Turkey: UN Report Details Extensive Human Rights Violations During Protracted State of Emergency.” 2018. https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22853&LangID=E;

Peoples’ Democratic Party. “Urgent Call: Turkish Prisons Have Evolved into Torture Centers!” 2018.  https://www.hdp.org.tr/en/news/from-hdp/urgent-call-turkish-prisons-have-evolved-into-torture-centers/11684.

9 Advocates of Silenced Turkey. “The Coronavirus Outbreak in Turkey’s Prisons: Analysis of the Cases, Findings, and Recommendations.” 2020.  https://silencedturkey.org/the-coronavirus-outbreak-in-turkeys-prisons-analysis-of-the-cases-findings-and-recommendations.

10 Ibid.

 

 

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

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Following the coup attempt on the 15th of July 2016, the Turkish government under the authoritarian leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken a wave of oppressive actions against not only the alleged coup plotters but also those that are perceived as critics of the regime. Currently, as part of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown, more than 170,000 people including judges, academics, teachers, journalists, police and military officers, and other public servants were dismissed from their jobs. In correlation, more than 217,000 were detained and 80,000 were arrested. Amnesty International reports that detainees were “being held arbitrarily” with “no evidence establishing reasonable suspicion of criminal behavior” and that “only a tiny minority of them were accused of taking part in the actual events of the attempted coup”.
Amid the massive crackdown of hundreds of thousands of dissidents, human rights organizations and the U.N. Human Rights Council have noted that human rights are violated on a large scale by the Turkish government. Arbitrary killings, suspicious deaths of people in custody, forced disappearances, tortures, ill-treatments, injustice, and threats – mostly against the followers of the Gulen movement, Kurds, and the Leftists – were reported widespread during this large-scale witch-hunt.
As people continue to be arrested and many more tortured and abducted, the present brief of Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) highlights some of the key human rights concerns that took place in Turkey during this on-going period.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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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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FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

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

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

 

Hafza Y. GIRDAP
Spokesperson
directorhg@silencedturkey.org

 

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

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

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

Some of the highlights from the report are given below.

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

Some reported incidents are:

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

Some of such drastic actions are as follows:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESOURCE:
Stockholm Center of Freedom


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

 

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AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly Feb 12

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_Feb 12

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 2/5/2018-2/12/2018

1-“[VIDEO] Pro-Erdogan presenter says Cumhuriyet journalists deserve to be executed for their Afrin coverage”
https://turkeypurge.com/pro-erdogan-presenter-says-cumhuriyet-journalists-deserve-murdered-afrin-coverage

2-“Businessman caught using fake ID to survive post-coup witch-hunt”
https://turkeypurge.com/businessman-caught-using-fake-id-survive-post-coup-witch-hunt

3-“Journalist, already under over coup charges, gets 2.5-year prison sentence for insulting Erdogan”
https://turkeypurge.com/journalist-already-coup-charges-gets-2-5-year-prison-sentence-insulting-erdogan

4-“38,500 prisoners convicted over Gülen links: minister”
https://turkeypurge.com/38500-prisoners-convicted-gulen-links-minister

5-“[VIDEO] Academics, doctors detained while watching Gülen speech”
https://turkeypurge.com/video-academics-doctors-detained-watching-gulen-speech

6-“Turkey issues detention warrant for another pro-Kurdish HDP deputy”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-issues-detention-warrant-another-pro-kurdish-hdp-deputy

7-“Another ‘Gülenist’ dies of heart attack in prison: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/another-gulenist-dies-heart-attack-prison-report

8-“NASA scientist sentenced to 7 years in jail over coup charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/nasa-scientist-sentenced-7-years-jail-coup-charges

9-“Report shows number of rights violations increased during OHAL in Turkey”
https://turkeypurge.com/report-shows-number-rights-violations-increased-ohal-turkey

10-“US ‘deeply concerned’ by conviction of NASA scientist Serkan Golge”
https://turkeypurge.com/us-deeply-concerned-conviction-nasa-scientist-serkan-golge

11-“Warrants issued for 17 former Gazi University staffers: 11 detained”
https://turkeypurge.com/warrants-issued-17-former-gazi-university-staffers-11-detained

12-“Wives of 13 dismissed police officers under custody”
https://turkeypurge.com/wives-13-dismissed-police-officers-custody

13-“[VIDEO] Former law faculty dean detained over Gülen links”
https://turkeypurge.com/video-former-law-faculty-dean-detained-gulen-links

14-“University student jailed for insulting Erdogan two years ago”
https://turkeypurge.com/university-student-jailed-insulting-erdogan-two-years-ago

15-“European Parliament urges Turkey to end post-coup emergency rule”
https://turkeypurge.com/european-parliament-urges-turkey-end-post-coup-emergency-rule

16-“Turkey to confiscate billion-dollar holding over coup charges: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-confiscate-billion-dollar-holding-coup-charges-report

17-“Teacher couple detained after speaking out during interview by Finland’s state broadcaster”
https://turkeypurge.com/teacher-couple-detained-interview-finnish-state-broadcaster-yle

18-“Turkish prisons at 13 percent overcapacity: lawmaker”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-prisons-13-percent-overcapacity-lawmaker

19-“Books, magazines by anti-gov’t Furkan foundation seized as criminal evidence”
https://turkeypurge.com/books-magazines-anti-govt-furkan-foundation-seized-criminal-evidence

20-“Journalist Cem Bahtiyar jailed pending trial over terror charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/journalist-cem-bahtiyar-jailed-pending-trial-terror-charges

21-“Enes Kanter faces 4 years in jail for ‘insulting’ Turkish basketball federation head”
https://turkeypurge.com/enes-kanter-faces-4-years-jail-insulting-turkish-basketball-federation-head

22-“Erzurum tea house temporarily closed over Kurdish-language song”
https://turkeypurge.com/erzurum-tea-house-temporarily-closed-kurdish-language-song

23-“Chemistry teacher gets 10-year jail time over Gulen links”
https://turkeypurge.com/chemistry-teacher-gets-10-year-jail-time-gulen-links

24-“64 military academy students, officers sentenced to life in prison over coup charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/64-military-academy-students-officers-sentenced-life-prison-coup-charges

25-“Vision-impaired journalist, under arrest for 7 months, denied access to Braille books in prison”
https://turkeypurge.com/vision-impaired-journalist-arrest-6-months-denied-access-braille-books-prison

26-“Turkish LGBT activist goes on hunger strike in support of transgender woman jailed in Tekirdağ”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-lgbt-activist-goes-hunger-strike-support-transgender-woman-jailed-tekirdag

27-“Turkish activist detained in southeast Turkey: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-activist-detained-southeast-turkey-report

28-“Labour Party Bursa head put in pre-trial detention: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/labour-party-bursa-head-put-pre-trial-detention-report

29-“Video purportedly shows Turkish soldiers beat Kurdish villager in Afrin”
https://turkeypurge.com/video-purportedly-shows-turkish-soldiers-beat-kurdish-villager-afrin

30-“Dear Osman, dear Ahmet, dear Selahattin – speech in EP Plenary, Joint debate Turkey”
https://silencedturkey.org/kati-piris-speech-in-ep-plenary-joint-debate-on-turkey

31-“US Politician Margo Davidson Reflects On Her Visit To Turkish Refugees In Greece”
https://stockholmcf.org/us-politician-margo-davidson-reflects-on-her-visit-to-turkish-refugees-in-greece/

32-“Survey: 1,2 Million People Victimised By Emergency Rule In Turkey”
https://stockholmcf.org/survey-12-million-people-victimised-by-emergency-rule-in-turkey-2/

33-“US Consulate Hands Staff Member Over To Turkish Authorities”
https://stockholmcf.org/us-consulate-hands-staff-member-over-to-turkish-authorities/

34-“İstanbul’s Former Governor Mutlu Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison Over Gülen Links”
https://stockholmcf.org/istanbuls-former-governor-mutlu-sentenced-to-3-years-in-prison-over-gulen-links/

35-“Female Journalists Say Turkish Police Beat Them, Threatened Rape During Raid”
https://stockholmcf.org/female-journalists-say-turkish-police-beat-them-threatened-rape-during-raid/

36-“Religious Group Leader Critical Of Turkish Government Put In Pretrial Detention”
https://stockholmcf.org/religious-group-leader-critical-of-turkish-government-put-in-pretrial-detention/

37-“No Freedom Of Speech In Turkey Even For The Robots”
https://stockholmcf.org/no-freedom-of-speech-in-turkey-even-for-the-robots/

38-“European Parliament Strongly Condemns Human Rights Violations In Turkey”
https://stockholmcf.org/european-parliament-strongly-condemns-human-rights-violations-in-turkey/

39-“Turkish Gov’t Detains Dozens, Including Former Top Judiciary Official, Over Alleged Links To Gülen Movement”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-detains-dozens-including-former-top-judiciary-official-over-alleged-links-to-gulen-movement/

40-“Only 1 released in trial of jailed journalists facing coup charges”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/06/only-1-released-in-trial-of-jailed-journalists-facing-coup-charges/

Türkiye tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 2/5/2018-2/12/2018

1-“Cezaevlerinde taciz edilen de var, banyosuna kamera yerleştirilen de”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cezaevlerinde-taciz-edilen-de-var-banyosuna-kamera-yerlestirilen-de-h111981.html

2-“AKP rejimi tutuklu ‘Verem’ hastasına raporlara rağmen ilaç vermiyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/akp-rejimi-tutuklu-verem-hastasina-raporlara-ragmen-ilac-vermiyor-h111909.html

3-“Ümit Horzum ve diğer kaçırılanlara ne oldu?”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/umit-horzum-ve-diger-kacirilanlara-ne-oldu-h111887.html

4-“UNICEF: 2018’in ilk ayında Suriye’de en az 60 çocuk öldürüldü”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/unicef-2018in-ilk-ayinda-suriyede-en-az-60-cocuk-olduruldu-h111795.html

5-“AİHM’den Cizre savunması talebine AKP yönetiminden skandal cevap!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/aihmden-cizre-savunmasi-talebine-akp-yonetiminden-skandal-cevap-h111772.html

6-“TEM’de bebekler ve anneler çok kötü şartlarda gözaltında tutuluyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/temde-bebekler-ve-anneler-cok-kotu-sartlarda-gozaltinda-tutuluyor-h111732.html

7-“Hak ihlalleri son 13 yılda yüzde 571 arttı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/hak-ihlalleri-son-13-yilda-yuzde-571-artti-h112049.html

8-“AYM, Avukata ceza veren mahkemenin hak ihlalinde bulunduğunu açıkladı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/aym-avukata-ceza-veren-mahkemenin-hak-ihlalinde-bulundugunu-acikladi-h112013.html

9-“Cep telefonunda Gülen’in videolarını izlediği gerekçesiyle gözaltı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/cep-telefonunda-gulenin-videolarini-izledigi-gerekcesiyle-gozalti-h112008.html

10-“Tutuklu kadın gazeteci Hanım Büşra Erdal için destek mektubu var”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/tutuklu-kadin-gazeteci-hanim-busra-erdal-icin-destek-mektubu-var-h112002.html

11-“Erdoğan rejiminin yatırımları: 140 yeni hapishane yapılıyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/erdogan-rejiminin-yatirimlari-140-yeni-hapishane-yapiliyor-h111927.html

12-“Skandal karar! Polis genç kadına tecavüz etti mahkeme beraat kararı verdi”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/skandal-karar-polis-genc-kadina-tecavuz-etti-mahkeme-beraat-karari-verdi-h111917.html

13-“Alparslan Kuytul, adliyeye sevk edildi; binlerce gönüllü bekliyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/alparslan-kuytul-adliyeye-sevk-edildi-binlerce-gonullu-bekliyor-h111901.html

14-“Erdoğan’a hakaretten üniversite öğrencisi tutuklandı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/erdogana-hakaretten-universite-ogrencisi-tutuklandi-h111875.html

15-“Oxfam açıkladı: Binlerce kişi sınırda mahsur kaldı, ÖSO haraç alıyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/oxfam-acikladi-binlerce-kisi-sinirda-mahsur-kaldi-oso-harac-aliyor-h111789.html

16-“AKP rejimi Furkan Vakfı’nın temsilciliklerini bir gecede mühürledi!”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/akp-rejimi-furkan-vakfinin-temsilciliklerini-bir-gecede-muhurledi-h111784.html

17-“Alperen Ocakları’nın LGBTİ’leri tehdidi ‘ifade özgürlüğü’ sayıldı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/alperen-ocaklarinin-lgbtileri-tehdidi-ifade-ozgurlugu-sayildi/

18-“Çocuk tacizcisi polise 40 yıl hapis cezası”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/cocuk-tacizcisi-polise-40-yil-hapis-cezasi/

19-“Cezaevlerinde hak ihlalleri raporu: Ters kelepçe, cinsel taciz…”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/cezaevlerinde-hak-ihlalleri-raporu-ters-kelepce-cinsel-taciz/

20-“Cemaat’ten 40 bin, PKK’dan 10 bin, IŞİD’den bin kişi içerde”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/cezaevinde-kalamaz-raporuna-karsin-tahliye-edilmeyen-mahkum-yasamini-yitirdi-h111653.html

21-“NASA çalışanı ABD vatandaşı Serkan Gölge’ye 8 yıl hapis cezası”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/nasa-calisani-abd-vatandasi-golgeye-8-yil-hapis-cezasi/

22-“‘Afrin’de tüm hastaneler dolu, ilaçlar tükenmek üzere’”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/afrinde-tum-hastaneler-dolu-ilaclar-tukenmek-uzere/

23-“Firari Hukuk Fakültesi Dekanı Prof. Şen yakalandı, tutuklandı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/firari-hukuk-fakultesi-dekani-prof-sen-yakalandi-tutuklandi/

24-“Cumhuriyet çalışanlarını ‘katletmek’ mübah mıdır?”
http://www.diken.com.tr/cumhuriyet-calisanlarini-katletmek-mubah-midir/

25-“Oxford’da öğretim üyeliği: Murat Belge ‘Risk Altındaki Akademisyenler Konseyi’ne başvurdu”
http://www.diken.com.tr/oxfordda-ogretim-uyeligi-murat-belge-risk-altindaki-akademisyenler-konseyine-basvurdu/

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HIV-infected pregnant woman treated inhumanely at the Dicle University Hospital

Ç. K. (27 years old), who lives in a city in Southeast Turkey visited a public hospital last week. She was referred to the Diyarbakir Obstetrics Hospital and when they found at she was HIV-infected; she was later referred to the Dicle University Hospital.

The standby doctor, F.F., refused to perform the operation. As a result, Ç.K. had to wait in the emergency room for five and half hours. Doctor E.A. accepted to perform the operation and Ç.K. was taken inside the operating room at 21:30.

However, the operation could not start due to lack of necessary tools and protective clothing. The materials were requested from the Diyarbakir Obstetrics Hospital. The surgery started at 22:45 At the end of the operation, assistant D.D. said he/she was stuck with a needle and had to leave the operation. The gloves indicated to be 100 percent protective were not protective. The baby and the assistant are both under observation now.

Doctor E.A. accepted to perform the operation if the family could transfer TL 1500 to his/her account before he/she started the operation. Medical personnel, who did not want to disclose their name, indicated that the University president protected the medical professors and that patients are not taken care of before their family or friends pay an amount directly to the doctor. The medical personnel indicated that the “assistants are working in the policlinic, clinic and stay on duty”.

The Diyarbakir Medical Chamber launched an investigation into the operation of the HIV patient in the University hospital and the negligence that occurred later.

[UPDATE: 1/5/2018]

Ç.K.’s husband M.K said, “Dr. Mustafa Kemal Çelen, who is responsible for clinic for infective diseases said he needed time to prepare the operation room. When everything was ready, doctors and their assistants said they could not do it. Three people walked toward my wife in the clinic and screamed at her.”

M.K further noted, “after my wife was accepted to the hospital, a tall doctor came to my wife and said,”I do not care if you or your child die. I will sit and laugh.” I was requested TL 1500 by the doctor that was going to perform the operation. But, after our situation was reported on the news, my wife was quickly discharged from the hospital, and they did not request any money from us. During our two-day stay, we were treated poorly. Noone cleaned the room or took out the trash in the room. My wife has nightmares of our experiences.”

http://aktifhaber.com//saglik/hiv-virusu-tasiyan-hamilenin-esi-doktor-olurseniz-umrumuzda-degil-dedi-h110196.html

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