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Turkish Teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu, Tortured To Death Under Police Custody, Reinstated To His Duty

It was revealed that Turkish teacher Gökhan Açıkkollu, who had been tortured to death under police custody in the wake of a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, over his alleged membership to the Gülen movement, was found innocent after 1,5 years and he was reinstated to his duty(!)

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, which led to the death of Açıkkollu under the police custody, has eventually decided over the innocence of the deceased teacher.

The reinstatement decision for teacher Açıkkolu was given by Turkish Education Ministry on Feb. 7, 2018, with the decision number E.2561776. The official document for the reinstatement of Açıkkolu was delivered by the principal of the school, that he used to work for, to Açıkkollu’s teacher wife, who had also been dismissed from her duty by a government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Thus, the honor of the late Gökhan Açıkkollu was restored by saying a simple ‘pardon’ after 1,5 years passed over his death(!)

Açıkkollu was detained on July 24, 2016 on trumped-up charges of coup plotting and terrorism and stayed in police custody for 13 days, during which time he was subjected to both physical and psychological torture. He was never officially interrogated, and the police did not even take a statement from him. Instead, he was taken from his detention cell every day to face torture and rushed to the hospital when his condition deteriorated, only to be shipped back to detention. He told doctors about abuse and torture; yet, in some cases, his statements were not even registered in medical reports, and evidence of physical abuse was covered up under pressure from the police.

Teacher Açıkkollu was beaten, slapped in the face, kicked in the rib cage, kneed in the back and his head banged against the wall. His medical check-up before he was put in detention showed no signs of any heart troubles; yet, he was pronounced dead due to heart failure. When he collapsed in his cell, emergency services were belatedly called and he died in detention, although official records were doctored to reject the false fact that he died at the hospital.

Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı, the President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV), emphasized that Açıkkollu lost his life in consequence of a heart attack due to the torture he was exposed to in her report.

His family had found out his death when they were called to the İstanbul Forensic Medicine Institute. The ill-treatment for Açıkkollu continued here as well. It was said that the funeral could be given on condition that he was to be buried in “a graveyard of the traitors,” prepared by İstanbul Greater Municipality for the alleged “traitors,” despite he was not tried yet and even his interrogation was not done. Imams assigned by the Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) did not even wash his funeral and they had refused to conduct a funeral prayers for Açıkkollu.

His family had to disinfect the funeral with their own efforts and was obliged to take him to his hometown, Konya province, with their own vehicle. Here too, the imam of the local mosque did not perform the funeral prayer because of the instruction given by the Religious Affairs Directorate by saying that the ‘funeral prayer will not be performed for the traitors.’ So, the last duty for him was also done by his close relatives.

Source:
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-teacher-gokhan-acikkollu-tortured-to-death-under-police-custody-reinstated-to-his-duty/

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UN expert says deeply concerned by rise in torture allegations in Turkey

GENEVA (27 February 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, expressed serious concerns about the rising allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in Turkish police custody since the end of his official visit to the country in December 2016.

Melzer said he was alarmed by allegations that large numbers of individuals suspected of links to the Gülenist Movement or the armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party were exposed to brutal interrogation techniques aimed at extracting forced confessions or coercing detainees to incriminate others.

Reported abuse included severe beatings, electrical shocks, exposure to icy water, sleep deprivation, threats, insults and sexual assault.

The Special Rapporteur said no serious measures appeared to have been taken by the authorities to investigate these allegations or to hold perpetrators accountable.

Instead, complaints asserting torture were allegedly dismissed by the prosecutor citing a ‘state of emergency decree (Article 9 of Decree no. 667)’ which reportedly exempts public officials from criminal responsibility for acts undertaken in the context of the state of emergency.

“The human right to be free from torture and other ill-treatment is absolute and non-derogable, and continues to apply in all situations of political instability or any other public emergency,” the Special Rapporteur said. No circumstances, however exceptional and well argued, can ever justify torture or any form of impunity for such abuse.

“Torture is not only a notoriously ineffective interrogation method, but it constitutes the most fundamental assault on human dignity and is invariably listed among the most serious international crimes, including war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Melzer said by inviting his mandate to visit the country in December 2016, soon after an attempted coup, the Government had demonstrated its commitment to its official “zero tolerance” policy on torture.

“However, the authorities’ failure to publicly condemn torture and ill-treatment, and to enforce the universal prohibition of such abuse in daily practice seems to have fostered a climate of impunity, complacency and acquiescence which gravely undermines that prohibition and, ultimately, the rule of law,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur also said he remained keen to engage in a “direct and constructive dialogue” with the Turkish authorities to achieve full implementation of the prohibition on torture and ill-treatment.

Source:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=22718&LangID=E

 

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AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly Feb 26

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_Feb 26

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 2/19/2018-2/26/2018

1-” Afghan national detained over Gülen links in Izmir”
https://turkeypurge.com/afghan-national-detained-gulen-links-izmir

2-” Luxury Bursa mansion seized from Gulen-linked businessman”
https://turkeypurge.com/luxury-bursa-mansion-seized-gulen-linked-businessman

3-” Owner of Hosta fast-food chain sentenced to 10 years in jail”
https://turkeypurge.com/owner-hosta-fast-food-chain-sentenced-10-years-jail

4-” 786 people detained for opposing Turkey’s Afrin operation in past month: data”
https://turkeypurge.com/786-people-opposing-turkeys-afrin-operation-past-month-data

5-” 567 people detained over Gülen links in past week: gov’t”
https://turkeypurge.com/567-people-detained-gulen-links-past-week-govt

6-” Economics professor from gov’t-closed Meliksah University jailed”
https://turkeypurge.com/economics-professor-govt-closed-melihsah-university-jailed

7-” Politician arrested after WhatsApp messages reported to police by bus passenger”
https://turkeypurge.com/politician-arrested-after-whatsapp-messages-reported-to-police-by-bus-passenger

8-” Teacher couple jailed as newborn twins under grandmother’s care: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/teacher-couple-jailed-newborn-twins-grandmothers-care-report

9-” Woman who miscarried twins during pretrial detention sentenced to 7.5 years in jail”
https://turkeypurge.com/woman-miscarried-twins-pretrial-detention-sentenced-7-5-years-jail

10-” Turkey cooperates with smugglers to catch Gulenists seeking asylum abroad: teacher”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-cooperates-smugglers-catch-gulenists-seeking-asylum-abroad-teacher

11-” Turkish court rules for continuation of arrest of pro-Kurdish journalist: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-court-rules-continuation-arrest-pro-kurdish-journalist-report

12-” Turkey seeks 27-year jail term for 2 university students over ‘pro-Kurdish anthem’”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-seeks-27-year-jail-term-2-university-students-pro-kurdish-anthem

13-” 4 Adana journalists given prison sentences of up to 9 years over terror charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/4-adana-journalists-given-prison-sentences-9-years-terror-charges

14-” Turkey’s opposition leader slams life sentences handed down to Altan brothers, Nazlı Ilıcak”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkeys-opposition-leader-slams-life-sentences-handed-altan-brothers-nazli-ilicak

15-” 15 including pro-Kurdish activist Celalettin Can arrested on terror charges in İstanbul”
https://turkeypurge.com/15-including-pro-kurdish-activist-celalettin-can-arrested-terror-charges-istanbul

16-” Ankara prosecutor issues detention warrants for 47 teachers
https://turkeypurge.com/ankara-prosecutor-issues-detention-warrants-47-teachers

17-” Two Gülen followers abducted in Azerbaijan: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/two-gulen-followers-abducted-azerbaijan-report

18-” 10 including 5 children, 2 teachers detained while seeking asylum in Greece”
https://turkeypurge.com/10-including-5-children-2-teachers-detained-seeking-asylum-greece

19-” 17 Turkish nationals including 6 children claim asylum in Greek islands: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/17-turkish-nationals-including-6-children-claim-asylum-greek-islands-report

20-” [VIDEO] Turkish customs stops container, seizes belongings of exiled businessman”
https://turkeypurge.com/video-turkish-customs-stops-container-seizes-belongings-exiled-businessman

21-” [VIDEO] Journalist Ener: I was released but there are newborn babies in prison”
https://turkeypurge.com/video-journalist-ener-released-newborn-babies-prison

22-” Rights defender Gergerlioğlu gets 2.5 year prison sentence on terror charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/rights-defender-gergerlioglu-gets-2-5-year-prison-sentence-terror-charges

23-” Owner of now-defunct Izmir University detained for funding intercultural dialog events”
https://turkeypurge.com/owner-now-defunct-izmir-university-detained-funding-intercultural-dialog-events

24-” Turkey detains yet another 11 people for criticizing Afrin operation”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-detains-yet-another-11-people-criticizing-afrin-operation

25-” Turks, the leading refugee group in the Netherlands in 2017: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/turks-leading-refugee-group-netherlands-2017-report

26-” Netherlands accepts 73 percent of asylum applications from Turkish citizens: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/netherlands-accepts-73-percent-asylum-applications-turkish-citizens-report

27-” 13 Kimse Yok Mu aid foundation personnel under police custody”
https://turkeypurge.com/13-kimse-yok-mu-aid-foundation-police-custody

28-” [VIDEO] Former TRT producer detained while on way to escape to Greece”
https://turkeypurge.com/video-former-trt-producer-detained-way-escape-greece

29-” Teacher with 25 years of experience working as hotel receptionist after dismissal”
https://turkeypurge.com/teacher-25-years-experience-working-hotel-receptionist-dismissal

30-” 5-months pregnant woman detained as police fail to locate husband: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/5-months-pregnant-woman-detained-police-fail-locate-husband-report

31-” Wedding singers put in pretrial detention over songs in Kurdish language”
https://turkeypurge.com/wedding-singers-put-pretrial-detention-songs-kurdish-language

32-” Family of visually impaired journalist says his whereabouts are unknown”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/25/family-of-visually-impaired-journalist-says-his-whereabouts-are-unknown/

33-” 13 Kimse Yok Mu aid foundation officials detained over Gülen links”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/23/13-kimse-yok-mu-aid-foundation-officials-detained-over-gulen-links/

34-” 80 women reportedly subjected to inhumane treatment at Mersin police station”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/26/80-women-reportedly-subjected-to-inhumane-treatment-at-mersin-police-station/

35-” Erdoğan to embark on new Africa tour targeting Gülen movement”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/25/erdogan-to-embark-on-new-africa-tour-targeting-gulen-movement/

36-” ‘Merciless, unjust and unfair,’ author Pamuk says of conviction of journalists”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/22/merciless-unjust-and-unfair-author-pamuk-says-of-conviction-of-journalists/

37-” Amnesty report says dissent being ruthlessly suppressed in Turkey”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/22/amnesty-report-says-dissent-being-ruthlessly-suppressed-in-turkey/

38-” Prominent rights activist gets 2.5-year jail sentence on terror charges”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/22/prominent-rights-activist-gets-2-5-year-jail-sentence-on-terror-charges/

39-” Turkey arrests 16 HDP, HDK officials including prominent figure”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/21/turkey-arrests-16-hdp-hdk-officials-including-prominent-figure/

40-” 4 journalists receive sentences of up to 9 years in prison”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/20/4-journalists-receive-sentences-of-up-to-9-years-in-prison/

41-” Investigation launched into imam questioning donations to mosques”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/20/investigation-launched-into-imam-questioning-donations-to-mosques/

42-” Turkey’s Erdoğan Vows To Pursue Gülen Movement Followers Who ‘Escaped The Sword’”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkeys-erdogan-vows-to-pursue-gulen-movement-followers-who-escaped-the-sword/

43-” Kurdish Media Reports That Yezidis In Afrin Afraid Of A Genocide By Turkish Military”
https://stockholmcf.org/kurdish-media-reports-that-yezidis-in-afrin-afraid-of-a-genocide-by-turkish-military/

44-” Turkish Teacher, Not Assigned Over His Alleged Links To Gülen Movement, Killed In Workplace Accident”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-teacher-not-assigned-over-his-alleged-links-to-gulen-movement-killed-in-workplace-accident/

45-” Transparency Int’l Index Shows Level Of Corruption In Turkey Worsens Dramatically”
https://stockholmcf.org/transparency-intl-index-shows-level-of-corruption-in-turkey-worsens-dramatically/

Türkiye tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 2/19/2018-2/26/2018

1-” Kürtçe şarkı söyleyen müzisyenlerle düğün sahibi tutuklandı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/kurtce-sarki-soyleyen-muzisyenlerle-dugun-sahibi-tutuklandi-h112815.html

2-” Hizmetten olduğu gerekçesiyle ataması yapılmayan öğretmen iş kazasında öldü”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/hizmetten-oldugu-gerekcesiyle-atamasi-yapilmayan-ogretmen-is-kazasinda-oldu-h112805.html

3-” Ayşen Gruda’dan Koçyiğit’e sert çıkış: Daha ne yapsınlar pardon, kamçıyla mı dövsünler bizi?”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/aysen-grudadan-kocyigite-sert-cikis-daha-ne-yapsinlar-pardon-kamciyla-mi-dovsunler-bizi-h112804.html

4-” Mersin Emniyeti’nde gözaltına alınan kadınlara işkence yapılıyor iddiası”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/mersin-emniyetinde-gozaltina-alinan-kadinlara-iskence-yapiliyor-iddiasi-h112803.html

5-” Gazetecilerin yargılandığı davada karar çıkmadı; Mart ayına ertelendi”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/gazetecilerin-yargilandigi-davada-karar-cikmadi-mart-ayina-ertelendi-h112801.html

6-” Hamile ve 3 çocuklu anneyi eşini bulamayınca gözaltına aldılar”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/hamile-ve-3-cocuklu-anneyi-esini-bulamayinca-gozaltina-aldilar-h112795.html

7-” Orhan Pamuk’tan Altanlar ve Ilıcak’a müebbete tepki: Acımasız, haksız ve adaletsiz”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/orhan-pamuktan-altanlar-ve-ilicaka-muebbete-tepki-acimasiz-haksiz-ve-adaletsiz-h112683.html

8-” Kürtçe ıslık çalan öğrencilere 27,5 yıl hapis cezası; darp eden polise takipsizlik”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/kurtce-islik-calan-ogrencilere-275-yil-hapis-cezasi-darp-eden-polise-takipsizlik-h112687.html

9-” İnternette sansür düzenlemesi Meclis’te kabul edildi”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/internette-sansur-duzenlemesi-mecliste-kabul-edildi-h112679.html

10-” Af Örgütü: Türkiye’de keyfi ve cezalandırma amaçlı gözaltılarla adil olmayan yargılamalar var”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/af-orgutu-turkiyede-keyfi-ve-cezalandirma-amacli-gozaltilarla-adil-olmayan-yargilamalar-var-h112665.html

11-” Tekirdağ’da öğretmen Hizmet Hareketi’nden dolayı tecritte tutuluyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/tekirdagda-ogretmen-hizmet-hareketinden-dolayi-tecritte-tutuluyor-h112621.html

12-” Ünlü İşadamları Bankasya’ya para yatırdıkları gerekçesiyle tutuklandı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/unlu-isadamlari-bankasyaya-para-yatirdiklari-gerekcesiyle-tutuklandi-h112599.html

13-” Boydaklar için flaş karar!”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/boydaklar-icin-flas-karar-h112522.html

14-” Afrin harekatı nedeniyle 786 gözaltı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/afrin-harekati-nedeniyle-786-gozalti-h112501.html

15-” Eski HDP’li Milletvekili Ayla Akat Ata gözaltına alındı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/eski-hdpli-milletvekili-ayla-akat-ata-gozaltina-alindi-h112500.html

16-” Çuvalda taşınan Muharrem ile ilgili itiraz reddedildi, Dosya AYM’ye gidiyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/cuvalda-tasinan-muharrem-ile-ilgili-itiraz-reddedildi-dosya-aymye-gidiyor-h112492.html

17-” Cezaevindeki engelli gazeteci Cüneyt Arat’tan haber alınamıyor!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cezaevindeki-engelli-gazeteci-cuneyt-arattan-haber-alinamiyor-h112826.html

18-” Sağlık sorunlarına rağmen 78 yaşındaki Sise Bingöl tahliye edilmiyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/saglik-sorunlarina-ragmen-78-yasindaki-sise-bingol-tahliye-edilmiyor-h112820.html

19-” Diyarbakır Barosu ve İHD: Özel işkence ekibi kuruldu!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/diyarbakir-barosu-ve-ihd-ozel-iskence-ekibi-kuruldu-h112786.html

20-” Türkiye’deki sözde ‘adil’ hukukla 4 çocuk daha anne babasız kaldı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/turkiyedeki-sozde-adil-hukukla-4-cocuk-daha-anne-babasiz-kaldi-h112619.html

21-” Kanser hastası 4 gündür Iğdır Emniyeti’nde gözaltında tutuluyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/kanser-hastasi-4-gundur-igdir-emniyetinde-gozaltinda-tutuluyor-h112506.html

22-” Metris’te tutukluyu öldüresiye dövdüler; gardiyanlar görmezden geldi”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/metriste-tutukluyu-olduresiye-dovduler-gardiyanlar-gormezden-geldi-h112503.html

23-” Kosovalı akademisyen Zana B.’ye Bylock’tan 15 yıl hapis istemi”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/kosovali-akademisyen-zana-b-ye-bylocktan-15-yil-hapis-istemi/

24-” Paylan: RTÜK düzenlemesi ile internette her şeyi yasaklayabilirler”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/paylan-rtuk-duzenlemesi-ile-internette-her-seyi-yasaklayabilirler/

25-” Antalya, Manisa ve Malatya’da yeni gözaltı ve tutuklamalar”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/antalya-manisa-ve-malatyada-yeni-gozalti-ve-tutuklamalar/

26-” Akademisyenlerin yargılandığı davada hapis cezası çıktı!”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/akademisyenlerin-yargilandigi-davada-hapis-cezasi-cikti/

27-” Kimse Yok Mu Derneği’nin 13 yöneticisine gözaltı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/kimse-yok-mu-derneginin-13-yoneticisine-feto-gozaltisi/

28-” Türkiye, ‘yolsuzluk endeksi’nde 6 sıra daha geriye gitti”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/turkiye-yolsuzluk-endeksinde-6-sira-daha-geriye-gitti/

29-” ‘Yüzlerce Türk çocuk anneleri ile beraber cezaevinde’”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/yuzlerce-turk-cocuk-anneleri-ile-beraber-cezaevinde/

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Turkish Teacher, Not Assigned Over His Alleged Links To Gülen Movement, Killed In Workplace Accident

A Turkish teacher, who has not been assigned by the Turkish government led by autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over his alleged membership to the Gülen movement, was killed in a workplace accident on Saturday.

According to a report by online news outlet Aktif Haber, the recently graduated social science teacher Hasan Songur had to work in a plastic and mold factory in Organised Industrial Zone in Manisa province after he was refused to be assigned to duty as teacher by the Turkish government.

It was reported in leftists Evrensel daily that Songur used to work in a public school as a contracted teacher. However, he was dismissed from this part-time teaching job after he was accused of having links to the Gülen movement over his former job at a factory which was seized over its alleged affiliation to the movement.

He has later started to work at a plastic and cold factory in Manisa province. He lost his life after he was squeezed by a piston of an injection machine as he was working on the plant. Twenty-five-year-old Hasan Songur has reportedly been working in this workplace for last 20 days.

According to the data compiled by the Union of Education (Eğitim-Sen), 41,005 educators including 33,965 teachers, 5,740 academic personnel, 1,300 administrative staff at educational facilities were dismissed by government with 28 decree laws under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Moreover, the teaching licenses of more than 23,464 teachers, who used to work for the private schools affiliated with the Gülen movement, were revoked by the government. The number of the teachers, who have shared the same fate since they used to work for university preparation schools affiliated with the Gülen movement, is officially unknown. However it is assumed that the number is about 30,000.

Source:
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-teacher-not-assigned-over-his-alleged-links-to-gulen-movement-killed-in-workplace-accident/

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80 women reportedly subjected to inhumane treatment at Mersin police station

At least 80 women, including high school and university students, were reportedly subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of officers at the Mersin police station, according to several Twitter accounts and media outlets.

The women were believed to be affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The alleged victims were reportedly detained by police from the Smuggling and Organized Crime Directorate (KOM) after “helping Gülenist families in need of food and resources” in Mersin province, according to a Twitter account named @Turkeydeiskence (Torture in Turkey).

The claim has neither been confirmed nor denied by the Turkish authorities.

The same Twitter account also tweeted that among the detainees are a mother and her 2-month-old infant who have been held in police custody for four days. Also, a 15-year-old high school student has been held in detention at the juvenile facility of the provincial police department.

The Twitter account also claimed that a lawyer representing the detainees fainted at the police department exit after witnessing the torture and ill-treatment of their clients in police custody. (Turkey Purge)

Source:
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/26/80-women-reportedly-subjected-to-inhumane-treatment-at-mersin-police-station/

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Family of visually impaired journalist says his whereabouts are unknown

The family of visually impaired Turkish journalist Cüneyt Arat, who has been jailed over alleged ties to the Gülen movement since July 10, 2017, announced on Saturday that they could not find Arat in his ward in Tarsus Prison and that they have not been given any information about his whereabouts.

Arat was sentenced on Feb. 22, 2017 to six years, three months in prison on charges of membership in the Gülen movement while also getting 10 months, 15 days for allegedly promoting a “terrorist” organization.

He was put behind bars after an upper court upheld one of his convictions, on July 10, 2017. Arat, who is 90 percent visually disabled, had stated that he was first sent to Tarsus Prison and later transferred to the Mersin E-type Closed Prison.

His family members tweeted on Saturday that Arat wanted to be sent to Ankara. Although Arat reportedly told his family during their last phone call to him that “I saw the director. He told me that If I do not want, They will not send me anywhere,” he could not be reached on Saturday. His family members have stated that they are worried about Arat’s health and wellbeing.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF shows that 240 journalists and media workers were in jail as of Feb. 22, 2018. Of those in prison, 205 are in pretrial detention, while only 35 have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 140 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Source:
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/25/family-of-visually-impaired-journalist-says-his-whereabouts-are-unknown/

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Turkey Must Ensure Freedom of Religion under Its Jurisdiction

Introduction

Especially in the recent years, the Turkish government has been known with its arbitrary interferences with human rights and fundamental freedoms. After the corruption investigations that were launched at the end of 2013, the government started targeting the Hizmet Movement (a.k.a. Gulen Movement) claiming that the group was behind the investigations. The corruption case was about members of the ruling party and their family members including sons of cabinet ministers. Even more, the case was allegedly reaching out to then prime-minister Erdogan and his son. The situation got even worsened after the so-called attempted coup happened in July 15, 2016. Erdogan, now the president, has been accusing the Movement of masterminding the coup attempt, whereas the Movement has been strongly denying their involvement. The state of emergency was declared to weather the storm; however, it was then transformed to a tool to justify the government’s strict measures. Main group attacked has been the Hizmet Movement, nonetheless, many people from other dissident groups have also been suffering from the government’s applications. Excessive number of people belonging to dissident groups have either been arrested, imprisoned, faced torture during imprisonment or dismissed from their jobs. There have also been other examples of human rights violations such as asset seizure, passport cancellations and psychological pressure. Not only real persons but also legal entities founded by dissidents were also targeted and shut down by decree laws adopted without parliamentary and judicial oversight during the state of emergency.

Different religious communities also took their shares from the government’s arbitrary implementations. This paper will talk about the different types of discriminatory practices religious groups have been facing in Turkey recently. It will be evaluated whether freedom of religion and belief is respected at the level required the internationally accepted standards. Therefore, for the purpose of this paper different statements from government officials as well as the government’s actions targeting religious groups will be mentioned below.

Freedom of Religion in Turkey

Turkey has been a secular country since 1928 when the provision indicating the state’s religion as Islam was removed as an amendment to the 1924 Constitution. Since then secularism has been one of the core principles enshrined in the Turkish Constitution. The Constitution of 1982, which is in force now, refers to secularism as well and regulates the freedom of religion and conscience. According to Article 24 (1) & (2) of the 1982 Constitution “Everyone has the freedom of conscience, religious belief and conviction. Acts of worship, religious rites and ceremonies shall be conducted freely, as long as they do not violate the provisions of Article 14.” The Constitution also prohibits any form of discrimination including on the ground of religion.

Freedom of religion is also protected under international human rights law documents binding on Turkey which are the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (hereinafter “ICCPR”) and the European Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter “ECHR”). Both ICCPR Article 18 and ECHR Article 9 stipulate freedom of religion and belief as well as include manifestation of his/her religion and belief to the scope. Moreover, the ICCPR specifies Article 18 as non-derogable in Article 4, meaning that even during the state of emergency going on in the country, the government must respect freedom of religion and belief and cannot derogate from its responsibilities. Therefore, Turkey is obligated to ensure that freedom of religion is respected at all levels under its jurisdiction. However, Turkey’s record in terms of religious freedom has not been much praiseworthy. Since its foundation, Turkey has been somehow restricting freedom of religion and belief. Only three groups are recognized officially as minorities which are Greeks, Armenians and Jews. This means all Muslim communities and other non-Muslim groups are not protected specially. This situation itself actually creates inequality between the groups, even though the Constitution promotes for equality.

Anatolia, thus Turkey, has been hosting very different cultures and it is known to be a diverse land for a long time. First and foremost, Alevis are the main group facing discrimination in Turkey. Their places of worships, Cemevis (Cem houses), have been forcefully shut down by the government and are not accepted officially as places of worship. There were even attempts to transform them into mosques. The recognition of minority’s rights and status, such as the right to establish their own institutions, worship places and freely express and practice their faith openly in public, is a problem that has not been addressed since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. Even though Alevis are the second-largest group of Muslims after Sunni Muslims, they have been having these crucial problems regarding recognition for a long time.

Alevis are also targeted by public officials and society. For instance, Mehmet Gormez, former President of the Directorate of Religious Affairs which is an official state institution, has explicitly said they have had two red lines which are not to classify Alevism as different than regular understanding of Islam and not to accept Cemevis as an alternative worship place to mosques. Alevis have been attacked by the society as well. Short time ago, houses of Alevi citizens in Malatya were marked with crosses in red color by unknown people for intimidation.

Problems of Alevis were also brought before the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter “ECtHR”) many times. In a recent case, Izzettin Dogan and Others v. Turkey, the Court decided that Turkey has not been protecting the applicant’s right to manifest their religion properly by not providing them religious services in the form of public service, not granting Cemevis the status of “places of worship,” not recruiting their religious leaders as civil servants and lastly by not providing them funding as part of the Directorate of Religious Affairs’s budget. In the light of these, the ECtHR decided on the violation of Article 9 and Article 14.

Since 2013, especially after the coup attempt in July 2016, the Hizmet Movement, a movement that is mainly inspired by a religious cleric Fethullah Gulen, became a target of the Turkish government for religious persecution and marginalization. Ironically, Fethullah Gulen advocates Sunni-Hanafi-Maturidi Islamic tradition, which symbolizes the belief system of the majority in Turkey. In fact, Fethullah Gulen is a retired cleric who worked for the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Turkey for his whole life. However, in the aftermath of the coup attempt, the Turkish government acknowledges no ethical boundaries at all and declares the Hizmet Movement as ‘Firak-i Dalle” (perverted faith) through the propaganda of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. This term has been frequently used against the Movement and has caused social pressure leading to more discrimination in social life. The Ministry of Religious Affairs consistently publishes sermons constituting verbal harassments towards the Movement every Friday to be read in every mosque during Friday prayers which is, according to Islam not to the state law, obligatory for all Muslim men to attend. Therefore, those statements are heard by majority of the public attending Friday prayers. Mehmet Gormez once said following the “Extraordinary Religious Council” that attributes imputed to the Movement and Mr. Gulen cannot be reconciled with Islam. These indeed prove that the Directorate of Religious Affairs, together with the government, targets the Movement specifically because of their relationship with Mr. Gulen. In today’s Turkey, admiring Mr. Gulen, reading his books and listening to his sermons are considered as actions of crime and people who revere him are labeled as terrorists. Therefore, individuals are not free to choose which understanding of Islam or which Islamic scholar to follow.

Together with these, other beliefs such as Atheism, Shia Islam and different branches of Christianity suffer from discrimination on religious grounds and cannot be considered as free in terms of freedom of religion and conscience under human rights law.

Evaluation

Considering all different types of persecutions religious communities have been suffering, one cannot say that Turkey is complying with its responsibilities under the 1982 Constitution, the ICCPR as well as the ECHR. If the country is secular, then it must be equidistant from all types of beliefs. As the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we would like to remind the Turkish government that it is obligated to ensure freedom of religion under its jurisdiction and also that it must align its domestic law and practices with internationally accepted human rights standards.


Download as a PDF File: AST_2-20-18_Freedom of Religion_P12

 

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AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly Feb 19

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_Feb 19

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 2/12/2018-2/19/2018

1-“Turkey detained 666 people so far for opposing Afrin operation: data”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-detained-666-people-far-opposing-afrin-operation-dat

2-“568 people detained over Gülen links in past week: gov’t”
https://turkeypurge.com/568-people-detained-gulen-links-past-week-govt

3-“UK-educated computer science professor, jailed for 13 months, dies of liver cancer”
https://turkeypurge.com/uk-educated-computer-science-professor-jailed-13-months-dies-liver-cancer

4-“Turkish court sentences wife of alleged coup plotter to 18 years in prison”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-court-sentences-wife-alleged-coup-plotter-18-years-prison

5-“Turkey now demands 10 years for pro-Kurdish HDP co-chairperson”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-now-demands-10-years-pro-kurdish-hdp-co-chairperson

6-“Turkey hands down prison sentences to 205 alleged coup plotters in Ankara: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-hands-prison-sentence-205-alleged-coup-plotters-ankara-report

7-“Teacher, 2 children dead, 5 others missing in attempt to escape Turkey’s post-coup crackdown”
https://turkeypurge.com/teacher-2-children-dead-while-4-others-missing-after-failed-attempt-to-escape-turkeys-post-coup-crackdown-to-greece

8-“Purge-victim architect detained for refusing to stand for Turkey’s national anthem: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/purge-victim-architect-detained-refusing-stand-turkeys-national-anthem-report

9-“Opposition deputy gets 5 years, 10 months in prison: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/opposition-deputy-gets-5-years-10-months-prison-report

10-“73-year old human rights advocate detained for opposing Turkey’s Afrin operation: son”
https://turkeypurge.com/73-year-old-human-rights-advocate-detained-opposing-turkeys-afrin-operation-son

11-“Turkish police raid pro-Kurdish publishing house in Diyarbakır: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-police-raid-pro-kurdish-publishing-house-diyarbakir-report

12-“24-year-old Boğaziçi University student arrested over Gülen links”
https://turkeypurge.com/24-year-old-bogazici-university-student-arrested-gulen-links

13-“7 executives from exporters’ union under custody for depositing money in Bank Asya”
https://turkeypurge.com/7-executives-exporters-union-custody-depositing-money-bank-asya

14-“[VIDEO] Warrants issued for 9 more Boydak family members: 6 detained”
https://turkeypurge.com/video-warrants-issued-9-boydak-family-members-6-detained

15-“Folk band Grup Yorum members in ‘wanted terrorists’ list”
https://turkeypurge.com/folk-band-grup-yorum-members-wanted-terrorists-list

16-“Turkey’s top appeal court says Bank Asya depositors ‘terrorist’”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkeys-top-appeal-court-says-bank-asya-depositors-terrorist

17-“Education Ministry cancels licenses of 1,272 educators on terror charges: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/education-ministry-cancels-licenses-1272-educators-terror-charges-report

18-“8,480 Turkish nationals sought asylum in Germany in 2017: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/8480-turkish-nationals-sought-asylum-germany-2017-report

19-“Turkish judicial board suspends another 17 judges, prosecutors”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-judicial-board-suspends-another-17-judges-prosecutors

20-“Turkey’s judiciary must protect rule of law, says Europe diplomat”
https://www.ft.com/content/11793664-12ac-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277

21-“Turkey blocks access to Furkan news portal on terror charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-blocks-access-furkan-news-portal-terror-charges

22-“HDP deputy to be stripped of parliamentary status for insulting Erdoğan”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/16/hdp-deputy-to-be-stripped-of-parliamentary-status-for-insulting-erdogan/

23-“CoE’s Jagland criticizes Turkish gov’t over human rights violations”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/18/coes-jagland-criticizes-turkish-govt-over-human-rights-violations/

24-“Yücel: I was released with a ruling ordering me to stay in prison”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/17/yucel-i-was-released-with-a-ruling-ordering-me-to-stay-in-prison/

25-“OSCE, UN representatives: Life sentences for Turkish journalists an attack on freedom of expression”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/17/osce-un-representatives-life-sentences-for-turkish-journalists-an-attack-on-freedom-of-expression/

26-“6 journalists including Altan brothers given aggravated life sentences”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/16/6-journalists-including-altan-brothers-given-aggravated-life-sentences/

27-“Slain general’s widow sentenced to 18 years”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/12/slain-generals-widow-sentenced-to-18-years/

28-“US politician describes her visit to Turkish refugees in Greece”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/12/us-politician-describes-her-visit-to-turkish-refugees-in-greece/

29-“EP’s Harms to visit jailed Turkish teacher in Georgia for second time”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/14/eps-harms-to-visit-jailed-turkish-teacher-in-georgia-for-second-time/

30-“Zaman employee says facing life sentence due to a TV commercial”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/14/zaman-employee-says-facing-life-sentence-due-to-a-tv-commercial/

31-“Altans’ lawyer tells judges ignoring top court’s ruling could lead to expulsion from post”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/16/altans-lawyer-tells-judges-ignoring-top-courts-ruling-could-lead-to-expulsion-from-post/

32-“Journalist recounts flight from post-coup crackdown in Turkey”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/02/12/journalist-recounts-flight-from-post-coup-crackdown-in-turkey/

33-“Syrian Kurdish Groups Claim Turkish Army Hit Village In Afrin With Suspected Gas”
https://stockholmcf.org/syrian-kurdish-groups-claim-turkish-army-hit-village-in-afrin-with-suspected-gas/

34-” Turkish Court Rules For Continuation Of Former HDP Co-Chair Demirtaş’s Imprisonment”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-court-rules-for-continuation-of-former-hdp-co-chair-demirtass-imprisonment/ulen-links/

35-“Jailed Turkish Air Forces’ Colonel Reportedly Losses His Life In İstanbul’s Silivri Prison Because Of Negligence”
https://stockholmcf.org/jailed-turkish-air-forces-colonel-losses-his-life-in-prison-because-of-negligence/

36-“Int’l Press And Human Rights Bodies Slam Turkish Court’s Rule Of Aggravated Life Sentences For Prominent Journalists”
https://stockholmcf.org/intl-press-bodies-slam-turkish-courst-rule-of-aggravated-life-sentences-for-prominent-journalists/

37-“Turkish Family Still Missing After Capsized Boat Incident On Turkish-Greek Border”
https://stockholmcf.org/members-of-dogan-family-who-were-on-the-same-boat-capsized-as-crossing-river-on-turkish-greek-border-couldnt-be-reached/

38-“Turkey Witnesses Yet Another Family Tragedy Under Rule Of Emergency Over Alleged Links To Gülen Movement”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkey-witnesses-yet-another-family-tragedy-under-rule-of-emergency-over-alleged-links-to-gulen-movement/

39-“Murat Belge, A Renowned Turkish Academic, Leaving Turkey As ‘Scholar At Risk’”
https://stockholmcf.org/murat-belge-a-renowned-turkish-academic-leaving-turkey-as-scholar-at-risk/

40-“15-Year Prison Sentence Sought For Turkish Journalist Who Founded Two National News Channel”
https://stockholmcf.org/15-year-prison-sentence-sought-for-turkish-journalist-who-founded-two-national-news-channel/

41-“Famous Turkish Businessman Hosta Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison Over His Alleged Gülen Links”
https://stockholmcf.org/famous-turkish-businessman-hosta-sentenced-10-years-in-prison-over-his-alleged-gulen-links/

42-“UK high court refuses Turkey extradition due to overcrowded prisons”
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/feb/15/uk-high-court-refuses-turkey-extradition-due-to-overcrowded-prisons

43-“Human Rights Watch sees no end to Turkish crackdown”
https://ahvalnews.com/press-freedom/human-rights-watch-sees-no-end-turkish-crackdown

Türkiye tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 2/12/2018-2/19/2018

1-“Türkiye’den Almanya’ya iltica başvuruları arttı”
http://www.dw.com/tr/t%C3%BCrkiyeden-almanyaya-iltica-ba%C5%9Fvurular%C4%B1-artt%C4%B1/a-42617056?maca=tur-rss-tur-pol-ger-3312-xml-mrss

2-“Boydak Ailesine soykırım!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/boydak-ailesine-soykirim-h112433.html

3-“Avrupa’dan gazetecilere verilen müebbete tepki: Türkiye’yi ekonomik olarak cezalandırın!”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/avrupadan-gazetecilere-verilen-muebbete-tepki-turkiyeyi-ekonomik-olarak-cezalandirin-h112432.html

4-“Cem Özdemir: Türkiye’de hiçbir şey doğru yürümüyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/cem-ozdemir-turkiyede-hicbir-sey-dogru-yurumuyor-h112427.html

5-“İşadamı Hidayet Kadiroğlu’na Bankasya’ya para yatırdığı iddiasıyla yakalama kararı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/isadami-hidayet-kadirogluna-bankasyaya-para-yatirdigi-iddiasiyla-yakalama-karari-h112423.html

6-“Beştepe Sarayı’na komşu işkence merkezi”
http://aktifhaber.com/analiz/bestepe-sarayina-komsu-iskence-merkezi-h112414.html

7-“‘Niye çıktım, bir sene önce neden tutuklandım, bilmiyorum’”
http://aktifhaber.com/medya/niye-ciktim-bir-sene-once-neden-tutuklandim-bilmiyorum-h112413.html

8-“‘Niye çıktım, bir sene önce neden tutuklandım, bilmiyorum’”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cezaevinde-insalik-disi-muamele-tutuklunun-sirtinda-sandalye-kirdilar-h112286.html

9-“Foto Muhabiri Çağdaş Erdoğan: 4 polis tarafından çırılçıplak soyulup işkenceye uğradım!”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/foto-muhabiri-cagdas-erdogan-4-polis-tarafindan-cirilciplak-soyulup-iskenceye-ugradim-h112231.html

10-“Cemaat üyesi olmakla suçlandı; hamileyken cezaevine girdi ve ikizlerini kaybetti”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cemaat-uyesi-olmakla-suclandi-hamileyken-cezaevine-girdi-ve-ikizlerini-kaybetti-h112187.html

11-“Polis’in tutuklattığı Selma Polat’a 7 yıl 7 ay 7 gün hapis cezası”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/polisin-tutuklattigi-selma-polata-7-yil-7-ay-7-gun-hapis-cezasi-h112178.html

12-“Erdoğan rejiminin cezaevinde kanser ettiği genç akademisyen hayatını kaybetti”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/erdogan-rejiminin-cezaevinde-kanser-ettigi-genc-akademisyen-hayatini-kaybetti-h112130.html

13-“Semih Terzi’nin eşi ‘Sippenhaft’ uygulamasıyla hapis cezasına çarptırıldı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/semih-terzinin-esi-sippenhaft-uygulamasiyla-hapis-cezasina-carptirildi-h112121.html

14-“Afrin operasyonundan dolayı mahkuma dayak attılar”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/afrin-operasyonundan-dolayi-mahkuma-dayak-attilar-h112094.html

15-“Erdoğan Türkiye’sinde siyah transportların sırrı ne?”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/erdogan-turkiyesinde-siyah-transportlarin-sirri-ne-h112395.html

16-“3. havalimanı inşaatında çoğu iş cinayeti sümen altı ediliyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/3-havalimani-insaatinda-cogu-is-cinayeti-sumen-alti-ediliyor-h112342.html

17-“Roboskililer 320 haftadır adalet bekliyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/roboskililer-320-haftadir-adalet-bekliyor-h112332.html

18-“Aram Yayınevi’nin ofisine polis baskınında kapılar balyozla kırıldı”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/aram-yayinevinin-ofisine-polis-baskininda-kapilar-balyozla-kirildi-h112312.html

19-“Bandırma Cezaevi’nde işkence: Dövülen tutsaklar kan kusuyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/bandirma-cezaevinde-iskence-dovulen-tutsaklar-kan-kusuyor-h112339.html

20-“Hapishanelerde büyüyen çocuklar ABD medyasında geniş yer buldu”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/hapishanelerde-buyuyen-cocuklar-abd-medyasinda-genis-yer-buldu-h112303.html

21-“Tutuklular, gardiyanlardan gördüğü şiddetten dolayı yürüyemiyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/tutuklular-gardiyanlardan-gordugu-siddetten-dolayi-yuruyemiyor-h112274.html

22-“AYM bireysel başvuru istatistiklerini açıkladı: Yargı var adalet yok”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/aym-bireysel-basvuru-istatistiklerini-acikladi-yargi-var-adalet-yok-h112269.html

23-“‘Türkiye’de kalmaktansa, Atina’da aç kalmayı tercih ettik’”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/turkiyede-kalmaktansa-yunanistanda-ac-kalmayi-tercih-ettik/

24-“Washington Post’tan Yazıcı’ya destek”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/yabanci-meslektaslarindan-fevzi-yaziciya-dayanisma-mesajlari/

25-“Engelli oğlunu öldürüp intihar eden kadın toprağa verildi”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/engelli-oglunu-oldurup-intihar-eden-kadin-topraga-verildi/

26-“‘Meriç’te can verenler Tayyip Erdoğan’ın kurbanları’”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/mericte-can-verenler-tayyip-erdoganin-kurbanlari/

27-“Darbe davasında gazetecilere ağırlaştırılmış müebbet”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/darbe-davasinda-gazetecilere-agirlastirilmis-muebbet/

28-“Meclis’te bir ilk: Erdoğan’a hakaret suçlamasıyla vekilliği düşürülecek”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/mecliste-bir-ilk-erdogana-hakaret-suclamasiyla-vekilligi-dusurulecek/

29-“63 harp okulu öğrencisi için müebbet istemi”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/63-harp-okulu-ogrencisi-icin-muebbet-istemi/

30-“TOMA’nın ezerek öldürdüğü vatandaş kusurlu bulundu”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/tomanin-ezerek-oldurdugu-vatandas-kusurlu-bulundu/

31-“Engelli oğlunu öldürüp intihar eden kadın toprağa verildi”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/engelli-oglunu-oldurup-intihar-eden-kadin-topraga-verildi/

32-“Erdoğan’dan partisinin ‘KHK eleştirileri’ne: Hayat risktir”
http://www.diken.com.tr/erdogandan-partisinin-khk-elestirilerine-hayat-risktir/

33-“Beş yaşındaki çocuk üzerine 500 kiloluk reklam panosu düşünce öldü, sorumlu yok!”
http://www.diken.com.tr/bes-yasindaki-cocuk-uzerine-500-kiloluk-reklam-panosu-dusunce-oldu-sorumlu-ortada-yok/

34-“AP’de Türkiye’ye insan hakları ve Afrin eleştirisi”
http://www.dw.com/tr/apde-t%C3%BCrkiyeye-insan-haklar%C4%B1-ve-afrin-ele%C5%9Ftirisi/a-42474407

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Turkey sentences journalists to life in jail over coup attempt

Sentencing over alleged role in failed coup in 2016 condemned as devastating precedent that shows disregard for rule of law.

A Turkish court has sentenced six defendants, including three prominent journalists, to life in prison over allegations of involvement in a 2016 coup attempt, in the first conviction of journalists in trials related to the failed putsch.

The harsh verdict was swiftly condemned by press freedom advocates as a “devastating precedent” that shows “utter disregard for the rule of law” in Turkey.

It came after a months-long trial during which it was alleged that the journalists sent “subliminal messages” via TV appearances and newspaper columns urging the overthrow of the government, and that they maintained contact with members of the Fethullah Gülen network, a movement widely believed in Turkey to have orchestrated the coup attempt.

The verdict constitutes a major defeat for press freedom in the Nato member state, which has cracked down on dissent in the aftermath of the coup. At least 73 journalists remain behind bars, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which ranks Turkey the world’s worst jailer of journalists, ahead of China and Egypt.

The journalists sentenced on Friday were the brothers Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, who have been detained since 2016, and Nazlı Ilıcak. The conviction defies an order by Turkey’s highest court to release Mehmet Altan, after it found last month that his imprisonment had violated his constitutional rights.

Sarah Clarke, the policy and advocacy manager for the writers’ association PEN International, tweeted her dismay at the sentences.

The International Press Institute said it was “appalled” by the verdict.

The sentencing came on the same day another Turkish court ordered the release of Deniz Yücel, a German-Turkish journalist who spent just over a year in pre-trial detention without an indictment, in a case that tested relations between Ankara and Berlin and highlighted the precarious state of press freedom in Turkey.

A criminal court in Istanbul decided to release Yücel pending a trial after prosecutors said they had completed their investigation into the journalist. The court accepted the indictment filed by prosecutors, who are seeking an 18-year prison sentence over allegations of spreading propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organisation.

The order to release him was confirmed by the state-run Anadolu Agency, the German foreign minister, and Yücel’s lawyer, Veysel Ok, who tweeted a photograph of Yücel embracing his wife after he was freed.

The Die Welt correspondent was detained on 14 February 2017 after going to an Istanbul police station for questioning. He got married in prison and spent months in solitary confinement at Silivri maximum security prison outside Istanbul. He spent 366 days in detention without formal charges.

Yücel’s detention came amid a deep rift in relations between Germany and Turkey. Berlin barred Turkish ministers from holding rallies in Germany with Turkish citizens ahead of a referendum on presidential powers, and condemned growing authoritarianism under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who in turn has condemned rising Islamophobia in Europe. Talks on Turkey’s future membership of the EU have been stalled for years.

Source:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/16/turkey-sentences-six-journalists-life-imprisonment-failed-coup

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At Least 3 Victims Drowned While Trying to Cross Meriç/Evros River

Victims of Erdogan’s regime are increasing every day, as there has not been an effective mechanism to prevent him. On February 13, Turkish media reported that Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Organization (AFAD) found the bodies of three, including two children, near the Border between Turkey and Greece.

Eight Turkish nationals, including three children, two women, and three men tried to get to Greece by crossing the Meriç/Evros river using a rubber boat. The rubber boat was capsized, and two children, estimated to be around 11 and 3, and their mother drowned. The names of the dead were identified as Ayşe Söyler Abdurrezzak, and her children Abdulkadir Enes Abdurrezzak (11) and Halil Munir Abdurrezzak (3). The rest of the people that were in the same boat are missing. Ayşe Söyler Abdurrezzak, a 37-year-old teacher, and her husband were dismissed from their job due to crackdowns after the failed coup attempt.

Doğan family was also accompanying the Abdurrezzak family. The members of the family, Fahreddin Doğan, his wife Asli Doğan and their 2.5-year-old son, Ibrahim Selim Doğan are still missing.

Thousands of Turkish families have migrated to Greece from Turkey in recent year. Most of these families are sympathizers of the Gulen Movement. The Turkish government accuses the movement of being behind the 2016 failed-coup attempt. The movement denies alleged involvement.

Since the alleged coup attempt, which President Erdogan defined as a blessing from God, Turkish democracy, and justice have continuously deteriorated every day. More than 150,000 people have been detained and nearly 60,000 people, including academics, judges, doctors, teachers, lawyers, students, and people from different backgrounds have been put in pre-trial detention.

In November 2017, Hüseyin Maden, a 40-year-old teacher, who was also dismissed in the crackdown after the failed coup attempt, drowned along with his wife and three children while trying to reach Greek island of Lesvos.

We, as the Advocates of Silenced Turkey, are calling all the international and non-governmental human rights organizations to raise awareness about the drowned Abdurrezzak family and also to take immediate action as regards the problems in Turkey to prevent other families and children from suffering as such. We hope the situation in Turkey will get better for those in Turkey and abroad who are oppressed by the ruling government of Turkey.

Download statement as a PDF: AST_Statement-Abdurrezzak-Family

Download flyer on Abdurrezzak family as a PDF: AST_Flyer_Abdurrezzak family

 

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