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THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK IN TURKEY’S PRISONS: ANALYSIS OF THE CASES, FINDINGS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Introduction

This report informs about the confirmed Covid-19 cases seen in Turkey’s prisons. Based on this and the official statements, the report presents its findings and recommendations.

The notoriously overcrowded prisons in Turkey pose serious health threats to inmates during the coronavirus pandemic, as indicated by the statements of the inmates’ relatives who have reached us, and the written and oral statements in open sources, as well as the reporting of human rights activists and organizations. The recently passed Execution bill is also not able to eliminate those threats due to its unfair and discriminatory nature.

Coronavirus Cases

Numerous audio recordings – which were shared in social media and later whose contents were confirmed by their sources – pointed to the inhumane conditions in prisons. Such claims as in the recordings were also expressed in the statements of many inmate relatives. These indicate that the rights to life of the inmates in prisons – which is among the most basic and universal human rights and protected by the 10th amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey and the article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) – are under clear, serious, and near threat, as asserted by the inmates themselves.

The statements of the inmates and the inmate relatives about the conditions in prisons are listed below.

April 3, 2020: “Ahmet Turkmen, 68, has a history of chronic heart disease and underwent a serious by-pass operation, among other serious health problems. He has been held in Kayseri T-type no. 1 prison for the past three years and his 14-year sentence for being a member of a terrorist organization is on appeal. … Despite the Forensic Medicine Institute’s advice that Turkmen undergo a health check every six months, he has been taken to a health check only once in the last three years. Covid-19 poses a serious threat to Turkmen’s life, who resides with 10 prisoners in a three-person cell. Turkmen’s attorney applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals on March 18th for his release due to the threats that Covid-19 poses to his health conditions.

Ismet Ozcelik, 61, is the former principal of a Malaysian school and has been held in Denizli T-type prison in Turkey since May 2017. Despite applying for asylum to the UN Refugee Agency in Malaysia, Ozcelik was kidnapped in Malaysia and forcibly taken to Turkey. In May 2019, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that Turkey must release Ozcelik and pay compensation for violating his human rights guaranteed by the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. However, Turkey did not implement this decision. … Ozcelik’s 10-year sentence is still in the process of appeal. Ozcelik, who has a heart condition, reported that no timely medical intervention was provided to him when he felt he had a heart attack in 2019. Ozcelik’s attorney stated that despite the significant amount of time that passed, he was not provided with a copy of the detailed report for the health check Ozcelik underwent following his emergency complaint. Ozcelik’s attorneys applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals in mid-March for his release due to the threats that Covid-19 poses to his health conditions.

Hussein Soykan, 48, a former police officer, has been held in Karaman M-type prison for 44 months. … Medical reports show that Soykan has a chronic lung condition and that one of his lungs had collapsed (pneumothorax) in the past. He was rushed to hospital twice while in prison. Soykan stays with 28 prisoners in an eight-person cell. Another prisoner in the same cell, Amir Gulaç, died on October 20, 2019, shortly after his attorney pleaded about the poor prison conditions having negative impacts on the health of prisoners. Gulac’s cause of death is thought to be heart failure. The Forensic Medicine Institution is expected to release the autopsy report on Gulac’s death. Covid-19 is seemingly a lethal threat to Soykan, given his health conditions. Due to the severity of his health conditions, Soykan’s attorney applied to the Supreme Court of Appeals on March 19 for his release. [1]

May 8, 2020: In the B12 cell of the Silivri prison no. 7, inmate Huseyin Kacan’s examination request was refused by officials despite him repeatedly saying that “We are not feeling okay, test us (for the coronavirus)”. There are 39 inmates in the B12 cell. It is claimed that the prison administration has not dealt with the inmates despite the coronavirus symptoms seen on April 25. Although the seriousness of the situation was understood after a 48-year old inmate fainted, no testing attempt was taken. After the relatives of those staying at the cell called Alo 184, the national emergency number, the Ministry of Health sent first responders to the prison for testing. The testing was conducted on May 6, 2020 and the test results were released on May 7, 2020. According to the results obtained from the E-Nabız (the ministry’s health portal), everyone in the cell tested positive. Nevertheless, the prison administration took no action for those inmates. They still refuse to do anything for their treatment. [2]

May 8, 2020: D, whose husband is in the B-12 cell, does not want to be named because she is worried about the health of her husband’s parents who have heart disease. After learning that her 39-year old husband tested positive for Covid-19, D described what happened to the Arti Gercek news: “After I learned about the cases in the cell C-7, I was worried and asked him about their situation. He said that ‘On Monday, they took away two friends from the cell and never brought them back, I think they tested positive. As a matter of fact, we all fell ill, it was like a flue, some have thrown up’. I asked if they were tested. ‘Put aside testing, we are given only a small amount of soup for both sahur and iftar. The situation is so desperate. The phone call is the

first time we were given masks’, said my husband”. Ekrem Solmaz, the father of another inmate, Yasin Solmaz from cell C-7, also found out last night that his son’s Covid-19 test was positive. [3]

May 11, 2020: HDP Kocaeli deputy, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu called attention on the huge jump in the number of Covid-19 cases in Silivri prison. Gergerlioğlu had earlier announced that there were Covid-19 cases at cells B-10, B-12, C-7 in Silivri prison no. 7. Recently he added that there are also cases at cell C-6 of Silivri prison no.8 and the coronavirus is spreading to cell 5. [4]

May 11, 2020: An inmate’s relative, whose husband is held in cell C-6, and who wants to remain anonymous, said that some 30 inmates in the cell have tested positive and 4 inmates have tested negative whereas the remaining few inmates’ test results were not informed. She also added that while those who have tested negative were taken to another cell, those who have tested positive remain in the same cell and are not receiving any sorts of treatment. Emphasizing the seriousness of the situation, the inmate’s relative stated “The incident dates back a while. Numerous inmates in the cell had high fever complaints two weeks ago. Nevertheless, the complaints were not taken seriously so the situation grew worse and the virus spread to many more.” [5]

May 14, 2020: According to the information given by Ali Riza Karaboğa, who remains in Silivri prison no. 7, to his wife during their phone call, two inmates from their adjacent cell were tested for the coronavirus and sent back to their cell despite being tested positive. During the phone call with her husband two weeks ago, Karaboğa mentioned that their body temperature was measured for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak. During this week’s phone call, he also added that their body temperature was measured for a second time, and masks were provided for phone calls. [6]

May 14, 2020:  Being among the coronavirus risk group, journalist Çetin Çiftçi, who was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison and has been in Sincan prison for 8 months, was diagnosed with Covid-19. Çiftçi, who also has kidney and heart problems, was reportedly under treatment. After Çetin Çiftçi’s wife, Selda  Çiftçi personally inquired about her husband’s situation, she found out that he had been taken to the hospital many times while in prison. [7]

May 14, 2020: Stating the huge increase in the number of the coronavirus cases in Silivri prison, HDP Deputy Omer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said that 45 inmates stay in some of the 7-person cells. Gergerlioğlu also shared some letters from the relatives and prisoners. Here are a few of those letters:

  • “Z. A. stays in the Silivri prison no. 5. In a phone call with his mother; he said that he had been taken to the infirmary twice, and then a sample was taken from him in a requested ambulance, but that he had not been informed about why the sample was taken, and that he had been sent back to his cell without being taken to a hospital.”
  • “My brother stays in the Silivri prison no.2. He had said in our call last week that they were given so little food. We are so worried about my brother’s life, given the coronavirus threat. He is staying with 44 other inmates in a 7-person cell and the food service was so problematic due to the releases in the open prisons.”
  • “In Silivri prison no. 7, there stays 43 inmates in cells. The coronavirus outbreak spreads into the prison. Some 30 inmates have shown symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting. For weeks, there is a shortage in the prison canteen service, inmates denied access to soap, shampoo, and napkins, they use dishwashing liquid when showering and inmates were forced to take shower in cold water (due to the lack of provision of hot water).”
  • “At the C-7 cell of Silivri prison no. 7, unfortunately, an inmate was tested positive forCovid-19. The remaining 45 inmates in the cell are at greater risk. We are so worried about its spread to the other inmates in the cell.”
  • “M.E. stays in Silivri L typed prison no. 5. As per his family, the inmate stated that he has a dry coughing problem which is among the coronavirus symptoms, that there are inmates in his cell with chronic diseases, that they were denied access to personal hygiene materials, that there is a shortage in the regular provision of cold and hot water, that they are not well-informed about the pandemic, that hygiene and proper cleaning of the dining holes were not adequate and no social distancing rules are being implemented, that the food being served is unhealthy and improper, and that a quarantine room is not available in the prison.”
  • “My brother, H.O. stays in Silivri prison no. 8. When we talked to our brother, he said that there were patients who tested positive for the Covid-19, and they are in physical contact with those patients and that their request for testing was refused by the prison administration. He also said that they are staying in overcrowded cells. We are worried about my brother’s life. At my brother’s request, we ask them to be tested.” [8]

May 14, 2020: “My husband, R.K. is held in Silivri L-type prison no. 8. His first test for Covid-19 was negative. Today, however, the E-Nabız (the health portal) showed a second positive test result. Then I called the prison, but they said that a second test was not conducted and will happen later. Despite the positive test result in the E-Nabız, the prison (administration) states that the second test was not conducted. When I reached out (to the prison), I was told that he was transferred to another cell due to his negative test results and that he will have his phone call rights on Tuesday morning which is today. However, when I called the prison today, I was told that the phone call was postponed to Sunday. I haven’t received any news from my husband which is worrying me.” [9]

May 14, 2020: “Prepared by the HRFT Documentation Center, a report on the human rights violations associated with the Covid-19 outbreak in the period between March 11, 2020 – May 10, 2020 was released. According to the report, despite the calls which are based on the international standards and norms, inmates were completely restricted from family visits and partially restricted from attorney visits. Besides, the report stated that even after the High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet urged governments to take action in preventing the catastrophic rates of the COVID19 infection, the inmates’ limited access to proper health care, healthy food, fresh water, and hygiene materials during the pandemic amount to ill-treatment. [10]

May 15, 2020: Şakire Solmaz, the wife of ex-cadet Yasin Solmaz who has been sentenced to prison for life, M.T., the partner of teacher M.T., B. Çicek, the wife of ex-police officer Ali Çiçek, and Fatih Çiçek, Ali Çiçek’s uncle and attorney, stated what they have been through during last week. They shared with Bold Medya their relative’s Covid-19 diagnosis reports that were obtained from (the Ministry of Health’s health portal) E-Nabız and the petitions that they submitted to the courts for their release. “They avoid us like the plague, no one is here to help”, said Şakire Solmaz, the wife of Yasin Solmaz. Being locked up for 42 months, Ali Çiçek stays at the B10 cell of Silivri prison no. 7. His wife, B. Çiçek said “He rested for two days with a high fever. But he said he is fine now. Yet, the cell conditions are so bad. Foodservice is problematic. He said he has never seen so little food being served before. They were buying breakfast products from the prison canteen, but it is closed now. There is always a queue for the restroom. There is a queue even for the fridge, the living conditions got heavier. It is so crowded here, even if someone feels okay, the other who is not feeling okay affect him”. Another inmate staying at the B12 cell of no. 7 is the teacher, M.T. Being locked up for 19 months, M.T. was diagnosed with Covid-19. Having not seen her husband for 65 days, and stating that a week amounts to a year for her since May 6, his wife M.T. talked about her phone call with her husband “Last time I spoke to my husband was on Wednesday, two days ago. Since May 6, a week passed like a year. Because it is recorded in the health portal that he was taken to see a doctor, I asked him what is happening. He said there is no such thing. We were only tested (for Covid-19). Since then, no one bothered to see us. They put such records in the system to make it look like they are monitoring us. They are only checking their temperature. They are not taking them to the doctor, but they put records in the system (falsely) showing that they are taking. They are in danger there. Not only their immune systems got weakened but also, they are not isolated. In fact, how to isolate them in a place where 39 people stay! This is against the law. The second thing, the food service is so problematic. He said no vegetable or fruits have been served for the last two weeks. They are only given a very small amount of food. He said we were left here to die, no one is coming to check on us. He asked to seek help from whomever/wherever I can.” [11]

May 17, 2020: Based on their visits to Van T-type prison, Van High-Security prison, and Van F-type prison this week, the observations and findings of ÖHD (the Association of Lawyers for Freedom) Van Branch, The Prison (Watch) Commission of  Van Bar, and Van Tuhay-Der (the Women Executives of the Prisoners’ Families Aid Association) are as follows[12]:

  • Measures taken in prisons for the Covid-19 outbreak are certainly not adequate. Given the excessive overcrowding rates, deprivation from hygiene and protective materials, and lacking access to health care, inmates’ rights to life are under serious threat.
  • Charging inmates for the protective materials, excessive pricing, infrequent and inadequate disinfection of cell, and body search of inmates whenever they go outside of their cells particularly aggravate the threats to their rights to life.

May 18, 2020: Another inmate was tested positive for the coronavirus in Silivri L-type prison no. 7. Accessed in the E-Nabız (the health portal), the test result for detainee Ali Kemal Ata, who is pending trial, was positive. Remaining in cell B-8 together with 29 inmates, Ata has been in prison for three years. Saying that she talks to her husband every Monday, Ata’s wife, Vecibe Tuba Ata said “I will not be able to talk to my husband today because I know he is at the hospital. I am calling every day the hospital at the campus. Only on Friday, they replied to my call. They said he is in good condition, but his situation is still worrying us. I am trying to track his condition through the E-Nabız.” [13]

May 19, 2020: An inmate in Silivri prison said no tests have been carried out for prisoners, except for the severe cases. In a phone call passed to the DW Turkish by his wife Y.S., an inmate describes the prison conditions to his wife: “The prosecutor’s office declared the number of cases in Silivri prison as 44, but there were 31 positive cases in cell B-10 and 24 in cell B-12. So, they say that no tests will be carried out unless there are chronic cases, that is only those who seem not to able to move around themselves should be tested. Other than that, the Ministry does not want any testing effort. We objected to this by saying how such a thing could be possible, and then we insisted on the doctor and he sent us to the hospital. Seven of us out of eight have tested positive. Most likely, there are now more cases in our cell, too. Everyone in the adjacent cell is sick.” In the phone call, the inmate also adds that they were taken to the quarantine before the test results came out, but later the test result for one of the inmates among them came out negative and that he would be transferred to the cell designated for negatives. The inmate describes his concerns as follows: “There is no such thing as quarantine/isolation here anyway. If you heal on your own, you will be fine. Other than that, if you die, you die, there is nothing else to do. Nobody cares about you here. Nobody at all…”

Spoken to the DW Turkish, an inmate’s relative Ş.S. indicated that her husband who is held in Silivri prison is at the quarantine and that some 39 inmates who have tested positive are held together at one place. Claiming that she was told the quarantine rooms were 7-to-8-person cells, she stated that the warden of the prison has confirmed about the situation (that the 39 inmates are quarantined in one cell) to their attorneys. According to the information from her husband, Ş.S. also added that although there were 39 inmates in the cell, they were given so little food that could be adequate for only 15 inmates, that the cleaning and hygiene were limited, that the last time their body temperature being measured was three days ago and it was conducted by the guards in a way that they were measured through the door without the guards entering the cell, and that the inmates could not make their voice heard as there were not enough guards in the prison.

S.E. indicated that in Silivri L-type prison no. 7, inmates were given masks and gloves on May 11 for the first time when they left their cells for family phone calls. Further, an inmate’s relative S.Ş. said “The only information they gave was that (they are) okay. I found out about my husband’s infection in the E-Nabız platform. And now, I can not even track (his situation) from the platform. When we asked why we are not able to track it in the E-Nabız system, they said the (patient) records will no longer be entered (there).” [14]

May 19, 2020: Indicating that his son was given a flue medication and sent back to his cell, Ekrem Solmaz, the father of Yasin Solmaz who resides in Silivri L-type prison no. 7 and has tested positive for Covid-19, said “39 inmates are staying in one cell. This is massacre!”. The officials of the Silivri L-type prison no. 7 said that they could not comment on this matter and referred us to the public prosecutor’s office. [15]

May 20, 2020: Lawyers from ÖHD (the Association of Lawyers for Freedom) Ankara Branch and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Iğdır deputy Habip Eksik have visited the Kayseri Bünyan Women’s Prison and Kayseri Bünyan T-type prison no. 7. The delegation reported about the interviews they had with inmates and the prison administration. According to the report prepared by the Ankara Branch of the ÖHD, 5 imprisoned women in the Kayseri Bunyan Women’s Prison were interviewed. The report indicates that 3 people were quarantined following their examination, but no coronavirus testing was carried out and that an inmate was having coughing and dry throat problems. [16]

May 20, 2020: “My brother held in Silivri prison was tested on the 10th day of the outbreak. His test results were positive. Stating that he was (only) given medication as treatment, my brother said that they are staying in overcrowded cells. He also added that the food service was problematic and that they were personally cleaning (their cells). We have applied to the prison administration that my brother can not remain in prison under these circumstances, but we did not receive a positive reply.“ These statements belong to Barış Kaçan, the brother of inmate Hüseyin Kaçan. Locked up in Silivri prison for 23 months, inmate Hüseyin Kaçan also has stomach pains and knee problems. According to his brother, even under normal circumstances, he was struggling in prison conditions, often experiencing pain, and getting sick. After his Covid-19 symptoms became increasingly noticeable, he was tested on the 10th day and he had found out that he was sick. In fact, from the moment the symptoms began, he and other inmates had applied to the prison administration for testing but were rejected.

Burak Çelen, who is also imprisoned in Silivri prison no. 7, has tested positive for Covid-19 a week ago. Sevda Çelen, the wife of Burak Çelen, had seen in the E-Nabız system that his husband has been infected by the coronavirus, and then their attorney has petitioned for his treatment in the hospital. Following the petition, Burak Çelen was taken to the hospital on May 7.  Sevda Çelen said that after a day of observation in the hospital, his husband was given a 5-day drug therapy and sent to the quarantine cell in the prison. In her most recent phone call (with her husband), Sevda Çelen learned that that the prison conditions were not good. According to Burak Çelen, who is in the quarantine cell for 39 people, the amount of food served to the cell was for 15 people and the prison canteen was closed. He has also stated that the fever measurements were not carried out regularly, that no testing was applied after the 5-day drug therapy and that there were fresh air, and hygiene problems.

Cevriye Aydin is the lawyer of Yasin Solmaz, a coronavirus patient. Reached by Euronews, Aydin points out that the situation is a human rights violation. Stating that his client is not in healthy conditions, Aydin also indicates that the authorities should accommodate temporary solutions for those in prison during the pandemic: “Regardless of their views and religions, everyone in prisons is under the assurance (responsibility) of the state. First, the right to life is guaranteed by the state. Otherwise, the state will be responsible. The priority here is to secure the prisoners’ rights to life. I am in a panic for those prisoners’ rights to life. People out there are dying from Covid-19, too, but when they are out, being infected (by the virus) is in their own volition. However, when in prison, this is an incident happening in a place that is entirely under the political and legal responsibility of the state, the government, and those in power.” [17]

Official Statements

The issues stated above clearly show that the Government of Turkey and the officials are not taking the necessary measures amid the global Coronavirus outbreak. They do not even provide the essential basic needs of those inmates whose well-beings and health are under their responsibility to protect. Not only that, but it is also clearly seen that they also fail to ensure physical conditions necessary to prevent the transmission of the disease, and that mass deaths can occur in prisons due to the “mass isolation” measures that are similar to the medieval practices.

Some of the official statements reported in the media about the coronavirus cases in prisons are summarized below:

April 8, 2020: It is claimed that a convict named Mehmet Yeter in Bafra prison, who reportedly had diabetes, was recently sent back to prison after his leg got amputated and three days later, he died from Covid-19. Despite the statement of the Bafra Public Prosecutor’s Office that Mehmet Yeter’s death was not related to Covid-19, a social media user called Ferhat Yeter, who declared himself as Mehmet Yeter’s son, shared some documents, that allegedly belonged to the public prosecutor, about the funeral proceedings of his father Mehmet Yeter.

April 20, 2020: Izmir Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that an inmate in Buca prison has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

April 22, 2020: After the first coronavirus case in Buca prison, Izmir Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that 64 more inmates have also tested positive.

April 28, 2020: Konya Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that 55 inmates in Konya E type prison have tested positive for the coronavirus.

May 2, 2020: After receiving complaint letters from inmates and their relatives, Sezgin Tanrıkulu, CHP Istanbul Deputy and Vice President of the Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Committee, stated that they are receiving an unprecedented number of complaints, and most of them are about “inadequate access to nutrition, hygiene, and health care service”.

May 8, 2020: Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that 44 prisoners in Silivri prison have tested positive for Covid-19.

May 22, 2020: Bakırköy Public Prosecutor’s Office announced the death of an inmate in Silivri prison, who was undergoing treatment for Covid-19. The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that the inmate, who had a chronic lung disease (reportedly tuberculosis), died at 5.45 pm on May 21, 2020.  As of May 22, the prosecutor’s office said there were a total of 82 cases of Covid-19 in Silivri prison, including 47 in the L-type prison no. 7 and 35 in L-type prison no. 8. [18]

Findings

The significant differences between the official statements and the information received from the inmates’ relatives and their attorneys indicate that the extent of the coronavirus risk in Turkey’s prisons is far deeper than what has been announced. The Government of Turkey and officials, who are not taking the necessary precautions to protect the rights to life of those who are under their responsibility, in slightest terms, act with “severe neglect of duty and culpable negligence”.

Based on the facts presented above, our findings of the prison conditions during the coronavirus pandemic are as below:

  1. The information provided by the officials on the coronavirus cases in prison and the inmates’ health conditions is not adequate; both the relatives of inmates and the public are not informed accurately and frequently.
  2. Although some have been released after the recent execution law, the prison cells are still overcrowded. In the pandemic, some might primarily expect the measures to be undertaken against the outbreak are to reduce the number of people in prison cells; however, the opposite was experienced in some cells to which their sizes have expanded from the pre-pandemic rates.
  3. Sick people are not being tested or delayed until their conditions worsen, let alone undertaking routine testing efforts.
  4. The inmates’ access to both internal and external health care providers have been severely restricted and thus become problematic; in cases where they have accessed the health care, it has been de-facto abrupted due to the post-quarantine practices.
  5. Sick people are not treated effectively. Both the duration of treatments and the usage of drugs are very limited.
  6. In-prison hygiene conditions are inadequate. Adequate cleaning materials and proper access to water are not provided; even in cases where they are charged for a fee.
  7. After the recently passed execution bill, shortage of workforce in open prisons where meals are prepared for prisons has resulted in very problematic food service. This seemingly undermines the efforts to tackle the pandemic issue as inmates experience malnutrition. Besides food service that is inadequate, unhealthy, and of poor quality, inmates experience difficulties in accessing paid food due to the closure of canteens as part of the fight against the pandemic. This weakens the immune system of prisoners and makes them more vulnerable during the pandemic.
  8. Due to inadequate provision of the protective materials, both inmates and prison personnel are exposed to risky contact transmission of the disease from the infected.
  9. As many officials (serving prisons) have limited their physical presence during the pandemic, the inmates’ demands are not evaluated properly; rapid and effective measures are not taken in the fight against the pandemic.

Recommendations

As Advocates of Silenced Turkey, we call on all national and international institutions and the general public, especially the Turkish Government, to act immediately and effectively to stop the aggravated coronavirus threats in Turkey’s prisons and prevent possible mass deaths from happening.

Given this context:

  1. The officials are urged to provide adequate information about the coronavirus cases in prison and the inmates’ health conditions. They should accurately and frequently inform both the inmates’ relatives and the public.
  2. To ease overcrowding in prisons, we urge the government to use all available alternatives to detention whenever possible. Among the inmate groups that are at higher risk for the coronavirus, persons on remand awaiting trial should immediately be released. The legal practice to suspend the execution of sentences should also immediately be adapted for the convicted prisoners.
  3. Inmates should be tested routinely and those infected should be detected, provided with effective health care, and treated under appropriate conditions. As current quarantine efforts resemble medieval practices evoked from physical contact between the infected and uninfected, they should immediately be halted. Appropriate and scientific measures should be undertaken.
  4. In-prison hygiene conditions should adequately be provided, the access to cleaning materials should be improved, and the overpricing in the prison canteens should be prevented.
  5. To strengthen the immune systems of inmates, adequate and balanced nutrition should be provided – calling for improvements in the quality and amount of the food service,  provision of adequate and proper food products in the canteens, and halting of the overpricing regime in the canteens.
  6. Both inmates and prison personnel that they are in contact with should be provided with adequate and proper protective materials.
  7. To protect the right to life, the demands of inmates should be evaluated urgently; rapid and effective measures should be undertaken in the fight against the pandemic. In this context, the protocols in the COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2 INFECTION) GUIDE[19], prepared and updated by the General Directorate of Public Health of the Ministry of Health, should be followed strictly in prisons.

 

 

[1]       https://covid19bilgi.saglik.gov.tr/depo/rehberler/COVID-19_Rehberi.pdf?type=file

[1]       http://www.bakirkoy.adalet.gov.tr/adl-duyuru/2020/05/220520.pdf

[1]       https://tr.euronews.com/2020/05/20/silivri-cezaevinde-covid-19-vakalar-endiseli-aileler-yetkililerden-gecici-tahliyeler-bekli

[1]       https://www.dw.com/tr/cezaevlerinde-salgına-karşı-tedbirler-yetersiz-mi/a-53502249

[2]       http://mezopotamyaajansi22.com/tum-haberler/content/view/97218

[3]       https://artigercek.com/haberler/karantinaya-alinan-3-tutukluya-test-yapilmadi

[1]       https://www.boldmedya.com/2020/05/15/silivri-karantinasindaki-3-isim-konustu-bu-son-gorusmemiz-olabilir-bize-vebali-gibi-davraniyorlar/

[2]       https://twitter.com/OhdVan/status/1261980171118301184

[3]       https://boldmedya.com/2020/05/18/silivride-bir-kisiye-daha-kovid-19-teshisi-konuldu/

[1]       http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/43-kisilik-kogusta-30-kisi-hasta-bulasik-deterjani-ve-soguk-su-ile-banyo-yapiyorlar-h145301.html

[2]       https://tihv.org.tr/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/TürkiyeCovidHakİhlalleriSON.pdf

[1]       https://www.evrensel.net/haber/404769/silivri-cezaevinde-7-kisilik-kogusta-45-kisi-kalmaya-devam-ediyor

[1]       https://artigercek.com/haberler/silivri-cezaevi-nde-korona-c-7-kogusu-aciklandi-ya-b-12

[2]       https://twitter.com/gergerliogluof

[3]       https://kronos34.news/tr/gergerlioglu-silivri-cezaevinde-koronavirus-salgini-hizla-yayiliyor/

[4]       https://kronos34.news/tr/mahkum-yakinlari-silivride-maske-ve-eldiven-ilk-kez-dun-verildi/

[5]       https://boldmedya.com/2020/05/14/korona-risk-grubundaki-tutuklu-gazeteci-cetin-ciftcinin-testi-pozitif-cikti/

[1]       https://artigercek.com/haberler/silivri-cezaevi-nde-korona-c-7-kogusu-aciklandi-ya-b-12

[2]       https://twitter.com/gergerliogluof

[3]       https://kronos34.news/tr/gergerlioglu-silivri-cezaevinde-koronavirus-salgini-hizla-yayiliyor/

[4]       https://kronos34.news/tr/mahkum-yakinlari-silivride-maske-ve-eldiven-ilk-kez-dun-verildi/

[5]       https://boldmedya.com/2020/05/14/korona-risk-grubundaki-tutuklu-gazeteci-cetin-ciftcinin-testi-pozitif-cikti/

[1]       https://www.hrw.org/tr/news/2020/04/03/340344

[2]       https://twitter.com/cezaeviihlaller/status/1258461779543416834

 

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KEY HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN TURKEY SINCE THE SO-CALLED COUP ATTEMPT

Following the so-called 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 130,000 people including judges, academics, teachers, journalists, police and military officers, and other public servants have been dismissed from their jobs. In correlation, more than 217,000 have been detained and 160,000 have been 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 – have been 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 have taken place in Turkey during this on-going period.

●  UNPRECEDENTED SCALE OF DISMISSALS: 

More than 130,000 public servants, with their names attached in lists to emergency orders, were dismissed by emergency decrees. These public servants included over 4,463 judges and prosecutors, 6,021 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 4,463 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 the 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.

  • PERSECUTION OF ACADEMICS:

Following the coup attempt, 3,003 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.

  • BOOKS DESTROYED:

Turkey’s education minister Ziya Selçuk announced last week that 301,878 books had been destroyed as the government cracks down on anything linked to Fethullah Gülen. Turkish newspaper BirGün reported that 1.8m textbooks had been destroyed and reprinted for containing the “objectionable” word Pennsylvania, which is where Gülen lives.

  • THE MEDIA PURGE FOLLOWING THE ATTEMPTED COUP: 

In the aftermath of the failed coup, the government closed down 200 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 canceled 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 157th on the Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders and is listed among ‘not free’ countries by the Freedom House.

  • 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, midwives, 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 dismissals of health care professionals and the closure of hospitals left many patients in despair of medical care.

  • PRISON CONDITIONS:

With the persecution of tens of thousands of critics, the current population in Turkish prisons is 4-5 times higher than the normal capacity – it 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 overcrowded cells. In order to free up space for more political prisoners, the government released nearly 34,000 convicts from prisons. The inadequate provision of health 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 freshwater, proper heating, ventilation, and lighting are other concerns for prison conditions. There are 62,669 political prisoners, 4,000 of them being women and 780 of them being children.

  • TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT:

Despite the government’s zero-tolerance claim for torture policy, human rights groups have 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, waterboarding, 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.

  • ABDUCTIONS AND ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES:

In the aftermath of the coup attempt, forced disappearances made a comeback in Turkey. Opposing politicians and respected human rights groups claimed at least 128 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 abducted over more than 100 alleged Gulen affiliates from 18 countries – individuals often deported illegally – against the universal conventions – by cooperative governments without due process.

  • WOMEN AND CHILDREN IN PRISON:

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, oftentimes leading to an incomplete examination.  Among the prisoners, there are more than 30 pregnant women or women who just gave birth and 780 children under 6 years old imprisoned along with their mothers – including 149 infants under 1-year-old. Pregnant women are forced to stay with other inmates in overcrowded cells, also denied access to proper prenatal care – posing serious risks to their well-being. Likewise, mothers with children are also forced to share a cell with inmates.

Even when prison authorities are willing to let the child see a doctor, they do not allow mothers to accompany them. Children have to sleep in the same bed with their mothers and are not assigned a cradle or a separate bed.

The state pays $2 a day per prisoner for food. Since children are not technically incarcerated, they are not allotted any daily food rations and share their mother’s meals.

More than %80 of children in jail with their mothers do not receive any education.

Only %18 receive kindergarten or nursery services, but even then, there is a shortage of educational materials.

  • 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 Aegean Sea. Turkey revoking its citizens’ passports also causes travel struggles for those across the world.

  • SEIZURE OF DISSIDENTS’ 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 $32.24 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.

SOURCES

  1. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/07/turkey-independent-monitors-must-be-allowed-to-access-detainees-amid-torture-allegations/ https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/europe-and-central-asia/turkey/report-turkey/
  2. https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/turkey/

          https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/TR/2018-03-19_Second_OHCHR_Turkey_Report.pdf

  1. https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-jails-2431-judges-prosecutors-dismisses-4424-to-date-top-court
  2. https://worldjusticeproject.org/sites/default/files/documents/ROLI-2019-Reduced.pdf
  3. https://silencedturkey.org/lawyers-on-trial-abusive-prosecutions-and-erosion-of-fair-trial-rights-in-turkey-2

         https://arrestedlawyers.org/2019/09/01/new-report-mass-prosecution-of-lawyers-in-turkey/

  1. http://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/AcademicsAtRisk.pdf
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/aug/06/turkish-government-destroys-more-than-300000-books
  3. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/11/brothers-critical-turkish-regime-arrested-after-tv-programme

         https://tr.euronews.com/2019/07/12/verilerle-15-temmuz-sonras-ve-ohal-sureci

  1. https://expressioninterrupted.com/freedom-of-expression-and-the-press-in-turkey-211/
  2. https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/turkey/
  3. http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreHaberBultenleri.do?id=27610

          https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/turkey-coup-attempt-latest-releases-almost-34000-prisoners-in-amnesty-amid-international-alarm-over-a7221451.html

  1. https://www.state.gov/reports/2018-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/turkey/
  2. https://www.ihd.org.tr/sample-page-2/
  1. https://stockholmcf.org/suspicious-deaths-and-suicides-in-turkey-updated-list/
  2. https://correctiv.org/en/top-stories-en/2018/12/06/black-sites/
  3. http://www.tuik.gov.tr/PreHaberBultenleri.do?id=27610

         https://7dnews.com/news/inmates-facing-poor-living-conditions-and-death-in-turkish-prisons

  1. https://stockholmcf.org/turkeys-dismissed-academics-want-their-passports-back-after-state-of-emergency-lifted/
  2. https://twitter.com/platformpj/status/1234421262052732928/photo/1

         http://www.platformpj.org/report-the-erosion-of-property-rights-in-turkey/

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AST REPORT 2018-2019

WORDS FROM THE ADVOCATES

When the Turkish President declared in an infamous speech that “old Turkey no longer exists. This Turkey is new Turkey”, the story of Turkish authoritarianism had once and for all taken on a new character. Since July of 2016, the Turkish government has improperly imprisoned 130,214 homemakers, teachers, NGO workers, academics, judges, prosecutors, and journalists.

We are a group of lawyers, judges, academics, journalists, and hundreds of activists who cherish democratic ideals and universal human rights. We are prisoners of conscience wanted by the Erdogan’s regime, relatives of political prisoners, and victims who have lost their jobs, property, and family members to the current administration which has been described as a Mafia State. We are the Advocates of Silenced Turkey. We, the Advocates, have made it our mission to champion the rights of Silenced Turkey until universal human rights and democratic governance are established and sustained as the utmost priorities of the Republic of Turkey.

AST GIVES A VOICE TO THE VOICELESS…

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AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly June 30

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_June 30

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly- 06/25/2019-06/30/2019

  1. “Website entry exposes Constitutional Court bias against Gülen-related cases”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/28/website-entry-exposes-constitutional-court-bias-against-gulen-related-cases/

2. “Turkey orders detention of 27 sailors from Naval Forces”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/28/turkey-orders-detention-of-27-sailors-from-naval-forces/

3. “Editor of gov’t-critical news website detained for insulting Turkish president”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/28/editor-of-govt-critical-news-website-detained-for-insulting-turkish-president/

4. “Officials who conducted Turkish intelligence trucks probe in 2014 get lengthy prison sentences”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/28/officials-who-conducted-turkish-intelligence-trucks-probe-in-2014-get-lengthy-prison-sentences/

5. “Top court rules German-Turkish journalist’s rights violated during detention in Turkey”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/28/top-court-rules-german-turkish-journalists-rights-violated-during-detention-in-turkey/

6. “New era begins in İstanbul as İmamoğlu accepts mandate for second time”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/28/new-era-begins-in-istanbul-as-imamoglu-accepts-mandate-for-second-time/

7. “Pregnant, ailing women among 4 arrested in Turkey’s Osmaniye due to Gülen links”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/28/pregnant-ailing-women-among-4-arrested-in-turkeys-osmaniye-due-to-gulen-links/

8. “I wasn’t aware Öcalan’s brother had been sought by Turkish authorities: Erdoğan”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/27/i-wasnt-aware-ocalans-brother-had-been-sought-by-turkish-authorities-erdogan/

9. “Some 2,000 Turkish soldiers purged since end of state of emergency”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/27/some-2000-turkish-soldiers-purged-since-end-of-state-of-emergency/

10. “AKP deputy chair contradicts Erdoğan over İmamoğlu’s prosecution: report”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/27/akp-deputy-chair-contradicts-erdogan-over-imamoglus-prosecution-report/

11. “US-based Turkish academic released after detention for signing peace petition”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/26/us-based-turkish-academic-released-after-detention-for-signing-peace-petition/

12. “Not surprising that people commit suicide behind bars, says man abducted, tortured by Turkish intelligence”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/26/not-surprising-that-people-commit-suicide-behind-bars-says-man-abducted-tortured-by-turkish-intelligence/

13. “Autopsy report reveals graphic details about murder of military cadet on July 15”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/26/autopsy-report-reveals-graphic-details-about-murder-of-military-cadet-on-july-15/

14. “Court acquits teacher who pleaded with gov’t to spare children’s lives”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/26/court-acquits-teacher-who-pleaded-with-govt-to-spare-childrens-lives/

15. “Gov’t transfers mayoral appointment authority to city councils after losses in big cities”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/26/govt-transfers-mayoral-appointment-authority-to-city-councils-after-losses-in-big-cities/

16. “108 military cadets acquitted, 18 get life without parole in July 15 coup trial”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/26/108-military-cadets-acquitted-18-get-life-without-parole-in-july-15-coup-trial/

17. “Erdoğan signals possible Cabinet shakeup following election defeat in İstanbul”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/25/erdogan-signals-possible-cabinet-shakeup-following-election-defeat-in-istanbul/

18. “Kurdish signs removed after March 31 elections re-erected in Bitlis”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/25/kurdish-signs-removed-after-march-31-elections-re-erected-in-bitlis/

19. “Kurdish man alleges racist attack by police officer pretenders”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/24/kurdish-man-alleges-racist-attack-by-police-officer-pretenders/

20. “16 Turkish civil society leaders go on trial over Gezi Park protests”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/24/16-turkish-civil-society-leaders-go-on-trial-over-gezi-park-protests/

21. “Pregnant woman arrested on terrorism charges over alleged Gülen links”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/06/23/pregnant-woman-arrested-on-terrorism-charges-over-alleged-gulen-links/

Erdogan Hükümeti tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri

  1. “​Behzat Ç.’den KHK’li fragman: Yayın tarihi belli oldu”

http://aktifhaber.com/kultur-sanat/behzat-cden-khkli-fragman-yayin-tarihi-belli-oldu-h134308.html

2. “Ruslar Denizbank’ı Birleşik Arap Emirlikleri’ne devrediyor”

http://aktifhaber.com/ekonomi/ruslar-denizbanki-birlesik-arap-emirliklerine-devrediyor-h134303.html

3. “İmamoğlu’nu kabul etmiyorum’ diyen İSPARK müdürü de istifa etti”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/imamoglunu-kabul-etmiyorum-diyen-ispark-muduru-de-istifa-etti-h134289.html

4. “Halk TV’de görevden almalar sürüyor”

http://aktifhaber.com/medya/halk-tvde-gorevden-almalar-suruyor-h134287.html

5. “Suriye rejim güçleri Türk askeri gözlem noktasını vurdu: 1 şehit, 3 yaralı”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/suriye-rejim-gucleri-turk-askeri-gozlem-noktasini-vurdu-1-sehit-3-yarali-h134292.html

6. ““Hep derdim ki; Gülnur hayata ne acelen var? Öyle çok acelesi varmış ki; 28 yaşında gitti!””

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/hep-derdim-ki-gulnur-hayata-ne-acelen-var-oyle-cok-acelesi-varmis-ki-28-yasinda-gitti-h134290.html

7. “Erdoğan: ABD’nin yaptırım uygulamayacağını Trump’tan duymuş olduk”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/erdogan-abdnin-yaptirim-uygulamayacagini-trumptan-duymus-olduk-h134288.html

8. “Türk yargısı 2019: Mahkeme yanlış fotoğraf gönderdi, TRT “kesin o” diye rapor yazdı”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/turk-yargisi-2019-mahkeme-yanlis-fotograf-gonderdi-trt-kesin-o-diye-rapor-yazdi-h134252.html

9. “Alman iç istihbarat raporunda MİT’e özel başlık: Faaliyetler tek tek anlatıldı”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/alman-ic-istihbarat-raporunda-mite-ozel-baslik-faaliyetler-tek-tek-anlatildi-h134247.html

10. “Meclis’ten yükselen ses: “Yargı reformu 700 bebeği ve annelerini cezaevinden çıkarmalı””

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/meclisten-yukselen-ses-yargi-reformu-700-bebegi-ve-annelerini-cezaevinden-cikarmali-h134249.html

11. “Bahçeli’den Negahan Alçı’ya mektup tepkisi: ‘Satılık kalem’”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/bahceliden-negahan-alciya-mektup-tepkisi-satilik-kalem-h134164.html

12. “Edirne’de düzensiz göçmen faciası: 10 ölü”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/edirnede-duzensiz-gocmen-faciasi-10-olu-h134142.html

13. “Yeni askerlik yasası Resmi Gazete’de: Zorunlu askerlik altı ay, bedelli askerlik kalıcı oldu”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/yeni-askerlik-yasasi-resmi-gazetede-zorunlu-askerlik-alti-ay-bedelli-askerlik-kalici-oldu-h134146.html

14. “ABD’de tutuklu bulunan Hakan Atilla tahliye oluyor”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/abdde-tutuklu-bulunan-hakan-atilla-tahliye-oluyor-h134139.html

15. “Askerlik 6 aya indi, 130 bin er erken terhis olacak”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/askerlik-6-aya-indi-130-bin-er-erken-terhis-olacak-h134122.html

16. “Bu sefer senin şerefine İmamoğlu”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/bu-sefer-senin-serefine-imamoglu-h134071.html

17. “Osman Kavala tahliyesini istedi, hakim “Edersem ikametinizi verir misiniz” diye sordu”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/osman-kavala-tahliyesini-istedi-hakim-edersem-ikametinizi-verir-misiniz-diye-sordu-h134066.html

18. “TÜSİAD: İstanbul’un başarısı Türkiye’nin başarısıdır”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/tusiad-istanbulun-basarisi-turkiyenin-basarisidir-h134069.html

19. “Seçim zaferi için Ekrem İmamoğlu’ndan teşekkür videosu”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/secim-zaferi-icin-ekrem-imamoglundan-tesekkur-videosu-h134054.html

20. “Dünya basını hemfikir: Kaybeden Erdoğan”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/dunya-basini-hemfikir-kaybeden-erdogan-h134056.html

21. “BM’den koruma talep eden 8 kişi Moğolistan’dan çıkış yolu arıyor”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/bmden-koruma-talep-eden-8-kisi-mogolistandan-cikis-yolu-ariyor-h134295.html

22. “Koğuş arkadaşı bebekler”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/kogus-arkadasi-bebekler-h134185.html

23. “Boğaziçi Köprüsünde boğazı kesilerek şehit edilen Harbiyeli Enes’in otopsi raporu”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/bogazici-koprusunde-bogazi-kesilerek-sehit-edilen-harbiyeli-enesin-otopsi-raporu-h134184.html

24. “Kara Harp Okulu davasında 108 beraat”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/kara-harp-okulu-davasinda-108-beraat-h134150.html

25. “Bağ evinde ters kelepçe ile gözaltına alınanlar beraat etti”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/bag-evinde-ters-kelepce-ile-gozaltina-alinanlar-beraat-etti-h133941.html

26. “10 yıldır kanser hastası, 650 gündür cezaevinde”

http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/10-yildir-kanser-hastasi-650-gundur-cezaevinde-h134283.html

27. “Türkiye’yi tedavi edecek değerler”

http://www.tr724.com/turkiyeyi-tedavi-edecek-degerler/

28. “Bırakın, insanlık kazansın”

http://www.tr724.com/birakin-insanlik-kazansin/

29. “Kimin yolundan gideceksin, karar ver?! (1)”

http://www.tr724.com/kimin-yolundan-gideceksin-karar-ver-1/

30. “OHAL Komisyonu 78 bin başvurunun sadece 6 binini kabul etti”

http://www.tr724.com/ohal-komisyonu-78-bin-basvurunun-sadece-6-binini-kabul-etti/

31. “Ankara Barosu: Kaçırma olayı MİT’e sorulmalı”

http://www.tr724.com/ankara-barosu-kacirma-olayi-mite-sorulmali/

32. “Bekçilerden, ‘ters kelepçeli, darplı, tehditli’ GBT uygulaması”

http://www.tr724.com/bekcilerden-ters-kelepceli-darpli-tehditli-gbt-uygulamasi/

33. “Eşi kaçırılan Fatma Zeybek’ten KHK’lı Yıldırım’a destek”

http://www.tr724.com/esi-kacirilan-fatma-zeybekten-khkli-yildirima-destek/

34. “İdlib’de TSK noktasına saldırı: 1 şehit, 3 yaralı”

http://www.tr724.com/idlibde-tsk-noktasina-saldiri-1-sehit-3-yarali/

35. “Veli Saçılık’tan eşi kaçırılan kadınlara destek: İnsanlık suçuna karşı herkes duyarlı olmalı”

http://www.tr724.com/veli-saciliktan-esi-kacirilan-kadinlara-destek-insanlik-sucuna-karsi-herkes-duyarli-olmali/

36. “Ayşe Öğretmen 3 yıl sonra beraat etti”

http://www.tr724.com/ayse-ogretmen-3-yil-sonra-beraat-etti/

37. “Hakan Atilla 19 Temmuz’da tahliye mi oluyor?”

http://www.tr724.com/hakan-atilla-tahliye-mi-oluyor/

38. “OHAL sonrası TSK’dan 2 bin 49 asker ihraç edildi; gerekçe ankesörlü telefonla aranma”

http://www.tr724.com/ohal-sonrasi-tskdan-2-bin-49-asker-ihrac-edildi-gerekce-ankesorlu-telefonla-aranma/

39. “Göçmenleri taşıyan minibüs kaza yaptı: 10 ölü, 30 yaralı”

http://www.tr724.com/202701-2/

40. “Gezi Davası’nda Osman Kavala’nın tutukluluğuna devam kararı”

http://www.tr724.com/gezi-davasinda-osman-kavalanin-tutukluluguna-devam-karari/

41. “Sırrı Süreyya Önder’in kızından anlamlı mektup: Mutlunun mutsuza borcu var”

http://www.tr724.com/sirri-sureyya-onderin-kizindan-anlamli-mektup-mutlunun-mutsuza-borcu-var/

42. “Cezaevindeki annesine gönderdiği fotoğraf ‘zafer işareti var’ diye delik deşik edildi”

http://www.tr724.com/cezaevindeki-annesine-gonderdigi-fotograf-zafer-isareti-var-diye-delik-desik-edildi/

43. “TSK personeline ‘cadı avı’ operasyonu: Çok sayıda gözaltı var”

http://www.tr724.com/tsk-personeline-cadi-avi-operasyonu-cok-sayida-gozalti-var/

44. “Gezi davası başladı; Osman Kavala: “Suçlamalar son derece haysiyet kırıcı””

http://www.tr724.com/gezi-davasi-basladi-osman-kavala-suclamalar-son-derece-haysiyet-kirici/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Collapse of Rule of Law in TURKEY and Politically Motivated Extradition Requests for the Dissidents of Erdogan Regime

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Turkey Blocks Defendants’ Right to Legal Counsel During Trials No Fair Trial in Turkey As Judiciary Remains in Shambles

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Political Context
  • Political Nature of Regime

A)General Outline of Debate

B)Contours of Authoritarianism

  • The Case Against Extradition
  • a)The post-coup trials are political in nature;
  • b)There is no judicial independence;
  • c)Mass prosecution of Lawyers
  • d)Turkey’s Abuse of Interpol
  • e)British Court Rejects Turkey’s Extradition Request
  • f)Perils of Extradition
  • Conclusion

Introduction

There are numerous reports illuminating the collapse of rule of law and the judicial independence in Turkey. The lack of fair trials, the denial of the right to defense, and political interference in ongoing cases summoned close-up scrutiny from international organizations to the nature of post-coup trials, causing debilitating damage to the credibility of trials at all. Despite for all the coverage of post-coup affairs in Turkey, how trials proceed on bogus and trumped-up charges, how the Turkish political and judicial authorities fabricated evidence to implicate certain figures and how arbitrariness contagiously pervaded all layers of judicial mechanism remain mostly under-sketched until the recent report by the Human Rights Watch (HRW). The HRW report aside, previous studies mostly left certain aspects regarding trials beyond full grasp of outsiders. For this reason, except experts and legal observers, the outside world remains uninformed about how things veered off the script and how the very word of law has become a dead letter following the purge and politically-tinged trials. This report, in addition to the HRW-like studies, seeks to fill the gap by offering a detailed analysis of the political efforts aimed at subverting the legal system and manipulating post-coup trials. Additionally, this study tries to provide a panoramic view of central contours of the political course of post-coup Turkey in an effort to illustrate the correspondence between the government’s not-so-subtle interference in legal processes and dynamics of advancing political interests of the ruling party.

To have a proper sense of what this report is about, a historical perspective is essential to capture how the Turkish government defied both national and international law. This requires revisiting recent course of political events that sealed the country’s tilt toward authoritarianism. In this regard, an adequate understanding of the political context would be a good start to untangle the link between political factors and judicial affairs.

Political Context

Turkey’s slow-motion drift into the grip of authoritarianism took place in much a longer time, a process that began before the failed 2016 coup. The government’s heavy-handed response to nationwide Gezi Park protests in 2013 and the first waves of purge after the corruption investigation in December 2013 paved the way for the emergence of an illiberal government. Then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did his best in his capacity to blunt the sprawling graft scandal, which implicated his cabinet ministers and his family members. The prime minister responded with a swift purge of prosecutors and police officers overseeing the graft case. Many observers and experts pinpoint this year, 2013, as the major turning point for Turkey’s drift away from a liberal democracy, which it never gained in a full-fledged, ideal fashion in the republican history. It would be safe to say that the contours of autocratic turn began to appear with the purge in judiciary and police department in late 2013. What followed after was a steady descent into an autocratic system.

If the post-2013 era signaled the harbinger of Turkey’s break with the democratic norms, the post-coup period after the botched putsch in mid-2016 served as a testament to the full breakdown of the rule of law, judicial independence and corrosion of the integrity of Turkey’s bureaucratic institutions following the sweeping purge. The failed coup attempt was a watershed moment in Turkey’s modern history. The government immediately declared a state of emergency and ruled the country with decrees, which had the full force of law, for two years. Although the emergency regime officially ended last summer, the measures taken by the government during the emergency rule remain in place after authorities enacted a new set of laws that made decrees permanent.

The abortive coup provided President Erdogan and his party the much-needed pretext and unlimited latitude to embark on a massive purge to dismiss their real and perceived political opponents from public service. The profusion of numbers is mind-numbing. More than 150,000 public workers have been fired without due process.

A detailed report by Amnesty International in October last year meticulously documented how that process played out. Authorities did not feel any compunction over the lack of any legal basis or evidence of wrongdoing to justify dismissals.

“Their dismissals did not include specific evidence or details of their alleged wrongdoing. Instead, the decrees offered a generalized justification that they ‘…had links to, were part of, were connected to, or in communication with…’ proscribed groups,” the Amnesty report stated.

Administrative decisions, not court rulings, were definitive and determining elements in the course of dismissals, a minister admitted during the emergency rule. Former Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag’s off-script remarks were an acknowledgment of the political nature of the purge process, which took place in line with political whims of the government rather than due legal process.

As the subject matter of this report, the collapse of judicial independence and lack of fair trials appear as the major source of lamentation and complaints from purge victims. More than 3,500 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed en masse. The majority of them wound up in jail after lengthy pretrial detention. What further blighted Turkey’s shredded judicial landscape was a systematic blow to defendants’ right to fair defense and legal counsel. A recent HRW report, which was published this April, lucidly elaborated on the crackdown on lawyers, among other things. The political persecution of the members of Turkey’s judiciary was (is) not restricted to mass imprisonment of judges and prosecutors. The Turkish authorities also went after lawyers and legal organizations, denying defendants, who had been arrested as part of the post-coup crackdown, not only the fair trial but also access to the most basic legal counsel and defense. It would be professional suicide for any lawyer to represent someone, who stand trial on the charge of affiliation with the Gulen Movement. As the HRW report dwells upon the legal perils and professional challenges of defending a Gulen-affiliated person, lawyers face the high risk of similar treatment and accusations by the authorities.

While the HRW’s scrupulous and well-documented study limits its focus to the ordeal of lawyers, this report aims to take a larger look from a broader perspective to situate the breakdown of Turkey’s judicial system in a historical and political context. To that aim, how the entire legal drama was deeply tainted and steered by political meddling and considerations in Turkey’s post-coup political landscape will be the major theme of this study. In this respect, apart from providing a mere analysis or a narrative record of the recent course of events in Turkey from an analytical angle, this report also contains some normative judgments and policy prescriptions for outside experts, especially in the legal profession, in the face of Turkey’s relentless legal diplomacy to haunt dissidents abroad.

It would be tempting for the host countries to treat Ankara’s extradition requests of some critics within the narrow scope of technical aspects of legal criteria. But it need not much prudence to see the political motivations of Ankara lurking behind the mere judicial moves. This report casts Turkey’s tireless efforts to capture the government’s opponents abroad in this light, offering a close-up look at some cases that expose political machinations inherent in some extradition requests. Therefore, this study warns foreign governments and courts against Ankara’s disregard of central tenets of its own national law and international law when it pursued certain critical figures living in different countries either in Europe or elsewhere.

The Nature of Political Regime in Turkey

  • The General Outline of the Debate

There is an emerging widespread consensus among scholars and journalists over the nature of the political regime in Turkey. One chief assumption rests at the center of countless diverse studies — Turkey is no longer a democracy and there is little space for free speech. Whether Turkey could be identified as a dictatorship still remains a matter of an ensuing academic controversy. The scholarly position oscillates between divergent viewpoints from “smart authoritarianism” to emerging fascism. The debate is not just about semantics or the epistemological dimension, it is about the essence and soul of the living system in Turkey.

“IN TURKEY under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the tweet has been turned into a crime, and a troubled democracy is being turned into a dictatorship. Gradually but inexorably, a nation that once aspired to be an exemplar of enlightened moderation is being transformed by Mr. Erdogan into a dreary totalitarian prison,” The Washington Post wrote in an editorial last year.

The Post editorial reached its conclusion after a long take on how Erdogan’s government rolled back democratic gains of the recent decades. Certainly, the Post is not alone in its assessment.

The Turkish president’s gradual power grab did not happen within one year. It rather took place stage by stage in a piecemeal fashion over the past several years. His political machinations chipped away at core elements of Turkey’s fragile democracy.

Not long before its descent into authoritarianism, Turkey aspired to be a model country for the rest of the region. A mixed combination of Islam and democracy, a rising economy with groundbreaking, novel E.U. reforms as part of the negotiations with Brussels for full membership were the hallmarks of Turkey’s inspiring success story.

“… Turkey is viewed as having played the “most constructive” role in the past year’s events and its prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, emerged as the most admired leader by far in the region, according to the 2011 edition of the annual “Arab Public Opinion Survey” conducted by Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institution,” Jim Lobe wrote for Institute for Policy Studies in 2011.

“Turkey is the biggest winner of the Arab Spring,” wrote Telhami who led the survey in 2011 to measure the public reaction and expectations across the region swept by a wave of demonstrations toppling long-running autocrats. The scholar noted further:

“In the five countries polled, Turkey is seen to have played the “most constructive” role in the Arab events. Its prime minister, Recep Erdoğan, is the most admired among world leaders, and those who envision a new president for Egypt want the new president to look most like Erdoğan. Egyptians want their country to look more like Turkey than any of the other Muslim, Arab and other choices provided.”

During the first decade of its spell in power, the Islamist-rooted AKP’s displayed commitment to democracy and its reform-driven agenda to acquire E.U. membership for Turkey upended the long-held belief that political Islam and democracy would not co-exist peacefully in a properly functioning fashion. Until an illiberal and undemocratic turn in the early 2010s, President Erdogan’s rule proved otherwise, boosting confidence in the belief that conservative and Islamist-oriented parties would reconcile their worldview with the demands and necessities of democratic politics.

But as scholars increasingly came to believe that the Arab Spring was a lost opportunity for the Erdogan administration’s loyalty to democracy. Lured by the emerging geopolitical opportunities during the Arab Spring in the Middle East, Turkey sought to project its power across the region. Ankara employed elements of hard power at the expense of its hard-won soft power, chipping away at the prestige it earned after arduous efforts, and making Turkey susceptible and open to the spillover of the regional conflicts. The Syrian civil war and Turkey’s policies have been the most known contours of this embroilment and over-stretch of Ankara’s diplomatic as well as military clout, mostly to the detriment of the country’s interests.

While the Syrian conflict dragged Turkey into uncharted territory with profound diplomatic and military ramifications for Ankara’s regional foreign and security policies, the Turkish domestic politics would not escape unscathed and unaffected from the conflict. The refugee flow, the challenging incorporation of more than 3,5 million Syrians into Turkey’s social fabric, and the emergence of security threats after open border policy created additional pitfalls for the government in Ankara. The social and economic cost of accommodating Syrians also became a politically divisive issue.

  1. B. Contours of Authoritarianism

These course of events in the internal and external realm appears to have inexorably anchored Turkey in an illiberal political setting. The scale and pace of Turkey’s drift into the grip of full-blown authoritarianism after the failed coup in 2016 is completely a different story. The post-2016 Turkey resembles a different country as it underwent a seismic change in all facets and layers of the body politic.

After praising Turkey’s democratic reforms during the 2000s, Peter S. Goodman, London-based European economics correspondent for The New York Times, detected a similar collapse over the course of past years. He wrote for The Times last year:

“But that was before Mr. Erdogan began amassing supreme powers, and before his brutal crackdown on dissent following an attempted coup two years ago. It was before Turkey descended into a financial crisis delivered in no small measure by his authoritarian proclivities and unorthodox stewardship of the economy. Whatever was left of the notion that Mr. Erdogan was a liberalizing force has been wholly extinguished.”

“For the West,” he added, “Mr. Erdogan has devolved from a righteous hope — would-be proof that Islam and democracy can peacefully coexist — into another autocrat whose populism, bombast and contempt for the ledger books have yielded calamity.”

The failed coup ushered in a new era and prompted a new form of commentary that increasingly began to use the concept of dictatorship and dictator when they analyzed the transformation of both the political landscape and President Erdogan himself.  

David L. Phillips, Director of the Program on Peace-building and Rights, Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, likened Erdogan to Stalin. “Erdogan’s “inner Stalin” is unleashed,” he wrote five days after the coup.

Turkey’s authorities launched a massive purge within the public sector and security bureaucracy, with little regard for the purge’s calamitous and pernicious implications for the integrity and functional health of the institutions. The Columbia scholar, who also served at the State Department in the past administrations of Clinton, Bush and Obama, argued that Erdogan was turning Turkey into a giant Gulag.

The failed coup against Erdogan, Bloomberg columnist Noah Feldman wrote, “turned out be a godsend, because it allowed him to end the separation of powers.”

Feldman opined that “the only institutions capable of counterbalancing Erdogan were the military and the courts.”

“The failed coup gave Erdogan the opening to purge the judiciary and military of opponents and skeptics, indeed anyone who wasn’t a reliable loyalist. That left no one to balance Erdogan — and no reason for him to stick with democratic rule,” he wrote in a column in May 2017.

The post-coup purge and crackdown have left no doubt about the political trajectory of the government. The declaration of emergency rule, which was extended seven more times after expiration of its three-month period, allowed the Turkish government to bypass and circumvent constitutional safeguards protecting individual rights and defendants’ rights to a fair trial, legal counsel and etc. The story of the post-coup clampdown was well documented by countless reports by international organizations, therefore there would only be a passing mention here.

As scholars are divided over how to identify the character of the regime in Ankara, there is no doubt about its authoritarian nature.

“Erdoğan’s relentless political chicanery offers a roadmap to today’s populist dictators on how to engineer apparently democratic triumphs on their way to disabling democracy,” the Forbes columnist Melik Kaylan wrote in an article for Politico after a controversial referendum in April 2017. The vote was marred by widespread allegations of voter fraud after the Supreme Election Council (YSK), under political pressure, decided to accept more than 1.5 million unstamped ballot papers at last minute. The ruling swayed the vote in favor of ‘Yes’ camp of President Erdogan whose lifelong push for an executive presidential system materialized with the controversial win the constitutional referendum.

He summarized the authoritarian playbook of the Turkish strongman as follows:

“Erdoğan deliberately provoked chaos then offered himself up as a solution. He allowed ISIS to operate openly in Turkey; he ignited a civil war against the Kurdish population to punish them for voting against him in a crucial national election; he kept the Syrian border porous so the instability there would migrate into Turkey. He persecuted the military until they revolted, accusing outside forces of fomenting the trouble, most recently the Gülenists. With rolling Robespierre-like prosecutions, he warned half the country that opposing him will wreck their lives. He destroyed the economy but subsidized his supporters.”

His analysis reveals the government’s consistent attempts to hollow out Turkey’s once-functioning institutions in a brazen manner. Whatever has the government done since the Gezi protests served to consolidate Erdogan’s position by making the entire political system dependent on one personality with little regard for the institutional degeneration engendered by the whole course of political events.

“The only way Erdoğan has achieved any political success is by using the body politic against itself,” Kaylan wrote. “In essence,” the columnist argued, the Turkish president “has delegitimized governance in order to present himself as the only way to restore it.”

The post-referendum commentary was almost united in their assessment of what the April vote in 2017 meant for the future of Turkey’s political system. The constitutional amendment bestowed enormous powers at the president’s office, undoing the central tenets of the almost century-old parliamentary system of the Republic.

Writing a day after the referendum, Roy Gutman from The Daily Beast contended that “the result will be a system under which there’s no prime minister, where the parliament will be weakened to the point of being a rubber stamp, and the judiciary will become still more subservient than it is already.”

He went on to say: “The path to one-man rule—opponents talk of a “dictatorship”—is the story of a politician with a gut instinct for gaining power who’s seized on every political setback that’s come his way in the past two years and turned it into an opportunity to advance his ambitions.”

Following the presidential election in 2018, the president assumed vast powers normally accrued to a new breed of global strongmen around the world.

A New York Times article summarized the changes introduced as follows:

“The prime minister’s office has been abolished; The military has been brought under firmer civilian control; The president will draft the budget and choose judges and many top officials; The president can dismiss Parliament and call new elections at will; The president appoints the head of the National Intelligence Agency, the Religious Affairs Directorate and the Central Bank, as well as ambassadors, governors and university rectors, among other top bureaucrats; Virtually none of the president’s appointments require a confirmation process.”

One year since the election has confirmed the existence of the one-man rule in Turkey. President Erdogan’s style of governance, however, backfired on March 31 local elections. He lost major cities, including Ankara and Istanbul, as of this report’s publication.

But in between, the president began to dismantle some core institutions of the Republic, while establishing a direct rule over the entire apparatus of the executive branch. Once unthinkable and inconceivable, outside observers and experts no longer shy away from depicting Erdogan’s Turkey as an emerging dictatorship. However contested the academic label it may be, the country moves between authoritarianism and dictatorship with more and more articles calling the Turkish leader as a “dictator.”

In this context and against this backdrop, Turkey’s legal and diplomatic actions on a global scale must be understood and reviewed. Needless to say, the political nature of the regime has direct implications for the ongoing trials in Turkey. Trials against actual coup plotters aside, the majority of the trials against opponents in the post-coup era are politically motivated. Even the coup plotters lack fair trial amid tremendous political pressure and public mobbing.

The Case Against Extradition

There is a preponderance of factual data and evidence that strongly prove the central charge against the Turkish government that the post-coup trials are not fair and politically motivated in form and essence. After providing a historical and political context about the evolution of an increasingly authoritarian regime in Turkey, this part of the report will take the issue of post-coup trials and analyze them from the angle of universally accepted legal norms and criteria. It also will try to build up a compelling case to show why foreign courts and judges should think twice before ruling in favor Ankara’s extradition requests for wanted dissidents.

To begin with, a growing body of pieces appeared on the international media and reports by respected rights organizations have coalesced around a shared conviction about the nature of the post-coup trials: they are not fair. They are driven by political motivations of the government and lack the basic parameters of due process.

  • The post-coup trials are political in nature;
  • There is no judicial independence;
  • Turkey’s authorities show contempt for the ECHR rulings;
  • Mass prosecution of Lawyers
  • Turkey’s abuse of Interpol System;
  • British Court Rejects Ankara’s Extradition Request
  • Perils of Extradition

The second part of the study will elaborate on each theme outlined above in its quest to build up a case against extradition.

Post-Coup Trials Are Politically Motivated

Foreign judges and courts must consider the fact that the major consensus among human rights organizations and Turkey observers is that the majority of the trials appear to be politically motivated. There are a number of cases that indisputably show how Turkey’s authorities simply elbowed aside the central tenets of rule of law and fair trial when they imprisoned rights activists, journalists, politicians and all types of dissidents.

“The Ministry of Justice also reported that, between July 2016 and July 2018, “investigations have been opened into 612,347 persons alleged to be founders, executives, or members of armed organizations.” A majority of these were reportedly detained for alleged ties to the Gulen movement or the PKK, often with little due process or access to the evidence underlying the accusations against them,” the U.S. State Department noted in its report about human rights in Turkey.

The Case of Amnesty International Activists: On July 5, 2017, the Turkish police detained 10 members of Amnesty International over terrorism charges and landed them in pretrial detention. The police raid took place when the activists were attending a cyber-security workshop on an island in the Marmara Sea.  Taner Kilic, the chairman of Amnesty’s Turkey branch, had already been detained in Izmir on similar charges, over membership to a terrorist organization.

The arrest rattled the entire world and was regarded as an assault on human rights itself. The London-based Amnesty International dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

“The use of criminal proceedings against human-rights defenders… is unfortunately an increasingly frequent phenomenon” in Turkey, said Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, according to Economist.

The Amnesty launched a worldwide campaign to secure the release of Kilic and Idil Eser, the director of Amnesty International’s Turkey branch, and others. While other members were released after months of detention, Kilic remained in prison until August 2018. This episode is only one element of a larger picture that points to the fact that different segments of society and public workers, including diplomats, journalists, judges, prosecutors, teachers, police chiefs and generals faced similar criminal legal proceedings although the majority of them had no record of any wrongdoing and official misconduct.

The deployment of terrorist label and invocation of counter-terrorism laws against members of public service and journalists indeed reveal the political approach deeply rooted in how the government perceives the post-coup trials. The only thing that unites the so many diverse people with different social affiliation and political conviction is that they are opponents or discontents of the Erdogan government. If a public worker is deemed a non-loyalist, this factor is seen enough to categorize him as a terrorist, as tens of thousands of cases before and after the coup have so far confirmed.

The Case of Politician Selahattin Demirtas: The trial of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP), is another case in point. Prosecutors accuse him of leading the political branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and involving in terrorist propaganda.

Demirtas who was detained in late October 2016, appeared at the court on Feb. 14, 2018, for the first time. The HDP politician noted that “terrorism charges against him were politically motivated and he did not think he would get a fair trial.”

In his defense at the court, Demirtas lamented the obstacles he faced during the lengthy pretrial detention.

“The President is calling me a terrorist every day, and openly instructing the courts and the parliament against us. It wasn’t the judiciary who brought me here, but the President himself,” Reuters quoted him as saying.

The treatment of politicians, journalists, members of the judiciary and other public sector departments in the same way along with actual criminals and terrorists taint the credibility and integrity of trials, cast serious doubts over the claims of the Turkish authorities.

According to the government, anyone criticizing the president faces terrorism charges. This is true for NBA star Enes Kanter, for former national soccer star Hakan Sukur, who lives in the U.S. in self-exile, for Ahmet Altan, a novelist and journalist serving life in prison in Istanbul, for Asli Erdogan, who briefly stayed in jail and now lives in Germany in self-imposed exile. Former Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dundar, lawmakers, diplomats and countless exiled journalists and writers face the noxious charge of terrorist for their criticism of the government and the president.

The Case of NASA Scientist Serkan Golge: The conviction of NASA scientist Serkan Golge on terrorism charge encapsulates the gist of the matter about the political nature of trials. Golge, after one and a half year of pretrial detention, was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison over membership to a terrorist organization. The U.S. authorities long tried to secure his release, but to no avail. After the prison sentence, “a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said the United States is “deeply concerned” by Golge’s conviction, which came “without credible evidence.”

Golge was on a vacation along with his family in the southern province of Hatay when the coup attempt took place. The police arrested him over the coup-related and terrorism charges after a tip from a distant relative. The observers, the U.S. government and legal experts dismissed the accusations as groundless. The scientist remained in solitary confinement one and a half year before the announcement of the prison sentence.

The War Against Academia: The members of Turkey’s academia have also found themselves in the crosshairs of the authorities. Thousands of academics were either suspended or dismissed over alleged terrorism ties or Gulen affiliation. More than 1,000 academics faced probes and some of them were convicted over signing a peace petition calling for the cessation of the army operations in urban areas in southeastern Turkey in early 2016.

In a riveting report, the HRW stated that the Turkish government is “investigating and prosecuting academics on trumped-up terrorism charges.”

“The authorities,” the report noted, “are interfering with student protests on campus, and prosecuting student activists. And officials are interfering with academic research on controversial topics.”

It added: “Together these actions are creating a climate of fear and self-censorship on campus, and breaching Turkey’s obligations under human rights law to respect and protect academic freedom and freedom of expression.”

The universities have also faced accusations of collaborating with the government to muzzle critical academics.

The numbers reveal the true scope of the post-coup clampdown. As of September 2017, “a total of 5,717 academics in 117 universities have been sacked from their jobs in Turkey, according to Bianet.org; 15 universities have been shut down altogether; and, according to the Ministry of Justice, 69,301 students have been incarcerated as of the end of 2016, which accounts for one-third of the total number of prisoners in the whole country.”

The war on academy not only occurred through mass dismissals but also took the form of legal proceedings.

B)There Is No Judicial Independence in Turkey

According to international organizations, media and experts, there is no longer judicial independence in Turkey, something that has become a political reality after years of fraying at the heart of judicial affairs. The rot of the judiciary also took place in a larger time frame, but devolved into a full-blown fracturing in the aftermath of the coup attempt in 2016. The mass imprisonment of more than 3,500 judges and prosecutors dealt a heavy blow to Turkey’s judiciary, installing a fear regime that frightened whatever left of the independent-minded and norm-respecting judges and prosecutors.

According to the World Index that measures judicial independence, Turkey ranked at 111th place out of 140 countries.  The standing reveals where Turkey belongs to. Certainly, not to the league of advanced democracies.

Apart from this, there are countless reports by other organizations cling to a similar conviction about the lack of judicial independence in Turkey.

The Council of Europe’s 49-member Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) published a number of reports in a bid to evaluate the state of the judiciary in Turkey. While its reports in 2018 chiefly focused on the prevalence of corruption in Turkey, it also analyzed how the recent legislative measures “putting the independence of the judiciary from the executive and political powers at stake.”

A report by GRECO, which solely focused on the independence of courts, notes: “the fact that the newly-established Council of Judges and Prosecutors is appointed by the President of the Republic and Parliament, and none of its members are elected by the judiciary itself, runs counter to the fundamental principle of an independent judiciary.”

It further adds that:

“In summary, GRECO notes that only 2 out of 22 of its recommendations on these issues have been implemented satisfactorily by Turkey, leading GRECO to describe the current level of compliance as “globally unsatisfactory”.”

The lack of judicial independence particularly matters when it comes to extradition requests by Ankara. Other countries and courts must keep in mind the fact that if a certain person is sent back to Turkey, the prospect of standing a fair trial remains scantily dim.

The Case of Murat Arslan

Last year, a joint letter by four leading judicial organizations in Europe were firm in their conviction about this subject.

“On the occasion of the Human Rights Day 2018, the Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey strongly emphasizes that basic human rights standards are neglected and violated in Turkey, inter alia through the abolishment of an independent judiciary and in so far arbitrary detention of thousands of Turkish judges,” a letter by the four organizations said.

Presidents of Association of European Administrative Judges (AEAJ), European Association of Judges (EAJ), Judges for Judges and Magistrats Européens pour la Democratie et les Libertés (MEDEL) expressed their concern over the ongoing trials against judiciary members. As an example of the collapse of judicial independence, the case of Murat Arslan, a judge and president of the Turkish Association of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV), was cited in the letter. Arslan was imprisoned in October 2016 and remains in prison ever since.

Arslan’s case struck a particular chord around the world.

“The conviction of Judge Arslan constitutes a severe and gross attack on the independence of the judiciary in Turkey, and in a democratic state under the rule of law an independent and impartial judiciary is a fundamental guarantee for society as a whole,” Diego Garcia-Sayán, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the independence of judges and lawyers, said on Feb. 6 this year.

He said: “I remain gravely concerned at the adverse effects that the measures implemented by the Government of Turkey have had, and continue to have, on the equal and effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms of targeted individuals as well as on the independence of the judiciary and the free exercise of the legal profession.”

Arslan was sentenced to 10 years in prison over alleged ties to the Gulen Movement, which is labeled as “FETO” by the Turkish authorities. So far now, as observers and the U.N. expert note, Arslan has been denied a fair trial, while authorities did not offer convincing evidence to substantiate their terrorism charges against the former YARSAV president.

“We have received information suggesting that the legal process against Mr. Arslan was not transparent and did not satisfy the criteria for judicial proceedings designed to safeguard the legal rights of the individual,” Garcia-Sayán said in his statement.

“The proceedings against Judge Arslan could have an adverse effect on the independence of the judiciary in Turkey, since other judges may be deterred from exercising their judicial independence and freedom of expression for fear of being subject to disciplinary or criminal proceedings,” the expert added in the statement appeared on the website of the U.N. Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.

The previous year, the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE), the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), and the European Association of Judges (EAJ) firmly condemned the ongoing widespread persecution of lawyers, journalists, judges and prosecutors in Turkey. A joint statement underlined the importance of judicial independence to safeguard fair trials, the maintenance of the rule of law and separation of powers.

European-based Platform for Peace and Justice (PPJ) and New York-based Advocates for Silenced Turkey (AST) well documented how political authorities brought the judiciary into full-scale political control and deeply influenced the course of post-coup trials.

  1. C) Turkey shows of Contempt for ECHR Rulings

The relations came to a head between Ankara and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) when the court urged the release of Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay, two journalists who, after exhaustion of domestic legal channels, applied to the Strasbourg-based court in a quest for legal remedy. The lawyers of the two journalists submitted their application on the ground that they had no chance to get justice within the domestic realm of Turkey after a local court refused to recognize a ruling by Constitutional Court in Ankara. The court ruled that the two journalists’ right to a fair trial was violated.

Both journalists were finally released, but it happened months after the ECHR’s involvement in the legal process.

A second clash took place when the ECHR urged Turkey to release Selahattin Demirtas, former co-chair of pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP), late last year. The Kurdish politician has remained behind bars since October 2016 and he faces up to 140 years in prison if he is convicted.

“The Court found that the judicial authorities had extended Mr Demirtas’ detention on grounds that could not be regarded as ‘sufficient’ to justify its duration,” the Strasbourg-based ECHR said in a statement.

The court’s call, however, fell on deaf ears in Turkey. President Erdogan sharply criticized ECHR and said it’s ruling was not binding for Turkey.

Kati Piri, the European Union’s Rapporteur on Turkey, noted that “His detention is of a political, not a criminal nature.”

On Nov. 30, the Turkish court ruled to keep the Kurdish politician, in disregard of the ECHR ruling.

The diplomatic tussle has not ceased since then. EU officials called on Turkey to implement ECHR ruling without delay. Timo Soini, the foreign minister of Finland which holds the presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE), urged Turkey to respect the court’s decision.

“As the Committee of Ministers we are aware of this decision and have noted that ruling regarding violations. This is not the final decision; however, we expect that member countries note ECHR decisions and respect them. Again, we expect that member countries act in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights,’’ Euronews quoted Soini as saying on Jan. 22 this year.

Ankara’s blatant disregard of ECHR rulings, which are binding for Turkey’s domestic legal system, should reveal the state of the judiciary in Turkey. This must be a reference point for outside legal authorities when they face Ankara’s legal requests either regarding the extradition of dissidents or on other topics.

  1. D) Prosecution of Lawyers

In a country where the members of the judiciary were haunted like dangerous criminals, it would be difficult to assume the existence of judicial independence or the proper functioning of judicial affairs without political intervention. The HRW came up with a timely report that offers riveting details about how lawyers, who represent the cornerstone of any law system on earth, have been systematically targeted.

The government, the HRW noted, brings charges against lawyers who expose rights abuses with little or no evidence of their membership of terrorist organizations. It says:

“Courts have complied with the attack on the legal profession by sentencing lawyers to lengthy prison terms for terrorism on flimsy evidence and in trials that ignore fair procedure. The abusive prosecutions of lawyers have been accompanied by legal amendments that undermine the right to legal counsel for those arbitrarily detained on terrorism charges.”

The practice has sent a chilling echo among scholars and legal experts monitoring the breakdown of the legal system in Turkey.

“Putting hundreds of lawyers in jail and on trial, and restricting their ability to act for people in police custody and in court, shows the dire state of Turkey’s criminal justice system and should be of grave concern to everyone in Turkey and internationally,” Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said after the release of the report. “Lawyers are central guarantors of the right to a fair trial and Turkey’s willingness to flout it over the past three years is deeply alarming,” the HRW website quoted the director as saying.

The problem is deeper than it is thought. According to a report by Arrested Lawyers Initiative, “1546 Turkish lawyers have been prosecuted and 598 lawyers have been arrested since 2016 July. And so far, 274 Turkish lawyers have been sentenced to 1762 years in prison by the first instance courts under article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code.”

Numbers reveal the depth and scale of the crackdown on Turkey’s lawyers.

The HRW report demonstrates that the equality between the prosecution and the defense has disappeared. The central targets of the post-coup crackdown were lawyers, who represent the members of the Gulen Movement, which was was designated as a terrorist outfit by the Turkish authorities, and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and some small far-left groups. In addition, authorities also target lawyers whom they believe to have any form of affiliation or link to the Movement, which bore the brunt of the clampdown following the putsch.

A lawyer in Ankara told the HRW how lawyers are being prosecuted relentlessly:

“For courts to see no distance between a lawyer and their client is a new development. If a lawyer defends a Kurd these days that makes him a Kurdish nationalist. If he defends a FETÖ suspect he is a FETÖ member. As a lawyer you meet your client in prison and you have no possibility of confidential communication since there’s a prison guard present, a microphone, and a camera. In court, the judges accept none of your requests, such as hearing independent expert witnesses. We are seeing eight-hour trial hearings which are purely symbolic and in which nothing is taken seriously. The courts are completely unresponsive to lawyers. There is no equality of arms left, no possibility of being able to look the judge in the eye.

Judges refuse lawyers’ requests for hearing witnesses or expert views that would help the defense at trials. The emergency rule declared in the aftermath of the coup also severely limited people’s right to legal defense and counsel. The emergency decrees removed the safeguards protecting the privacy of lawyer-client relationship.

The HRW report also exhibits the fact that how courts dismiss lawyers as unnecessary elements during trials:

“Lawyers have reported to Human Rights Watch that, in terrorism trials, courts have also become increasingly unresponsive to their petitions to have evidence critically examined or tested and to hear witnesses for the defense. They often see themselves as little more than “extras” in court hearings. Equality of arms between the prosecution and the defendant is severely undermined when the role of the defendant’s lawyer is unduly restricted and the adversarial aspects of trial proceedings are little more than a formality.”

There are more reports regarding this matter. Some of them were cited in previous sections, therefore this section will remain limited to these two leading reports demonstrating the mass prosecution of lawyers.

  1. E) Turkey’s Abuse of INTERPOL System

When Turkey’s domestic crackdown on opponents of all political affiliation and social conviction took global dimensions, Ankara’s requests for Interpol Red Notices inundated the system of the international police body. Turkey’s unrelenting demands, along with Venezuela, China, Iran and other authoritarian countries, began to overwhelm Interpol. As a result, Lyon-based Interpol struggles to cope with the staggering numbers of requests.

Turkey’s unceasing demands have created pitfalls and challenges for the international police body. A spat occurred when Interpol reportedly refused Ankara’s pursuit of Red Notices two years ago.

According to a report appeared on the Hurriyet Daily News in July 2017, Ankara tried to upload the names of 60,000 people, most of whom were perceived affiliated with Gulen Movement abroad, to Interpol’s system. The Turkish media reported that Interpol removed Turkey from its database after Ankara uploaded those 60,000 names. The media report subsequently elicited a denial from Interpol.

“Interpol supports each and every one of its 190 members as part of security cooperation benefits. No access block has been implemented in Interpol’s databases, including for those who have international warrants in Turkey,” the statement, issued by Interpol and quoted by Hurriyet Daily, said.

In the end, Interpol only blocked 60,000 entries from Turkey, but did not shut down Ankara’s full-scale access to the system. Yet, Interpol’s understandable attempt to soothe the nerves of Turkey did not clear the fog of controversy over the major conflict — the claim over the abuse of the system.

“This database works as an international criminal alert, notifying all 192 countries in the database that a person is wanted by police,” Jago Russell, the chief executive of London-based Fair Trials International, wrote in an op-ed commentary for Foreign Policy.

Russell contended that “entering 60,000 people into a database designed to help locate the most dangerous criminals on the planet is clearly an abuse of the system.” This becomes crystal clear when viewed together with the fact that “there were just under 13,000 new Red Notices across the globe” during the entire year of 2016.

The issue, however, as Russell noted, is not limited to Turkey. China and other countries face international criticism over credible allegations of abusing the system. But none of the countries come closer to Turkey in terms of pushing Interpol to the point of breakdown by demanding so many notices. Ankara’s opaque and vaguely-defined anti-terrorism laws create a constant clash with international organizations when Turkey treats its journalists, writer and dissidents in the same way it treats real criminals and terrorist suspects.

Ankara’s alleged abuse of Interpol first came to surface during 2017 summer when the Turkish authorities aggressively pursued a German-Turkish writer. Turkish-born author Dogan Akhanli was briefly detained in Madrid on Turkey’s warrant. His detention sparked a diplomatic spat between Germany and Turkey, while Spain was caught in the midst of a diplomatic tug of war over Ankara’s use of Interpol.

The only reason Akhanli wound up in a Spanish jail, many observers asserted, was his criticism of the Turkish government and his critical stance over sensitive historical matters such as the Armenian Genocide in 1915. After Germany’s intervention, the Spanish authorities released him but did not allow him to leave Madrid until a thorough review of Turkey’s extradition request.

The detention of Akhanli, however brief it might be, aroused widespread criticism and rekindled the debate over Ankara’s arbitrary use of Interpol’s Red Notice system. Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Rapporteur Bernd Fabritius criticized Turkey for abusing Interpol. When asked by the press members in August 2017 about Akhanli’s arrest, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was equally open in her criticism. “We must not misuse international organizations like Interpol for such purposes,” Merkel told reporters.

Regarding Merkel’s remarks, Russell, speaking to The Globe Post after Akhanli’s arrest, noted that there were an emerging consensus and awareness over Turkey’s intentions in its use of Interpol notice system.

Earlier in August, Hamza Yalcin, a Swedish-Turkish reporter, also was detained in Spain after Ankara tried to secure his imprisonment through Interpol. Several other prominent Turkey’s dissident journalists experienced a similar ordeal when they were briefly detained in different parts of Europe over the same reason.

Interpol once again came under media spotlight when Ankara issued a Red Notice against Enes Kanter, an NBA star living in the U.S.

“Another flagrant abuse of the Interpol Red Notice system. Turkey seeks to arrest NBA player Enes Kanter for making disparaging remarks about Turkish President Erdogan. Interpol should firmly and publicly rebuke this politically motivated abuse ASAP,” Bill Browder, CEO Hermitage Capital, Head of Global Magnitsky Justice campaign and Author of Red Notice, tweeted on Jan. 16 this year. The Turkish attempt made Kanter cancel his participation in his team’s London tour over the fear of arrest in the U.K.

Interpol faces calls for reforming its internal review mechanism. The international police body is accused by critics of cozying up to the authoritarian governments, acquiescing to their legally controversial demands.

Fair Trials International, the London-based organization which assists victims of unjust criminal charges all over the world, tracks records of Interpol Red Notices. “A comprehensive 2013 study by Fair Trials details how Interpol’s internal review mechanism fails to differentiate between criminal cases and politically-motivated arrest warrants for dissidents,” The Globe Post reported in August 2017.

In his Foreign Policy article, Russell urges Interpol to be careful against countries’ attempts to abuse Red Notice system for political purposes to muzzle dissent and silence critical voices abroad. “If Interpol wishes to remain a trusted tool in the fight against crime,” Russell warned, “it must ensure that it is not abused by governments seeking to enforce political vendettas.”

Although Interpol took some important steps to fight against abuse attempts, countries, especially Turkey, cultivates new methods to circumvent Interpol’s mechanism. Ankara periodically releases “Terrorist Wanted” lists and pledges bounties to those who help the Turkish authorities to spot and locate the wanted suspects living in Europe. This new strategy pits Turkey against the European countries, which drag their feet in investigating and pursuing people, mostly dissident people, demanded by Ankara.

Turkey also manipulates Interpol to snatch opponents from some countries, which are more congenial to Ankara’s terms. Interpol’s communication system that allows members countries to contact with each other directly through the police body’s network was abused by the Turkish authorities in its abduction attempts.

After Turkey convinces a given country’s police officials, those officials refer Interpol communication system as the legal ground for justification when they acquiesced to Ankara’s demands for the extradition of critical opponents. When challenged by human rights activists and press members, the officials of the local country show Ankara’s request as the legal basis for justification. This allows Turkey to deflect international criticism.

 European countries coalesced around a new idea in the 1920s to bolster and coordinate their policing efforts on an international scale. The creation of the body allowed them to increase international police cooperation in order to overcome challenges produced by mutually exclusive national sovereignty and jurisprudence. The headquarters of Interpol was moved to Lyon, France, following the Second World War. It now has more than 190 member countries.

  1. F) British Court Rejects Turkey’s Extradition Request

A British court ruling in London last year threw credibility of the Turkish government’s extradition requests against dissident figures living abroad into serious jeopardy. Businessman Hamdi Akin Ipek, who found himself in the crosshairs of President Erdogan’s government for his past affiliation with Gulen Movement, is waging a legal battle in the U.K. to avoid extradition. His case and a recent court decision demonstrate the flawed nature of the bid by the Turkish authorities to have government critics extradited to Turkey. Ipek sought refuge in London before the attempted coup in 2016. He fled Turkey after the government seized Koza Ipek Media Group outlets in late 2015 and suspended all his assets. The takeover of multibillion-dollar companies played a key role in Ipek’s departure. Yet, his presence in London did not spare him from Ankara’s relentless efforts to get him extradited.

But the Turkish government’s efforts hit snags last year. Judge John Zani, who oversaw his case after the Turkish authorities brought the issue to a court, rejected extradition request of Ipek and three other Turkish nationals over the risk of serious mistreatment and lack of fair trial.

“I am persuaded… that there is substantial evidence that this request is politically motivated,” the judge said in his ruling.

“I am entirely satisfied that, by reason of their actual or perceived political views, coupled with the assertion by the Turkish authorities that they are part of the hierarchy of the Gulenist movement, each defendant before this court runs a real risk of Article 3 (of the Human Rights Act) breaches.”

The British court ruling would set a precedent. It also sets an example for other countries, which found themselves in a similar legal imbroglio after Ankara’s diplomatic push over the extradition of dissidents.

  1. G) Perils of Extradition

There is an abundance of cases that clearly illustrates the perils and risks rooted in compliance with Ankara’s requests for extradition of government opponents. The ongoing mass arrests of people on a daily basis shows no signs of winding down. Hundreds of people are imprisoned every week. The purge, even nine months after the end of emergency rule is an ever-present threat for public workers and members of the military.

So far now, as former Justice Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag boastingly noted, Turkey has snatched more than 80 people affiliated with Gulen Movement around the world. The number swelled more than 100 by the end of 2018.

“We’ll continue our battle against Gülen supporters who have seriously harmed our country socially, politically and economically, until we completely eradicate them,” President Erdogan said in July, according to Ahval.

Majority of these cases took place in dubious legal and diplomatic grounds. The Turkish intelligence agency, National Intelligence Organization (MIT), directly steered the process of illegal abductions and kidnappings of Gulen-related people from a number of countries, including Pakistan, Malaysia, Gabon, Kosovo, Moldova and Ukraine.

The case of Kacmaz family in Pakistan is one of the leading examples of the norm-defying and rule-bending approach of the Turkish authorities when it comes to targeting the perceived members of the Movement across the world.

“Mesut Kacmaz, his wife and two daughters were restrained, blindfolded and hustled into unmarked pickup trucks in Lahore last month by more than a dozen plainclothes security agents,” according to a witness, The Washington Post reported in October 2017. Kacmaz and his family members were sent back to Turkey over Ankara’s extradition request. But how the entire drama played out aroused international criticism and opprobrium. Given the fact that Kacmaz and his family were under the U.N. refugee protection, Pakistan’s willingness to collaborate with the Turkish officials came under media scrutiny.

Another attempt by the MIT to capture a number of teachers from Mongolia was foiled after media reported it and the plane carrying the abductees was grounded at the airport last summer.

“Turkey has maintained that it extradites suspected Gulenists only with the permission of the foreign governments concerned,” the New York Times reported then. But the case of education representative Veysel Akcay, who has lived in Mongolia for nearly 25 years, appears to cast doubt on that claim, the Times noted.

The extradition of teachers in Moldova plunged the tiny country into a political maelstrom. A detailed report by the AST last September documented how the Turkish intelligence played a key role in the incident. Ankara and the local collaborators from Moldovan security apparatus trampled on national and international laws to steer the process of snatching teachers.

The abduction of teachers linked with the Gulen Movement from Kosovo was another case point. The kidnappings in a Balkan country, which aspires to join the E.U., reveals the depth and reach of Turkey’s long arm to capture its dissidents from wherever they are.

The brazenness and recklessness of Turkey’s global purge do know no bounds and limits.

“Since before the coup attempt, but with frantic intensity since then, the Turkish state has been hunting its opponents abroad, especially those who belong to the Gulen movement. In at least 46 countries across four continents, Turkey has pursued an aggressive policy to silence its perceived enemies and has allegedly used Interpol as a political tool to target its opponents,” Nate Schenkkan from Washington-based Freedom House, wrote in an article for Foreign Affairs on Jan. 29, 2018.

At least 15 countries, including Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Georgia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Turkmenistan, as of January 2018 have either arrested or deported members of the movement, according to Schenkkan. After that date, Kosovo, Moldova and many other places joined those countries.

But as more and more reports by international media outlets emerged, the true depth of the Turkish government’s global operations has been laid bare. A group of 13 journalists from nine media organizations from eight countries banded together to investigate Turkey’s secret torture sites after the Turkish authorities kidnapped opponents from all around the world.

“In a near-repeat of the CIA’s ‘extraordinary renditions’, the regime of Turkish president Erdoğan is kidnapping dozens of members of the Gülen movement from around the world. Victims are now raising a serious accusation: secret torture sites are part of the repression,” CORRECTIV reported on December 11, in 2018.

But unlike the CIA and its ‘extraordinary rendition’ program set up after the 11 September terror attacks, Turkey makes no secret of its abductions, the joint study noted. “We will return to the country one by one those Gülenists who have fled and now think they’re safe, and we will hand them over to our justice system,” the report quoted Erdogan as saying.

It need not require a great deal of knowledge to realize that majority of the illegal kidnappings and controversial extraditions took place in countries where rule of law and judicial independence are not firmly entrenched but open to political machinations and influence. The threat has not receded since then.

“The global purge is a threat not just to the Turkish diaspora but to the rule of law everywhere,” Schenkkan concluded his article, expounding on the ramifications of Turkey’s relentless global haunt for the international order.

In addition to this direct and bold attempts, Ankara seeks alternative ways to do its bidding regarding extradition cases.

After the foreign countries dismissed Ankara’s extradition requests for dissidents on terrorism charges, finding such legal rationale as baseless and groundless in the face of political motivations, the Turkish government has employed a subtle set of measures to circumvent the potential legal obstacles for its extradition bids.

One of the tactics adopted by the Turkish government is this: If Ankara knows that its bid would falter to have someone extradited to Turkey, then the Turkish government comes up with a set of forged charges of petty crimes against a certain name.

For instance, F. Z. lives in New York and is wanted by Turkey. Instead of a direct extradition request, the Turkish prosecutors then launch a legal probe over allegations of a less serious crime back in Turkey. Even if that did not happen in Turkey, it would take time for the authorities in the U.S. to ascertain facts. The Turkish Justice Ministry sends dossiers to the U.S. counterparts. This protracted process would ruin F.Z.’s life in the U.S. as his asylum case faces suspension and a criminal investigation against him is launched by the U.S. prosecutors to confirm or reject the allegations laid against him. This would take time. In the meantime, the subject would fail to proceed in his life, would not launch a business or even get a driver license. The aim by Turkey is to give as much problem as possible to a government opponent and make his life in the U.S. an ordeal.

CONCLUSION

The crux of the matter is, as all of the arguments put forward above clearly demonstrate, that any extradition request from Ankara must be immediately rejected. This should be done so on the grounds elaborated in detail above. Credible reports by respected international organizations about the collapse of rule of law in Turkey, the assertion of political control over the judiciary, the arbitrary nature of post-coup trials, the lack of fair trial, the death of judicial independence, the mass prosecution of lawyers, the political nature of extradition requests offer ample evidence with regard to political machinations and intrigues that deeply rooted in Turkey’s global extradition efforts.

To put it succinctly,

  • Post-coup trials are political;
  • There is no judicial independence left;
  • There is a mass prosecution of lawyers, which means that defendants are unable to get adequate legal counsel and defense;
  • There is a high risk of mistreatment and torture
  • Turkey systematically abuses Interpol’s Red Notice system to get dissidents abroad;
  • Extradition is a highly risky endeavor and foreign countries must beware of political machinations embedded in Turkey’s bids;
  • There are ample evidence that show someone, if extradited to Turkey, would not get a fair trial, even would face torture

By all indications, the situation in Turkey’s domestic realm seems to be getting worse for dissidents, especially for those with perceived ties to the Gulen Movement. The constant threat of purge or kidnapping has become part and parcel of a new normal in many people’s daily life.

The threat against Gulen-affiliated people is much more profound and immediate. A new surge in enforced disappearances and abductions against the movement members is telling in this regard.

The government’s enmity toward this group indicates no signs of abating. What would await the members of the movement? Speaking days after the failed coup in July 2016, Turkey’s then-Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci, if indiscreetly, disclosed what the government had in mind.

“We will punish them in a way that they will beg us to slaughter them to stop their suffering. We will let them beg for death.”

His words were (are) no idle threats. Although two years passed after the minister’s remarks, Turkey never lets up on its operations or persecution. The commitment to eradicate the movement at home and abroad remains a lasting element of Erdogan’s legacy and Turkey’s persistent diplomacy in the world. Another senior government official came up with a fresh threat against Gulen-related people, who live in the U.S.

Regardless of whether Turkey would follow them with deeds, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin’s threats of targeting Gulen sympathizers on the U.S. territory only comes as a re-assertion of the fact that Ankara would never abandon such thinking.

“Relevant units and institutions will continue their operations in countries where FETO operates, whether in the U.S. or another country,” NBC News quoted Kalin as saying. “The Turkish Republic will not let them rest.”

His disregard for potential spillover of any such attempt into the century-old Turkish-American relations reveals a prevalent mindset that guides Ankara’s foreign policy. His remarks matter because they illustrate the point about why foreign countries should be extra vigilant and attentive when they come to deal with Turkey’s legal extradition efforts.

There is another disturbing element in relation to the evolution of the coure of political events in Turkey. To shield both security personnel and its supporters from prosecution, the government passed a decree in December 2017. The decree granted immunity from prosecution to people who might have committed crimes on behalf of the government to ward off the threat against the political order. Its content also included acts perpetrated during the coup attempt.

According to critics, the government took the step to protect its supporters who embroiled in violent acts on July 15 and July 16.

The Bloomberg report summarized noted that the “emergency decree risks inciting political violence by giving legal cover to pro-government vigilantes, opposition parties and legal authorities warned.”

Bloomberg defined the decree as follows:

“The order, declared in the Official Gazette on Sunday, grants sweeping immunity for acting against terrorism or attempts to overthrow the government. Civilians won’t face legal consequences for actions against last year’s coup attempt — or more importantly — anything that could be considered its “continuation,” the decree said.”

That aside, the government’s embrace of mafia bosses like Sedat Peker, who keeps threatening Erdogan’s critics, reveals another troubling aspect of the new pervasive culture in Turkey. While academics get lengthy sentences and journalists rot in prison, convicted gang leaders are treated with respect by authorities. In his latest call this February, Peker called on Turkish citizens to purchase guns before the local elections.

After brief questioning, he was released by prosecutors without a need to refer him to court. The discrepancy between the treatment of law-abiding citizens and criminal figures is not lost on many people and stirs up resentment on social media.

In conclusion, before reviewing Ankara’s extradition requests, every country must keep in mind the prevailing political realities and conditions in Turkey. The E.U. candidate and NATO ally is no longer a country where rule of law exists. It is a country where the terror of purge and brutal political persecution reign while opponents and dissidents immensely suffer.

Read more

AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly May 11

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_May 11

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 05/05/2019-05/11/2019

1-“Teacher who pleaded with gov’t to spare children’s lives vindicated by top Turkish court”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/09/teacher-who-pleaded-with-govt-to-spare-childrens-lives-vindicated-by-top-turkish-court/

2-“Turkey to build 43 prisons using funds from inmate labor”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/09/turkey-to-build-43-prisons-using-funds-from-inmate-labor/

3-“Incidents of gun violence in Turkey kill 3,000 people in 2 years: ministry”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/09/incidents-of-gun-violence-in-turkey-kill-3000-people-in-2-years-ministry/

4-“Turkey cancels press accreditation of 682 journalists in 4 months”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/09/turkey-cancels-press-accreditation-of-682-journalists-in-4-months/

5-“Turkish academic begins serving prison sentence for signing 2016 peace petition”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/08/turkish-academic-begins-serving-prison-sentence-for-signing-2016-peace-petition/

6-“Turkey holds thousands in solitary in Erdoğan’s prisons: report”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/08/turkey-holds-thousands-in-solitary-in-erdogans-prisons-report/

7-“Photo of woman in German language textbook doctored to include headscarf”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/08/photo-of-woman-in-german-language-textbook-doctored-to-include-headscarf/

8-“HDP deputies on hunger strike request official declaration ending Öcalan’s ‘isolation’”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/07/hdp-deputies-on-hunger-strike-request-official-declaration-ending-ocalans-isolation/

9-“36 women in Turkey murdered in April: report”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/06/36-women-in-turkey-murdered-in-april-report/

10-“Nearly 1,500 military members sacked by Turkish Defense Ministry in last 10 months”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/06/nearly-1500-military-members-sacked-by-turkish-defense-ministry-in-last-10-months/

11-“Turkey’s election board cancels İstanbul results, announces new polls on June 23”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/06/turkeys-election-board-cancels-istanbul-results-announces-new-polls-on-june-23/

12-“[VIDEO] Turkish philosophy teacher says wife had to give birth at home due to Erdogan’s witch-hunt”

https://turkeypurge.com/video-turkish-philosophy-teacher-says-wife-had-to-give-birth-at-home-due-to-erdogans-witch-hunt

13-“[VIDEO] 14 detained over Gulen links in Turkey’s Samsun”

https://turkeypurge.com/video-14-detained-over-gulen-links-in-turkeys-samsun

14-“DW: Turkish gov’t cancels press credentials of 682 journalists in 4 months”

https://turkeypurge.com/dw-turkish-govt-cancels-press-credentials-of-682-journalists-in-4-months

15-“2-year-old enters Mersin prison with mother arrested on coup charges: HDP deputy”

https://turkeypurge.com/2-year-old-enters-mersin-prison-with-mother-arrested-on-coup-charges-hdp-deputy

16-“Turkish academic enters prison for signing 2016 peace petition”

https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-academic-enters-prison-for-signing-2016-peace-petition

17-“Video purportedly shows Turkish soldiers torturing Kurdish villager in Afrin”

https://turkeypurge.com/video-purportedly-shows-turkish-soldiers-beat-kurdish-villager-in-afrin

18-“DW: Around 3,000 inmates are being kept in solitary confinement in Erdogan’s prisons”

https://turkeypurge.com/dw-around-3000-inmates-are-being-kept-in-solitary-confinement-in-erdogans-prisons

19-“Former Supreme Court judge sentenced to 12 years in jail in post-coup trial”

https://turkeypurge.com/former-supreme-court-judge-sentenced-to-11-years-in-jail-in-post-coup-trial-2

20-“Kütahya parent in pre-trial detention for 3 months on coup charges, 3-year old daughter left in the care of relatives: report”

https://turkeypurge.com/kutahya-parent-in-pre-trial-detention-for-3-months-on-coup-charges-3-year-old-daugter-left-in-care-of-relatives-report

21-“İstanbul police stifle iftar meal organized by dissident Anticapitalist Muslims”

https://turkeypurge.com/istanbul-police-stifle-iftar-meal-organised-by-dissident-anticapitalist-muslims

22-“Psychiatrist under investigation over therapy services to victims of Erdogan’s purge”

https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-prosecutor-sues-psychiatrist-for-therapy-services-to-victims-of-erdogans-purge

23-“2-year-old enters Mersin prison with mother arrested on coup charges: HDP deputy”

https://turkeypurge.com/2-year-old-enters-mersin-prison-with-mother-arrested-on-coup-charges-hdp-deputy

24-“Turkish academic enters prison for signing 2016 peace petition”

https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-academic-enters-prison-for-signing-2016-peace-petition

25-“Video purportedly shows Turkish soldiers torturing Kurdish villager in Afrin”

https://turkeypurge.com/video-purportedly-shows-turkish-soldiers-beat-kurdish-villager-in-afrin

26-“DW: Around 3,000 inmates are being kept in solitary confinement in Erdogan’s prisons”

https://turkeypurge.com/dw-around-3000-inmates-are-being-kept-in-solitary-confinement-in-erdogans-prisons

27-“Former Supreme Court judge sentenced to 12 years in jail in post-coup trial”

https://turkeypurge.com/former-supreme-court-judge-sentenced-to-11-years-in-jail-in-post-coup-trial-2

28-“Kütahya parent in pre-trial detention for 3 months on coup charges, 3-year old daughter left in the care of relatives: report”

https://turkeypurge.com/kutahya-parent-in-pre-trial-detention-for-3-months-on-coup-charges-3-year-old-daugter-left-in-care-of-relatives-report

29-“İstanbul police stifle iftar meal organized by dissident Anticapitalist Muslims”

https://turkeypurge.com/istanbul-police-stifle-iftar-meal-organised-by-dissident-anticapitalist-muslims

30-“Psychiatrist under investigation over therapy services to victims of Erdogan’s purge”

https://turkeypurge.com/turkish-prosecutor-sues-psychiatrist-for-therapy-services-to-victims-of-erdogans-purge

31-“The new depths of Erdogan’s autocracy”

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/05/11/the-new-depths-of-erdogans-autocracy

32-“Istanbul re-run is a risky strategy for Erdogan”

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-48190346

33-“Erdogan’s Long Arm in Europe”

https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/05/07/erdogans-long-arm-in-europe-germany-netherlands-milli-gorus-muslim-brotherhood-turkey-akp/

34-“In Istanbul Election Do-Over, Erdogan’s Opponents Unify”

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/07/world/europe/istanbul-election.html

35-“Baby accompanying mother in prison joins 700 other kids growing up behind bars”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/10/baby-accompanying-mother-in-prison-joins-700-other-kids-growing-up-behind-bars

36-“Turkish academic from French university arrested for terrorist propaganda”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/12/turkish-academic-from-french-university-arrested-for-terrorist-propaganda/

37-“3 Turkish journalists detained overnight in İstanbul”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/12/3-turkish-journalists-detained-overnight-in-istanbul/

38-“Turkish journalist assaulted in front of his house”

https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/05/12/turkish-journalist-assaulted-in-front-of-his-house/

Erdogan rejimi tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 05/05/2019-05/11/2019

1-“​Sürgündeki iki insan, farklı hikâyeler, ortak duygu: Özlem”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/surgundeki-iki-insan-farkli-hikayeler-ortak-duygu-ozlem-h132216.html

2-“Dünyayı ‘Ramazanlaştıran’ heyecan sosyal medyada”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/dunyayi-ramazanlastiran-heyecan-sosyal-medyada-h132347.html

3-“Konuşmacı olmadığı panelde ‘propaganda yapmak’ ile suçlanan barış akademisyeni tutuklandı”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/konusmaci-olmadigi-panelde-propaganda-yapmak-ile-suclanan-baris-akademisyeni-tutuklandi-h132333.html

4-“Gazeteci Demirağ’a evinin önünde hain saldırı”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/gazeteci-demiraga-evinin-onunde-hain-saldiri-h132318.html

5-“15 Temmuz şehidinin oğlu: Herkese PKK’lı dedikten sonra Öcalan’la el ele sandığa gitsinler”

http://www.tr724.com/15-temmuz-sehidinin-oglu-herkese-pkkli-dedikten-sonra-ocalanla-el-ele-sandiga-gitsinler/

6-“‘Senatör’ Sofuoğlu’ndan sanatçılara: Erdoğan sayesinde ünlü nankörlersiniz”

http://www.tr724.com/senator-sofuoglundan-sanatcilara-erdogan-sayesinde-unlu-nankorlersiniz/

7-“AYM kararından sonra Ayşe Öğretmen tahliye oldu”

http://www.tr724.com/anayasa-mahkemesinden-ayse-ogretmen-karari/

8-“Haluk Savaş: Beraat ettim, yurtdışı yasağım kalktı ama pasaportumu alamıyorum”

http://www.tr724.com/haluk-savasberaat-ettim-yurtdisi-yasagim-kalkti-ama-pasaportumu-alamiyorum/

9-“AntiKapitalist Müslümanlar’ın iftar sofrasına polis müdahale etti, İhsan Eliaçık yerde sürüklendi”

http://www.tr724.com/antikapitalist-muslumanlarin-iftar-sorfasina-polis-mudahale-etti-ihsan-eliacik-yerde-suruklendi/

10-“Asrın Hukuk Bürosu Abdullah Öcalan’la görüştüklerini açıkladı”

http://www.tr724.com/asrin-hukuk-burosu-abdullah-ocalanla-gorustuklerini-acikladi/

11-“Şırnak’ta çatışma; 2 asker şehit oldu”

http://www.tr724.com/sirnakta-catisma-2-asker-sehit-oldu/

12-“Diyarbakır’da tutuklu anneleri yine darp edilerek ters kelepçeyle gözaltına alındı”

http://www.tr724.com/diyarbakirda-tutuklu-anneleri-yine-darp-edilerek-ters-kelepceyle-gozaltina-alindi/

13-“Iğdır’da çatışma: 1 asker şehit oldu”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/igdirda-catisma-1-asker-sehit-oldu-h132287.html

14-“Bahçeli’nin ‘artık sevemem’ dediği Cem Yılmaz’ın sevenleri sosyal medyayı salladı”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/bahcelinin-artik-sevemem-dedigi-cem-yilmazin-sevenleri-sosyal-medyayi-salladi-h132336.html

15-“‘Anneler Günü çocuklarımızın açlık grevinden çıktığı gündür’”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/anneler-gunu-cocuklarimizin-aclik-grevinden-ciktigi-gundur-h132325.html

16-“Ayşe Öğretmen: Kızımı unutup, cezaevindeki bebeklere kahroldum”

http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/ayse-ogretmen-kizimi-unutup-cezaevindeki-bebeklere-kahroldum-h132323.html

17-“Kanser hastası KHK’lıya ilaç işkencesi: Bir gün veriliyor diğer gün kesiliyor”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/kanser-hastasi-khkliya-ilac-iskencesi-bir-gun-veriliyor-diger-gun-kesiliyor-h132280.html

18-“Ailece tutukluluk dönemi: Anne ve babasının ardından Betül bebek de cezaevinde”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/ailece-tutukluluk-donemi-anne-ve-babasinin-ardindan-betul-bebek-de-cezaevinde-h132239.html

19-“KHK’lılara psikolojik destek vermek de suç sayıldı”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/khklilara-psikolojik-destek-vermek-de-suc-sayildi-h132054.html

20-“’Bugüne kadar hep sustum ama artık yetti’”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/bugune-kadar-hep-sustum-ama-artik-yetti-h132063.html

21-“Erdoğan rejiminin cezaevi ölümlerine bir yenisi daha eklendi”

http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/erdogan-rejiminin-cezaevi-olumlerine-bir-yenisi-daha-eklendi-h132027.html

22-“’Hücrede ölümler’ gözleri sayıları gizlenen hücre mahkumlarına çevirdi”

http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/hucrede-olumler-gozleri-sayilari-gizlenen-hucre-mahkumlarina-cevirdi-h132283.html

Read more

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

European Court Slams Erdogan Administration For Imprisonment of Kurdish Politician

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

Kurdish Politician Says Erdogan Behind Latest Crackdown

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more

AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly March 12

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

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 3/5/2018-3/12/2018

1-” Antalya-based Kırmızıtaş Holding seized, owners detained in post-coup crackdown”
https://turkeypurge.com/antalya-based-kirmizitas-holding-seized-owners-detained-post-coup-crackdown

2-” Actor-director battered, threatened with death in police custody: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/actor-director-battered-threatened-death-police-custody-report

3-” Gülen’s cousin jailed for ‘membership to Gülen movement’”
https://turkeypurge.com/gulens-cousin-jailed-membership-gulen-movement

4-” Theology professor Suat Yildirim says Diyanet removed his articles from Islamic Encyclopedia”
https://turkeypurge.com/theology-professor-suat-yildirim-says-diyanet-removed-articles-islamic-encyclopedia

5-” Cumhuriyet’s Şık, Sabuncu released as CEO Akın Atalay remains behind bars”
https://turkeypurge.com/cumhuriyets-sik-sabuncu-released-ceo-akin-atalay-remains-behind-bars

6-” RSF calls Turkish journalists’ convictions ‘an act of political despotism’”
https://turkeypurge.com/rsf-calls-turkish-journalists-convictions-act-political-despotism

7-” Turkey’s high court overrules 5-year term given to Can Dündar, asking for heavier sentence on “espionage” charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkeys-high-court-overrules-5-year-term-given-can-dundar-asking-heavier-sentence-espionage-charges

8-” Detention warrants issued for 121 women including sister-in-law of prime coup suspect Adil Öksüz”
https://turkeypurge.com/detention-warrants-issued-121-women-including-sister-law-prime-coup-suspect-adil-oksuz

9-” 25 journalists, columnists given prison sentences of up to 7 years on terror charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/25-journalists-columnists-given-prison-sentences-7-years-terror-charges

10-” Turkey now seeks up to 15 years in prison for wife of Turkish teacher tortured to death in police custody”
https://turkeypurge.com/turkey-now-seeks-15-years-prison-wife-turkish-teacher-tortured-death-police-custody

11-” 65 personnel from naval forces get life sentences in coup trial: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/65-personnel-naval-forces-get-life-sentences-coup-trial-report

12-” Zaman newspaper’s bureau chief in Izmir gets 9-year jail sentence”
https://turkeypurge.com/zaman-newspapers-bureau-chief-izmir-gets-9-year-jail-sentence

13-” Outspoken lawyer barred from taking up Gulen-linked cases”
https://turkeypurge.com/outspoken-lawyer-banned-taking-gulen-linked-cases

14-” 43 out of 80 ‘Gülenist’ women sent to prison for charity sale in benefit of purge-victims in Mersin”
https://turkeypurge.com/43-80-gulenist-women-sent-prison-charity-sale-benefit-purge-victims-mersin

15-” Cellmate of deceased teacher: They kneed him in the back. He held his chest until the day he died due to severe pain”
https://turkeypurge.com/cellmate-deceased-teacher-kneed-back-held-chest-day-died-due-severe-pain

16-” ‘Gülenist’ cancer patient dies days after being released from prison”
https://turkeypurge.com/gulenist-cancer-patient-dies-days-released-prison

17-” Turkish gov’t has detained a third of pro-Kurdish HDP members over last 3 years”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-has-detained-a-third-of-pro-kurdish-hdp-members-over-last-3-years/

18-” Turkish prosecutors revise charge against journalist Soncan over his ‘Gülen movement is not a terror organisation’ statement”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-prosecutors-revise-charge-against-journalist-soncan-over-his-gulen-movement-is-not-a-terror-organisation-statement/

19-” Detention warrants issued for 300 teachers in a month in Turkey’s capital of Ankara”
https://stockholmcf.org/detention-warrants-issued-for-300-teachers-in-a-month-in-turkeys-capital-of-ankara/

20-” Interpol shelves Turkish government’s arrest requests over baseless terrorism charges”
https://stockholmcf.org/interpol-shelves-turkish-governments-arrest-requests-over-baseless-terrorism-charges/

21-” EP member Sommer: High time for EU to act over shocking developments in Turkey”
https://stockholmcf.org/ep-member-sommer-high-time-for-eu-to-act-over-shocking-developments-in-turkey/

22-” CPJ calls on Turkey to stop equating journalism with terrorism”
https://stockholmcf.org/cpj-calls-on-turkey-to-stop-equating-journalism-with-terrorism/

23-” Turkish gov’t puts property of 5 shuttered media outlets up for sale”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-puts-property-of-5-shuttered-media-outlets-up-for-sale/

24-” Turkish court sentences 25 journalists to long prison terms over alleged links to Gülen movement”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-court-sentences-17-journalists-to-long-prison-terms-over-alleged-links-to-gulen-movement/

25-” UN slams Turkish government over widespread human rights violations”
https://stockholmcf.org/un-ohchr-slams-turkish-government-over-widespread-human-rights-violations/

26-” Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 121 women on Int’l Women’s Day over alleged Gülen links”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-issues-detention-warrants-for-121-women-on-intl-womens-day-over-alleged-gulen-links/

27-” Turkish gov’t refuses to release woman jailed for alleged Gülen links despite risk of loss of vision”
https://stockholmcf.org/turkish-govt-refuses-to-release-woman-jailed-for-alleged-gulen-links-despite-risk-of-loss-of-vision/

28-” Int’l bar associations urge Turkish gov’t to stop arbitrary detentions, torture”
https://stockholmcf.org/intl-bar-associations-urge-turkish-govt-to-stop-arbitrary-detentions-torture/

29-” Turkey must return to rule of law – European parliamentarian”
https://ahvalnews.com/trials/turkey-must-return-rule-law-european-parliamentarian

30-” HDP deputy: Prison population in Turkey increased by 100 percent in past 6 years”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/03/09/hdp-deputy-prison-population-in-turkey-increased-by-100-percent-in-past-6-years/

31-” OSCE urges Turkey to free jailed journalists, drop unfounded charges”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2018/03/09/osce-urges-turkey-to-free-jailed-journalists-drop-unfounded-charges/

Türkiye tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri | 2/26/2018-3/5/2018

1-” İşkencenin belgesi: Gökhan Açıkkollu böyle öldürüldü”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/iskencenin-belgesi-gokhan-acikkollu-boyle-olduruldu-h113605.html

2-” Gözaltındaki yönetmen: Saatlerce işkenceye maruz kaldım”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/gozaltindaki-yonetmen-saatlerce-iskenceye-maruz-kaldim-h113593.html

3-” Kırıkkale Cazaevi’nde yine işkence: ‘Adettendir’ deyip saldırıyorlar”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/kirikkale-cazaevinde-yine-iskence-adettendir-deyip-saldiriyorlar-h113590.html

4-” Silivri cezaevinde hak ihlalleri hız kesmeden devam ediyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/silivri-cezaevinde-hak-ihlalleri-hiz-kesmeden-devam-ediyor-h113581.html

5-” Sivas E Tipi yönetiminden tutuklulara işkence, kötü muamele ve psikolojik baskı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/sivas-e-tipi-yonetiminden-tutuklulara-iskence-kotu-muamele-ve-psikolojik-baski-h113543.html

6-” Cezaevinde ayakta sayım vermeyen tutuklulara hem darp hem de ceza”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cezaevinde-ayakta-sayim-vermeyen-tutuklulara-hem-darp-hem-de-ceza-h113531.html

7-” Türkiye’deki adaletten bir aile manzarası: Anne, baba ve kızları tutuklu”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/turkiyedeki-adaletten-bir-aile-manzarasi-anne-baba-ve-kizlari-tutuklu-h113507.html

8-” İşkenceyle öldürülen Açıkkollu için örgüt, diyerek meşrulaştırmaya çalışmak da işkence suçu”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/iskenceyle-oldurulen-acikkollu-icin-orgut-diyerek-mesrulastirmaya-calismak-da-iskence-sucu-h113506.html

9-” Hayati tehlikesi bulunan Öğretmen Şerif Ağu’nun tedavisi için tahliye edilmesi gerekiyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/hayati-tehlikesi-bulunan-ogretmen-serif-agunun-tedavisi-icin-tahliye-edilmesi-gerekiyor-h113487.html

10-” Yunan gazeteci, işkenceleri ve muhalif medyayı belgeselle ortaya koydu”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/yunan-gazeteci-iskenceleri-ve-muhalif-medyayi-belgeselle-ortaya-koydu-h113450.html

11-” Birleşmiş Milletler: Türkiye’de insan haklarının durumu kötüleşiyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/birlesmis-milletler-turkiyede-insan-haklarinin-durumu-kotulesiyor-h113432.html

12-” Savcılık Gökhan öğretmenle ilgili açıklama yaptı; Gazeteci Ceyhan belgelerle açıklamayı çürüttü”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/savcilik-gokhan-ogretmenle-ilgili-aciklama-yapti-gazeteci-ceyhan-belgelerle-aciklamayi-curuttu-h113427.html

13-” Gözaltında işkenceden ölen Gökhan Açıkkollu’nun belgeseli yapıldı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/gozaltinda-iskenceden-olen-gokhan-acikkollunun-belgeseli-yapildi-h113424.html

14-” Mersin’de sohbetten suikast çıkartıp 43 kişiyi tutukladılar”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/mersinde-sohbetten-suikast-cikartip-43-kisiyi-tutukladilar-h113421.html

15-” Ağır ilaçlar alan Emrah Hanım kör olmak üzere ama tahliye edilmiyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/agir-ilaclar-alan-emrah-hanim-kor-olmak-uzere-ama-tahliye-edilmiyor-h113412.html

16-” Erdoğan rejimi cezaevinde bir kişiyi daha öldürdü”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/erdogan-rejimi-cezaevinde-bir-kisiyi-daha-oldurdu-h113347.html

17-” İşkencelere maruz kalan Deniz Hakan Şen hayatını kaybetti”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/iskencelere-maruz-kalan-deniz-hakan-sen-hayatini-kaybetti-h113346.html

18-” Eskişehir’de gözaltındaki kadınların başörtüsünün zorla çıkarıldığı belirtiliyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/eskisehirde-gozaltindaki-kadinlarin-basortusunun-zorla-cikarildigi-belirtiliyor-h113334.html

19-” Gökhan öğretmenin yaşadığı işkenceleri koğuş arkadaşı teker teker anlattı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/gokhan-ogretmenin-yasadigi-iskenceleri-kogus-arkadasi-teker-teker-anlatti-h113287.html

20-” Tutuklu polis müdürü: Eşimin can güvenliğinden endişe ediyorum”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/tutuklu-polis-muduru-esimin-can-guvenliginden-endise-ediyorum/

21-” Polis pazarcılara tazyikli su ve gazla saldırdı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/polis-pazarcilara-tazyikli-su-ve-gazla-saldirdi/

22-” Üniversitelilere gözaltında işkence: Kadın öğrencinin burnu çatladı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/universitelilere-gozaltinda-iskence-kadin-ogrencinin-burnu-catladi/

23-“Kadınlar Günü: Gülen’in yeğeni, Öksüz’ün baldızı, 33 kadına gözaltı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/29-ilde-operasyon-kadinlar-gununde-onlarca-kadin-gozaltinda/

24-” AKP döneminde kadına şiddet: İlk kez, bir yılda 400 kadın öldürüldü”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/kadina-siddet-akp-iktidarinda-rekor-kiriyor-ilk-kez-bir-yilda-400-kadin-olduruldu/

25-” İstanbul’da gece baskını: Gazeteci Hayri Tunç gözaltında”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/istanbulda-gece-baskini-gazeteci-hayri-tunc-gozaltinda/

26-” Kız öğrencilerin evlerine polis baskını: 9 kişi gözaltına alındı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/kiz-ogrencilerin-evlerine-polis-baskini-9-kisi-gozaltina-alindi/

27-” Cezaevinde kadın ve çocuklara çıplak arama: Mahkumlar açlık grevine başladı”
http://www.kronos.news/tr/cezaevinde-kadin-ve-cocuklara-ciplak-arama-mahkumlar-aclik-grevine-basladi/

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