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human rights violations

Gokhan Acikkollu, a teacher tortured and died in Turkey

Gokhan Acikkollu, a teacher tortured and died in Turkey. 

He was tortured both physically and psychologically and hospitalized 2 times in Turkey. Unable to bear the torture and died on August 5, 2016.
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PRESS RELEASE: URGENT CALL TO GOVERNMENTS TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF PROMINENT DISSIDENTS OF ERDOGAN REGIME ABROAD AGAINST ABDUCTIONS ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE VICTIMS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES 8/30/2019

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FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

URGENT CALL TO GOVERNMENTS TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF PROMINENT DISSIDENTS OF ERDOGAN REGIME ABROAD AGAINST ABDUCTIONS ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE VICTIMS OF ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES 8/30/ 2019

We regretfully acknowledge that, in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in July 2019, 119 persons have been abducted in Turkey and also on the soils of different countries worldwide. Those abduction cases have been operated by the alleged special agents assigned by Turkish authorities.

As Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), we kindly request from governments around the world and all relevant international organizations caring about human rights to promptly take all necessary preemptive steps to ensure the safety of the prominent dissidents of Erdogan regime before it is too late, including to;

Identify individuals in the country who are likely targets of the Turkish National Intelligence Agency and the
The Turkish government and that is in danger of being threatened, abducted, tortured and/or killed or illegally
extradited,
• Investigate evidence of the Turkish government’s illegal activity, including potential perpetrators’ actions,
behaviors and abductions; extrajudicial assassinations of targets; and the torture or illegal removal of person(s)
from the country.
• Urge the Turkish government to immediately dissolve the Office for Human Abduction and Executions.
• Support Human Rights Defenders in Turkey and abroad, and prevent arbitrary deprivation of life and
extrajudicial killings,
• Turkish diplomats that have been working as spies, must be watched closely, and they must be prevented if they
are in preparation of any harm,
State departments should urgently call in Turkish ambassadors to attain information of whether they are working
on similar illegal abductions operations against the dissidents of Erdogan Regime.

Yours sincerely,

Hafza Y. GIRDAP
Spokesperson
directorhg@silencedturkey.org

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

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FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE

TURKISH JOURNALIST AHMET ALTAN’S ARBITRARY IMPRISONMENT AND CALL FOR HIS RELEASE

Ahmet H Altan is an acclaimed Turkish novelist with more than ten published books, columnist, journalist, editor-in-chief of a newspaper, and avid defender of democracy, civil rights and freedom of speech for all layers of the society. He was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole with the accusation of being a member of a terrorist organization, attempting to overthrow the government and the constitutional order, interfering with the work of the government and the national assembly. Turkish Supreme Court overturned the decision on him in January 2019. However,  the court denied Ahmet Altan’s petition for release. He was also convicted for insulting the president later in 2019.

Ahmet Altan had spent his career of more than 30 years by dissecting the visible and hidden fault lines threatening democracy and civil rights in Turkey. Throughout his career, Altan has always been subject to attacks and praises for lauding democracy, human rights, and civil liberties for all. He was sentenced to prison for 20 months in 1995 for defending the rights of Kurdish citizens  -his sentencing was later delayed on the condition of not repeating the same “crime”. He published documents obtained from military and bureaucratic sources much like “Pentagon Papers” and “Watergate scandal”. His leadership in enabling investigative journalism in Turkey and his stance on many subjects made him the recipient of more than 100 lawsuits instead of journalism awards. His stand-off with military and government and his principled defense of minorities remind us the likes of Ben Bradlee of The Washington Post (Watergate, Pentagon Papers) and Ralph McGill of Atlanta Constitution (Defending anti-segregation in Jim Crow era Georgia).

In December 2013, a graft probe by the prosecutors against five ministers and their sons as well as the son of the prime minister of the time, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was abruptly nipped in the bud by Erdogan. Altan’s defense of and emphasis on the justice system in a three-legged democratic system ruffled a lot of feathers and brought him the wrath of the government right after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Shortly after, he was detained and arrested. Though he was released on probation, his pseudo-freedom lasted only 24 hours. Upon leaving the courtroom, Ahmet spoke to the press, saying “This country is ours, we are not afraid. We’ll always defend law and democracy”.  During the trial, the prosecutors even claimed that he used his TV appearance the day before the coup attempt to give “subliminal messages” in support of the coup. He also shared the records of his experience during the trial with his lawyer to be made public for future generations. His notes were published and translated to English with the name “I WILL NEVER SEE THE WORLD AGAIN”.

 Snippets from Altan’s writings:

  • “We may die or be killed, be jailed or be tried in the courts, be left unemployed, be tortured or shot, but we may never be defeated. We are the defenders of life.
  • “How crowded is our loneliness! Wherever we turn, we bump into ourselves!”
  • “Love is like a sword wound! It heals but surely leaves its mark.”
  • “You can imprison me, but you cannot keep me here. Because, like all writers, I have magic, I can pass through your walls with ease.”
  • “I will never see the world again; I will never see a sky unframed by the walls of a courtyard. I am descending to Hades. I walk into the darkness like a god who writes his own destiny. My hero and I disappear into the darkness toge”

Today, we urge the Turkish government to enforce the rule of law and to immediately terminate Ahmet Altan’s arbitrary imprisonment! We also call on the international community to urge the authorities in Turkey for his immediate release and Ahmet Altan’s colleagues, friends, readers to speak out!

 

Hafza Y. GIRDAP

Spokesperson

directorhg@silencedturkey.org

 

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Free Journalist Ahmet Altan Flyer

TAKE ACTION TO FREE AHMET ALTAN

“We may never be defeated. We may die or be killed, be jailed or be tried in the courts, be left unemployed, be tortured or shot, but we may never be defeated. We are the defenders of life.”
#FreeAhmetAltan
#AhmetAltanaÖzgürlük
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TAKE ACTION TO FREE AHMET ALTAN

Ahmet Altan (born 1950) is a Turkish journalist, prominent novelist, and author. A working journalist for more than 20 years, he has served in all stages of the profession, from being a night shift reporter to editor in chief in various newspapers and he was the editor-in-chief of Taraf newspaper a liberal newspaper between 2007-2012. Ahmet Altan was arrested on September 10, 2016, in a dawn raid for allegedly giving subliminal messages the night before the failed coup on July 15, 2016. He was charged with attempting to overthrow the “constitutional order,” “interfering with the work of the national assembly,” and “interfering with the work of the government” through violence and sentenced to life in prison. Altan is among thousands of prisoners of conscience in Turkey. We urge the Turkish authorities to free Altan and stop human rights violations against him.

On Thursday, a press release will be made by AST on behalf of the release of journalist and intellectual Ahmet Altan.

Send a letter or video Message for ALTAN:

More details will be shared when the time approaches. You can share your letter and a video message to Ahmet Altan or other political prisoners via AST.

CAMPAIGN DETAILS

● A special video is being prepared by AST for the release of the political prisoners and will be published on Thursday.
● The press release will be made to the relevant places;
● Social Media campaign will be organized;
● The signature campaign for ALTAN will be launched;
● The issue will be transmitted to international institutions again;

ACTION ITEMS

● You can send a letter or video message to Ahmet Altan by yourself or through AST; You can send your message to help@silencedturkey.org
● You can support the campaign that will be held on Thursday;
● You can voluntarily support the work of AST or share your feedback through help@silencedturkey.org
● You can financially support the work of AST by donating to Www.silencedturkey.org/donatenow

 

Willing contributions of any size are always accepted and appreciated.

 

 

 

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PRESS RELEASE: The critical health situation of FATMA GORMEZ and urgent action for the release of BEKIR GORMEZ on conditions of pending trial without arrest 7/19/2019

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PRESS RELEASE: The critical health situation of FATMA GORMEZ and urgent action for the release of BEKIR GORMEZ on conditions of pending trial without arrest 7/19/2019

 

THE CRITICAL HEALTH SITUATION OF FATMA GORMEZ AND URGENT ACTION FOR THE RELEASE OF BEKIR GORMEZ ON CONDITIONS OF PENDING TRIAL WITHOUT ARREST

Under the state of emergency, imposed after the July 2016 attempted coup and lifted on July 2018, President Erdogan presided over the cabinet, which could pass decrees without parliamentary scrutiny or the possibility of appeal to the constitutional court. Public officials continued to be dismissed or suspended by decree without due process, with more than 170,000 dismissed since July 2016. Those dismissed from their jobs lost their income, social benefits, medical insurance and even their homes.

According turkishminute.com, Fatma Gormez, a former teacher who was removed from her job in the aftermath of a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016, now weighs only 29 kilograms due to a series of health problems, Fatma is calling for the release of her husband to enable her to continue living via a video message posted on Twitter.[1] (Bekir Gormez is accused of allegedly posting tweets on his account.)

Stockholm Center for Freedom reports that Berk Gormez, a 14-year-old disabled son of that couple who were both purged, lost his life in January 2018. Berk’s father, Bekir Gormez was not permitted to visit him for the last 17 months despite of his and his mother’s severe health problems.[1] During the funeral of Berk, Bekir Gormez was not allowed to take his handcuffs off.

Given the arbitrary detentions of thousands of people due to lack of rule of law in Turkey, hundreds of thousands of people, including family members, are being affected and exposed to severe human rights violations. Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, HDP MP, stated on Twitter through his personal account that the case of Fatma Gormez was submitted to Supreme Court requesting her husband’s release by the court pending his trial.

We strongly urge the Turkish government to take the case of Fatma Gormez into consideration immediate effectively and release her husband on conditions of trial without arrest.

 

       Hafza Y. GIRDAP

          Spokesperson

UNHCHR
The Honorable Michelle Bachelet Jeria
U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High
Commissioner for Human Rights
Palais des Nations
CH- 121 I Geneva 10. Switzerland
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org

UN WOMEN
Phumzile Mlambo
Executive Director of UN Women
twitter: @phumzileunwomen
Address:

CSW Communications Procedure
Human Rights Section
UN Women
220 East 42nd Street, 17th Floor
New York, NY 10017 USA
e-mail: cp-csw@unwomen.org.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Address: 2201 C St NW, Washington, DC 20520
Ph: (202) 647-4000

Twitter: @StateDept
https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform

FREEDOM HOUSE
Washington Office Address:
1850 M Street NW, Floor 11, Washington D.C. 20036
info@freedomhouse.org

Twitter: @FreedomHouseDC

MINISTRY OF JUSTICE, TURKEY
The Honorable Abdülhamit Gül
Minister of Justice
Ministry of Justice
06659 Kizilay
Ankara, Republic of Turkey
Email: info@adalet.gov.tr

AMBASSADOR OF TURKEY TO US.
The Honorable Serdar Kilic
Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the
United States
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC, USA 20008
Email: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr

 

[1] https://stockholmcf.org/14-year-old-disabled-berk-dies-in-absence-of-his-father-who-is-in-prison-over-alleged-gulen-links/

 

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Office of the United Nations high commissioner of human rights report on TURKEY-2018- part2

Office of the United Nations high commissioner of human rights report on TURKEY-2018- part2

 

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Torture and ill-treatment in Turkey

Torture and ill-treatment in Turkey

 

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Office of the United Nations high commissioner of human rights report on TURKEY-2018- part1

Office of the United Nations high commissioner of human rights report on TURKEY-2018- part1

 

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PRESS RELEASE: The so-called coup attempt july 15 serves as a justification for the complete conversion of a country’s administrative system and persecution of hundreds of thousands in Turkey.

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The so-called coup attempt July 15 serves as a justification for the complete conversion of a country’s administrative system and persecution of hundreds of thousands in Turkey.

On July 15, 2016 Turkey witnessed an attempted but failed military coup against Erdoğan government. During this horrific uprising, hundreds of people were killed and thousands of others were injured. Right after the coup attempt, the Turkish government has taken a wave of oppressive actions against not only the alleged coup plotters but also those that are perceived as critics of the regime. With that, the country’s political spectrum has been completely changed. Amid massive crackdown on media outlets and hundreds of thousands of the dissidents, President Erdoğan further consolidated his power with a controversial referendum in 2017 that changed the country from a parliamentary democracy into one-man rule. Being seen a setback from the rule of law, the new presidential system deepened concerns on human rights.

Marking a monumental turning point in Turkey’s history, the uprising has not been thoroughly investigated. Questioning the government’s narrative has caused many to imprisonment. The leaked details fueled the suspicions on the government’s narrative thus diminished its credibility. The narrative along with the massive crackdown on the dissident groups and Erdoğan’s consolidation of power faced heavy criticism from almost all quarters of the democratic world. In fact, a former representative of the European Parliament and well-known politician Andrew Duff defined it as “quick and relentless so-called coup”. The present report of Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST) provides an overview of controversies and dark points on the “so-called coup” along with the human right concerns during the ongoing post-coup crackdown on the Turkey’s dissident groups.

Some of the highlights from the report are:

  • A coup with no plan of action: Every coup has a certain plan of action, yet no official document has been presented so far for the July 15 coup attempt or the list of individuals involved with the Yurtta Sulh Council that has allegedly masterminded the coup.
  • A “blessing from God”: Right after the coup attempt, Erdoğan described the incident as a “blessing from God”, implying that he had finally found the opportunity to carry out the purge on his dissidents.
  • Step by step towards a presidential regime: Within less than a year, a referendum for constitutional change was held and the new Turkish-style presidential system was put into effect. Following this, Erdogan became the first president of the new regime through early elections.
  • A coup notice from TSK to MIT: Osman Karacan, a major in TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) went to the MIT (National Intelligence Organization) headquarters on July 15 at 2:20pm to give notice about the planned coup. Yet, no real precautions were taken to prevent or suppress the coup until 10.00pm.
  • Chief of MIT and Chief of Defense are still in office: Chief of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Hakan Fidan, Chief of Defense Hulusi Akar and 2nd Chief of Defense Yaşar Güler reportedly held a series of meetings following the notice at 2:20pm on the planned coup but did not notify President Erdoğan until 7:00pm, yet they kept their office.
  • The conflicting explanations from Erdogan regarding time of coup: When speaking to national and international media, Erdoğan stated contradicting times with regards to the time when he was informed of the planned coup.
  • The “controlled coup”: Turkey’s main opposition party (CHP) described what happened on the July 15 as “controlled coup”.
  • Planes on standby for escape: It is discovered that 4 different airplanes at 4 different locations were arranged for Erdoğan to be on standby that night, implying Erdoğan’s possible knowledge of the planned coup attempt.
  • Secret meetings a day before the coup: It is revealed that Akar, Chief of Defense, and Fidan, Chief of MIT (National Intelligence Organization), held a one-on-one confidential meeting that lasted four hours, a day before the coup.
  • “I received the orders to reinforce the Chief of Defense Forces from Zekai Aksakallı”: Colonel Fırat Akkuş stated this during the court hearing, bringing into question the role of Special Forces Commander Zekai Aksakallı in the coup.
  • Erdoğan did not allow an investigation: The Turkish Grand National Assembly’s July 15 Investigation Commission wanted to listen to the testimonies of Chief of Defense Hulusi Akar and MIT Chief Hakan Fidan. However, President Erdoğan did not allow either of the names to appear in front of the commission.
  • “Let an international commission investigate the coup and we will accept its findings”: The proposal of Fetullah Gülen who was blamed for masterminding the coup attempt is not accepted by the Turkish government.
  • Events not yet taken place written into the July 15 Official Report, how did that happen? It was revealed that the official report for July 15 prepared by Serdar Coşkun, the Constitutional Order Attorney General of the time, contained written reports of events that would take place at a later date written as though they had taken place at the time of the written record.
  • Purge lists prepared early on: Attorney General Serdar Coşkun admitted that the first cases of individuals being taken into custody and being arrested on July 16 were carried out based on the official report of the events. However, 3,000 judges and prosecutors were arrested on July 16 based on coup involvement although there is no evidence to support the allegations.
  • A project I disliked is July 15: When Binali Yıldırım, the PM of the time, was asked by a group of journalists if there were any projects that he felt a bit too demanding, his reply, in a sarcastic tone, was “Well, July 15 was a project I did not like at all.”

We urge;

  • international organizations to establish an independent commission to investigate and clarify the infamous July 15 coup attempt in Turkey,
  • international bodies to examine politically motivated coup charges in order to end the purge and grave human rights violations that are affecting millions of innocent lives justified through this controversial coup attempt,
  • the Turkish government to end arbitrary detentions, to find the perpetrators of enforced disappearances and bring them to justice, to reinstate the unlawfully dismissed public sector workers and to ensure the rule of law in Turkey.

 

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