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ERDOGAN’S LONG ARMS: ABDUCTIONS IN TURKEY AND ABROAD

 

The Origins of the Problem

Turkey’s struggle to draw the country more in line with the pillars of the European Union faced a long and accelerating slide. The country’s Freedom in the World score has been in free fall since 2014 due to an escalating series of assaults on the press, social media users, protesters, political parties, the judiciary, and the electoral system, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan fought to impose personalized control over the state and society in a deteriorating domestic and regional security environment.

Turkey’s drift into the grip of authoritarianism began before the failed 2016 coup. The government’s heavy-handed response to nationwide Gezi Park protests in 2013, the start of a purge against members Gülen community after the corruption investigation in December 2013 paved the way for the emergence of an illiberal government. Many observers and experts pinpoint this year, 2013, as the major turning point for Turkey’s drift away from liberal democracy. The steady descent into an autocratic system leads 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 after the failed coup attempt in 2016.

The signs of the conflict first came to surface after Erdoğan made clear his intentions to establish a more authoritarian rule with the powers vested by the 2011 referendum. The battle lines were drawn after the infamous graft operations of 17 and 25 December, in 2013, where prosecutors rounded up some politicians and businessmen who were under surveillance in a longitudinal investigation. Erdoğan said the corruption files were nothing but a sham, perpetrated by the Gülen movement as a soft coup in line with the interests of the foreign powers, which were envious of the Turkish rise as a global power.

Hizmet had long been hailed as the soft power for the country with its huge focus on education and humanitarian aid activities as well as interfaith dialogue efforts. “Gülen schools portrayed Turkey as a mystical but adaptable and open-minded country, and became a place for building intimate connections with elites and their children in dozens of countries.” Erdoğan used the movement’s international prevalence as a proof for his claim that it became the tool for the foreign powers.

When President Goes to War

Erdoğan has vowed on many occasions to uproot the Gülen Movement wherever it is. He did everything in his capacity, banking on the state power, and striking new partnerships with his old enemies against the Hizmet, which Erdoğan started calling the Parallel Structure. Erdoğan declared a “witch-hunt” against the movement, purging Gülen’s followers from public services, crippling its media power, erecting red-tape obstacles, cowing its institutions and companies with interminable inspections, etc. Finally, on July 15, 2016, a coup attempt, which Erdoğan declared Hizmet as the main perpetrator and used this argument to justify his undemocratic measures.

Erdoğan said: “Neither in the East nor in the West is a single member of this organization comfortable as before, nor will they be. If not today, then tomorrow, one day every member of the FETO traitors’ front will pay for his treason against the country and the nation.2 ” FETÖ, the abbreviation for the Fetullahist Terror Organization, was chosen by him to demonize the movement.

A Cultural Genocide

Erdoğan was not simply flapping his jaws. He has already been doing everything to make life unbearable for the Gülen followers inside the country. The coup attempt, which the Hizmet never claimed involvement in and renounced from the first moment, gave him an unquestionable and unchallenged excuse to completely disregard the current laws, as well as some international laws like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, under a state of emergency. What ensued was a witch hunt at an unprecedented frantic intensity.

According to the research conducted by the AST as of February 2020, investigations have been carried out on more than 610,000 people. The number of people arrested as a result of these investigations has already gone above 160,000 and counting. Currently, about 63,000 political prisoners are behind bars in the Turkish prisons. A total of 780 children are inside these overcrowded prisons, where their mothers endure agonizing troubles to raise them. 6,021 academics were expelled from their universities; whereas 15 private universities, which had affiliations with the Hizmet were shut down. 3,003 schools and dormitories were closed, millions of books were burned. Roughly 200 media outlets were seized and were either converted to pro-government mouthpieces or muzzled completely. 161 journalists were imprisoned. 4,463 judges or prosecutors were dismissed from public service and some were incarcerated. Tens of thousands of polices officers were axed. The licenses of 1,539 attorneys are currently under trial and 580 of them are in jail. 11 people died under arrest or during interrogation. 93 prisoners were killed due to torture and ill-treatment.

Globalizing the Theatre of War

Erdoğan also attempted to convince countries through carrot and stick policies or more diplomatic means to join his personal fight and do the same to the Hizmet members within their borders without heeding too much about what the rule of law by its very own nature requires. Various governments didn’t hesitate to jump on the bandwagon and yielded to the diplomatic pressure from Erdoğan to arrest and deport members of the Gülen Movement active in their countries. Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Georgia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Turkmenistan are some of these countries. In some countries, like Myanmar, Kosovo, Kazakhstan, and Sudan, the countries didn’t even follow their own laws while carrying out the deportations. In some countries, the local intelligence agencies cooperated to seize Gülen followers, while in some others, Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MİT) didn’t even need to ask for permission to stage an operation.

In Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Malaysia, and Pakistan, the domestic authorities blatantly violated international laws by deliberately deporting or letting Turkish intel agents kidnap Erdoğan’s opponents, who had applied for asylum or had UN protection against persecution.

Vicious Methods Inside the Country and Abroad

Although ascertaining the exact number is not easy, an estimated total of 130 people (refer to AST’s research) were abducted inside and outside Turkey through nefarious methods, brushing away even the most basic rights to fair trial and defense. Some of these people whisked away abroad by clandestine operations, were under the protection of the United Nations. They were subjected to heavy tortures, made to sign fake testimonies, turned into the living dead, and even murdered. Ankara was even accused of exploiting the Interpol system by submitting extradition requests for over 40,0003 individuals with arbitrary terror charges, revoking passports of the dissidents who struggle to survive as expats, issuing arrest warrants on fake accusations, etc. MİT organized covert operations to abduct and bring to Turkey mostly people with alleged ties with the Gülen movement, sometimes in collaboration with the relevant authorities of the country and in some other cases without even bothering to inform them.

Inside the country, certain figures were abducted in broad daylight. 29 people (refer to AST’s research) were registered as victims of enforced disappearance. A majority of these people were released, while some are feared to have been killed since no news has been heard from them for years now. Some of the survivors found the courage to tell the gory details of the torture they had been subjected to. Almost all of the people who were turned over to the police and were arrested show signs of heavy physical and psychological damage.

The Scope of the Report

The report consists of three parts. The introductory part will first offer a consolidated approach towards the nature of the war Turkish State has initiated against the Gülen movement, with an emphasis on Erdoğan’s passion for vengeance which has exacerbated the conditions for the Gülen followers. A thorough discussion over the abductions and enforced disappearances within the framework of international law will also be presented in the first part.

The second part will shed light on how the Erdoğan administration extended its operations against the Gülen movement followers all around the world by stipulating and examining all known cases around the world. The third part will deal with the enforced abductions in Turkey, also called the Black Transporter cases.

Part 1- Introduction

It is no secret that Turkey’s authoritarian political Islamist regime, headed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ruler Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has long been suppressing opposition in the country. Hand in glove with the shady elements of the country’s former powerhouses, its fight against any kind of political dissent has been carried out through harsh measures that have often invoked the dark memories of the witch hunts of the Middle Ages.

As revealed in a myriad of incidents, the actions engaged by the Turkish state to squelch and muzzle the critics include a list of the most baleful forms of crimes against humanity. Hate crimes such as defamation and libel gush out in torrents every day from a colossal propaganda machine against any segment of the society that dares to position itself opposite the government. Once shunned as a despicable act even for the nation’s intelligence agency, profiling has become a daily routine of not only state institutions, but also some non-governmental organizations. The profiling files are published in national media outlets as if it is a most ordinary thing. Open or covert threats, physical attacks, and torture in the name of the state and for the “holy” purpose of saving the dignity of Erdoğan’s position are no longer counted as crimes. Nor is this all: those who use force towards this aim are revered and rewarded.

Among all these sinister crimes, this report will attempt to throw light upon one of the most contemptible, one that the state has been relentlessly committing recently under orders of Erdoğan: forced disappearances, abductions, and quid pro quo renditions of the dissidents in Turkey and abroad. It will also attempt to show how the autocratic regime has been employing state institutions as well as what appear to be non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as visible actors in the process of its persecutions.

Besides the fact that the magnitude of such efforts to silence, persecute the dissenting voices has not abated within the borders; the Turkish state has also escalated its cross-border operations against the dissenters. These unbridled and often reckless actions have caused in many cases problems in relationships with other governments since such engagements are a clear violation of international treaties. Such actions are considered a direct interference in other countries’ domestic affairs, as well as an unconcealed denial of their national sovereignty.

It goes without saying that these clandestine operations also pose a crime against humanity, and, as evident in the UN practices in similar cases, may become subject to international tribunal proceedings. Unfortunately, in this sense, Turkey has descended to become a part of the club of countries which hardly respect the foreign jurisdictions while conspiring against persons or communities they deem the enemy. North Korea stands out as a notorious example, as it uses enforced disappearances, abductions, renditions, and assassinations of political opponents as an ordinary practice to eradicate the figures it finds “inconvenient” for its stability. How unfortunate it is to see the public indifference in Turkey as Erdoğan steers the country, which had once been a regional model for its seemingly successful combination of Islam and democracy, towards the path of the most oppressive regimes of the world, with such despicable and inhumane actions of enforced disappearances, torture and murder.

An enforced or involuntary disappearance is a direct assault on human rights, which cannot be legitimized on any grounds in terms of international law. Neither can it be conceivably acceptable in terms of humanity and conscience. The Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance provides a satisfactory definition for this crime. Proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in its resolution 47/133 of 18 December 1992 as a body of principles for all States, the declaration defines an enforced disappearance as incidents in which “persons are arrested, detained or abducted against their will or otherwise deprived of their liberty by officials of different branches or levels of Government, or by organized groups or private individuals acting on behalf of, or with the support, direct or indirect, consent or acquiescence of the Government, followed by a refusal to disclose the fate or whereabouts of the persons concerned or a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of their liberty, which places such persons outside the protection of the law”.4 How can one justify such a vicious act?

What is even worse is that the Turkish authorities have only rarely repudiated extreme and illegal measures to silence the opposition. On the contrary, the top government officials have boasted of them to win the favor of the masses for domestic political gains. Even bureaucrats from security and intelligence units have embraced such practices. The Turkish media, which has almost completely become a subservient tool of the government and a loyal amplifier to propagate Erdoğan’s messages to the masses, is brimming with success stories of how people are beaten and snatched in front of their children and wife or with “delightful” details of how these “bad guys” were whisked away from a foreign country — with or without the cooperation of the officials of that country — as if they were not talking about the devastation of real lives, but rather narrating fictional spy thrillers.

This report aims to put a particular focus on these devastated lives: to examine abductions and enforced disappearances by the Turkish state inside and outside its borders. It tries to include as many cases as possible by resorting to open resources, as well as by trying to get access to the personal accounts of those who survived.

Background

The Erdoğan’s regime has traditionally made the capital of such shady methods to attack its enemies and the groups it sees detrimental to its core establishment. The Kurdish opposition, for instance, has long been a usual target for surreptitious assaults and assassinations. Likewise, leftist groups, communists, and Alevites have also been subjected to similar underhanded actions. During its fight to exterminate the Kurdish separatist insurgency, thousands of victims were vanished, especially in eastern and southeastern Anatolia. Even today, two decades after their disappearance, the mothers of abducted and most likely killed children meet every Saturday in İstanbul to ask for at least a graveyard for their children. In recent years, however, the main victims of the extrajudicial practices have been the members of the Gülen movement or Hizmet.

Gülen movement’s supporters mostly agreed with AKP’s policies that strengthened the country’s democratic institutions while forcing the anti-democratic elements of the established state to retreat. However, as Erdoğan became increasingly more enthusiastic to fill the void left behind by the defeated ancient régime with his own dictatorial desires, the relations between the two groups deteriorated. Erdoğan accused Hizmet of perpetrating a plot to topple his government in December 2013 with two graft operations that implicated some businessmen close to him as well as a few members of his government and started a massive campaign against the movement.

Here, a paragraph must be inserted to briefly recall the dramatic overturn of the relations between the AKP and Hizmet, which also marks the time when the country started severing its already flimsy connections with the rule of law. When Erdoğan’s network of shady relations was laid bare by the corruption operations, the politician promptly declared that his government was under attack by the global powerhouses which didn’t want Turkey’s rise again as a regional actor and that these secret organizations assigned Hizmet to finish off his party, the only hope for the revival of the old magnificence of the country. His declaration paved the way to justify his undemocratic measures and dark propaganda against members of the movement. In just a couple of days, he changed his rhetoric utterly from praising how aloof a movement of sincerity and devotion the Hizmet is, to how fiendish a demon it actually is and that it is responsible for all evil in the country. Erdoğan said Hizmet volunteered to become a puppet of the nation’s foreign enemies and so it is also the enemy of the people and for this very reason, a total annihilation would be good for everyone. This reasoning, inspired suddenly by the corruption cases, interestingly convinced Turks, possibly owing to the extremely loyal media power Erdoğan has and to the general inclination of ordinary Turkish people towards accepting conspiracy theories. The further away the conspiracy theories are from reality, the more credible they become, especially when they are repeated by such a powerful figure as Erdoğan. The politician lost no time in hitting the roads and started public rallies all around Turkey, sometimes in three different cities in a single day, to tell the same lies to the masses, while every single message from his mouth was multiplied by the media to reach millions over and over again. At the same time, the prosecutors and law enforcement officers who had participated in the corruption operations were either demoted or assigned to insignificant units, contrary to current laws. Erdoğan’s next step would be to seek cooperation against the common enemy with the former actors of the deep state, who had been forced to retreat after their coup plans were exposed.

A systematic and sweeping purge of the critical figures in the state bureaucracy ensued; the victims were largely the people affiliated with the movement. Following the failed coup of July 15 in 2016, which Erdoğan blamed on Hizmet and its leader, the purge became even more widespread, and the methods turned more vicious.

Hizmet had been labeled as a terror organization by Erdoğan’s cabinet as per the recommendations of the National Security Council (MGK), a still powerful unit of the former regime, but a considerable portion of the domestic public opinion was still in favor of Hizmet, as the movement had always praised peace over violence, dialogue over conflict and education over everything else. Gülen had frequently maligned anyone resorting to terror in the name of Allah as non-believers and the most dangerous enemies of Islam; therefore, many were still shrugging off Erdoğan’s defamation campaigns and his continuous attributions of terror to Gülen and his followers. But after the July 15th botched coup attempt, with the help of a torrential flood of a one-sided narration of the coup details, it didn’t take long until public opinion completely turned against Hizmet and its leader, even though they were disavowing the coup repeatedly from the first moment on. With the help of an enormous public outrage against anything and anyone related to the Gülen movement, Erdoğan found the strength and excuse to disregard any obligation to stick to laws, fairness, and mercy. When he shouted in public rallies that all Hizmet followers must be exterminated, he got applause. When he ordered the plunder of the properties of Hizmet members, he got cheers. When he asked people to snitch on their relatives and friends from Hizmet, he got standing ovations.

Profiling and persecution of members of the Gülen movement was now not only a leisure pursuit of ordinary people, but also a task assigned to the state’s institutions, government agencies, AKP bureaus, and elected and appointed local administrators from governors to chiefs of villages.

Embassies were also commissioned with coordinating the profiling and spying activities on the expat members of the Hizmet movement. These missions included a variety of operations from mere intelligence gathering and stalking to threatening, harassing, and even physically assaulting the critics of Erdogan. It is quite likely that embassies have also been actively involved in the preparation and logistics phases of abductions and renditions. The mastermind and executer of the operations was Turkey’s main spy body, the National Intelligence Organization (MİT). The Presidency for Turks Abroad and Related Communities (YTB), as well as the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA), were also active participants in the covert intel operations around the world.

Ironically, the Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) also joined the lynch party as a voluntary contributor to the assignment by the MİT to identify people critical of Erdoğan within expat communities, in clear contradiction to the obligatory assignment by the religion to help these people become brothers and friends.

Turkish preachers from the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DİTİB) have been actively employed in these intelligence-gathering activities at the government’s request. Even though these were initially said to be “false media claims,” Secretary-General Bekir Alboğa later confessed that “a few” imams provided information to the Presidency of Religious Affairs.

Furthermore, as per later news, German police investigations revealed that these accusations may only be the tip of the iceberg, meaning that such efforts could be taking place across Europe, such as the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Belgium.

State-run news companies, Anatolia News Agency (AA) and Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), spared no effort to follow the dissenting figures and make sensational stories about them in the countries where they operated. The Yunus Emre Institute and the Maarif (Education) Foundation, which acted hand in glove with the Turkish government to forcibly seize the educational institutions built and operated by the Hizmet movement in various countries, were also active participants in the clandestine warfare against the Gülen movement across the world.

Last but not least, government-funded private think tanks and organizations like the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA), and the Turkish Heritage Organization, must be counted among the essential actors. They organized panels, conferences, and events, as well as issued a variety of publications, to disseminate ideas designed to bleach the government’s extrajudicial, arbitrary, and inhumane actions as inevitable measures taken at extraordinary times. They have also vied to garner support for Erdoğan and his party among Turkish communities while at the same time collecting information about the owners of the voices against Erdoğan within these communities.

Based on such underhanded investigations and espionage, the Erdoğan’s regime would first ask the rendition of its critics from the countries they were lawfully residing in. Depending on the nature of its relations with them, Turkey first asks through legitimate channels for the deportation of the people it is seeking. If this step proves unsuccessful, Turkey then attempts to offer bribes or use its influence to pressure these countries to hand over the wanted persons. The different milestones of this path are formulated in a report by the EU’s Open Dialogue Foundation: “When non-democratic states do not succeed in attaining extradition by legitimate methods, extra procedural forced expulsions (case of the employees of the Turco-Moldovian lyceum Orizont) or abductions (case of Vladimir Yegorov, Aleksandr Frantskevich, Murdali Khalimov) of the wanted persons often take place. Such actions are implemented on the basis of cooperation between the law-enforcement agencies and special services of both states, in secret, without observing lawful procedures, thus depriving persons of the opportunity to defend their interests in court (cases of Abdullah Büyük, Aminat Babayeva, Yusuf İnan, Salih Zeki Yiğit, Alma Shalabayeva, Muratbek Tungishbayev, Zhaksylyk Zharimbetov).

Enforced Disappearances in International Law

Enforced disappearances have universally been categorized as some of the most heinous crimes that can possibly be committed by malicious state actors. All relevant instruments of international law expressly forbid enforced disappearances, given that the act entirely circumvents avenues of due process while inflicting undue trauma upon both the abducted and the relatives of the abducted.

In a straightforward definition of “forced disappearance”, the Convention on the Forced Disappearance of Persons states, “forced disappearance of persons is… a grave and abominable offense against the inherent dignity of the human being.” The Convention also adds, “forced disappearance of persons violates numerous non-derogable and essential human rights” and reaffirms that the systematic practice of disappearance “constitutes a crime against humanity.” The International Criminal Court expands upon this definition of enforced disappearance, detailing it as the “arrest, detention or abduction of persons by, or with the authorization, support or acquiescence of, a State or a political organization, followed by a refusal to acknowledge that deprivation of freedom or to give information on the fate or whereabouts of those persons, with the intention of removing them from the protection of the law for a prolonged period of time.”
Finally, one of the most recent instruments of international law, the 2006 Convention on Enforced Disappearance, Article 1, provides an indubitably worded right to all persons:

“No one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance.”

A signatory to the United Nations’ Conventions, the Republic of Turkey has violated international laws and the human rights of its victims in all countries detailed in this report. Furthermore, the Turkish administration has utilized baseless national security arguments to justify its egregious behavior across the world. The Turkish government’s unabashed attempts to terrorize Turkish nationals across the world has violated the sovereignty of states in 16 known cases detailed here. International law prohibits the use of enforced disappearance under all circumstances as follows:

“No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.”

The Republic of Turkey, the current Turkish government is overseen by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and all relevant actors involved in the process of terrorizing, abducting, and transporting people around the world to further their objectives continually violate widely recognized international laws, national sovereignty of countries subject to such operations, and local rules and regulations of relevant countries. In sum, the Erdogan Regime and its constituent parts, especially members of the intelligence community taking part in worldwide operations have committed crimes against humanity. Crimes against humanity have no statute of limitations.

Turkey’s extraterritorial incursions to kidnap dissidents and its similarly egregious actions in its own jurisdiction have been substantiated with many cases, and this report will attempt to shed light on as many cases as possible. Nonetheless, one needs to first examine the grounds the Turkish authorities base their actions on.

On April 17, 2014, the Turkish Parliament empowered the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) with the legal authority to conduct undercover missions outside Turkey’s borders with a critical change in Law number 2937. Another important change was introduced in 2017 with the decree-law number 694 that rendered the MİT subordinate directly to the presidency and the President was assigned as the chair of the National Intelligence Coordination Council (MİKK), which would become the main strategy-making body for MİT’s moves outside Turkey.11 MİT now became able to realize to-the-point operations without facing any impediments that could have arisen if parliament had not been bypassed by attaching the agency directly to the almighty presidential post.

As we will discuss in the proceeding parts, although the domestic reactions to the MİT’s covert operations inside and outside the country have been limited, they garnered huge repulsion from certain states and international organizations, as its actions were perceived as a form of deprivation of liberty.

An individual’s right to liberty can be compromised so long as it is in compliance with international law. Article 9 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights clearly defines the arbitrary deprivation of liberty as a lack of respect to grounds and procedures prescribed by law. Both articles provide in indisputable terms the conditions that any individual must be well informed, promptly or at the time of arrest, of the reasons for their arrest and of any charges against them in case of arresting. Furthermore, any individual must be brought before a judge or a similar judicial authority without delay.

However, in Turkey’s practice, people are abducted without even knowing what their crimes are or who exactly has captured them. They appear in court only after months of heavy tortures, if they are lucky to live long enough. Indeed, they can’t see even the faces of their abductors or torturers, much less their lawyers or families.

Turkey’s abduction operations abroad have in some cases been in cooperation with the hosting countries, while in others, the Turkish operational units simply utilized underhanded methods, drawing strong reactions from those countries. For example, the Mongolian Deputy Foreign Minister Battsetseg Batmunkh denounced the abduction attempt of the Turkish teacher Veysel Akçay on the grounds that “it is an unacceptable act of violation of Mongolia’s sovereignty and independence and Mongolia will strongly object it.” The Turkish Ambassador in Ulaanbaatar would, without a moment to spare, reject any kind of knowledge or involvement in the operation.

Another harsh backlash came from Kosovo after Turkey kidnapped five teachers and a medical doctor who had affiliations with the Gülen movement. Kosovar Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj fired his interior minister and spy chief for their alleged complicity. Kosovo’s Foreign Affairs Ministry issued a stern statement in which it said, “the arrest and deportation of the Turkish citizens with a regular residence permit … is … in direct contradiction to international norms.”13 Erdoğan lambasted Kosovo’s PM, who had said the followers of the Gülen movement “were not deported but were stolen,” as if he was talking to one of his underlings or to any Turk who dared to question him, saying Haradinaj would “pay” for what he did. Enver Robelli, a prominent Kosovar journalist, told Al-Monitor about Erdoğan’s unbridled disparagement of the Kosovar PM: “People are irritated that Erdogan attacks the prime minister. Most [local] media [report that] Erdogan behaves as if he were the king of Kosovo.”

Nate Schenkkan from the Washington Post wrote, “The idea that Turkish intelligence would brazenly abduct its citizens from a country with which it has putatively good relations is a shocking offense against both international human rights standards and bilateral norms.”14 Schenkkan elaborated on Turkey’s flagrant “transnational repression.”15 He asserted that Turkey has pursued an aggressive policy to silence its perceived enemies in at least 46 countries.

Additionally, he recounted the allegations that it was abusing the Interpol as a political tool to target its opponents. “Ankara has revoked thousands of passports and achieved the arrest, deportation, or rendition of hundreds of Turkish citizens from at least 16 countries, including many who were under UN protection as asylum seekers. It has successfully pressured at least 20 countries to close or transfer to new owners dozens, perhaps hundreds, of Gülen movement schools,” he wrote.

The regime’s blatant moves against the followers of the Gülen movement have also been registered in detail by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its annual country reports since 2017. The report wrote under the Torture and Ill-Treatment in Custody section in 2017: “Cases of torture and ill-treatment in police custody were widely reported through 2017, especially by individuals detained under the anti-terror law, marking a reverse in long-standing progress, despite the government’s stated zero tolerance for torture policy. There were widespread reports of police beating detainees, subjecting them to prolonged stress positions and threats of rape, threats to lawyers, and interference with medical examinations.”17 The report mentioned the abductions by “unidentified perpetrators believed to be state agents” in at least six cases. The report for 2018 marked the continuation of allegations of torture, ill-treatment, and cruel and inhuman or degrading treatment in police custody and prison and the lack of any meaningful investigation into them as a source of deep concern. Furthermore, it would also lambaste the lack of any effective investigations into these serious assertions by the judiciary.

The same report for the next year recorded only exacerbation in these sources of concern without any sign of progress.19 Different from the previous reports, it would point to a pervasive culture of impunity for members of the security forces and public officials implicated. The report would also criticize in harsh terms Turkey’s barring of the publication of reports on the findings of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) in their two visits to detention places in Turkey. “Turkish authorities continued to seek the extradition of alleged Gülen supporters, many of them teachers, from countries around the world. Countries that complied with Turkey’s requests bypassed legal procedures and judicial review. Those illegally extradited in this way were detained and prosecuted on return to Turkey,” the report asserted.

Confessing Abductions

Despite undeniable evidence that the enforced disappearances were carried out openly or covertly by several state institutions, mainly by the intelligence and the security units, different government representatives and bodies have vehemently rejected accusations in their official statements. Despite that, their deliberate or on-impulse confessions are available even in the sources that are publicly accessible. Although it is universally accepted as a heinous transgression of the basic human rights and is widely shunned, Turkish authorities have interestingly defended abductions of dissidents in Turkey or abroad, not in blurted-out blunders but in deliberately stated confirmations. In the following paragraphs, some examples of such remarks will be highlighted.

Before proceeding with its abductions, Turkey first tried to capture the dissidents through formal mechanisms and within internationally approved norms, such as requesting the extradition of Gülen movement members. But as its demands were turned down in some countries, especially in the democratic world where the supremacy of law is respected, the Turkish government started to use extrajudicial ways like abductions to bring these people back.

Thinly-Veiled Threats by the Politicians

Turkish president Erdoğan has encouraged his loyalists time and again to make life unbearable for Hizmet followers and ordered law enforcement units and intelligence officers to kidnap his critics and punish them, even hinting vaguely of their murders. For instance, in one of his speeches, he said: “Some countries eliminate terrorists whom they consider as a threat to their national security, wherever they are. This means they accept that Turkey has the same right.” He then hinted about his target: “This includes the terrorists they shake hands with and praise. I hope we will have good news for the nation on this matter soon.”

In one of his early statements in September 2016, he would say that “no country or region around the world will ever be a safe haven for FETÖ and its militants.” The Turkish autocrat described the members of the Gülen movement as cancer cells that must be exterminated, leaving no remnants. “Those who fled abroad before or in the murky atmosphere of the coup d’état should never feel safe. … The children of this country should return and tell whatever they know to the relevant authorities. If they don’t, they’ll pay for it. At any rate, we won’t support them as our citizens. … We will take due action wherever they are captured,” he said.

Similar comments would spill from Erdoğan’s mouth during a joint press conference with Kosovar President Hashim Thaçi in Ankara on December 29, 201624: “Our crackdown on them both at home and abroad is underway and will continue to be the case in the future. Wherever they flee, we will be hot on the heels of the leaders and militants of terrorist organizations.”

Former Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ nonchalantly admitted that Ankara’s spy agency “bundled up and brought back” 80 suspects against their will, as part of their global response to so-called threats to Turkey’s security from the Hizmet movement. He also called the capture of Turkish dissident s from Kosovo, which had caused a serious commotion in that country, as “a great success.”

Commenting on the Kosovo abductions on the state-run TRT radio, Erdoğan’s lawyer Hüseyin Aydın also said similar abductions by the Turkish intelligence would continue. The Kosovo operation was not marking any “paradigm shift” for the MİT, and it wasn’t the first of its kind, said Aydın. “Fugitive Gülenists will walk looking behind their backs all the time. The National Intelligence Organization will continue its operations everywhere. After the government’s success at home, there was a need to carry out operations targeting the movement’s overseas network,” he threatened.

Following suit, the other members of the Turkish government, as well as loyal followers of the president, have expressed similar thoughts. There have been repeated calls for kidnapping, killing and torturing of Gülen followers from these circles; nevertheless, even though these are heinous hate crimes, prosecutors simply turn a deaf ear to any such threats if they are leveled against Hizmet members. This is a public craze, an unfathomable intemperance that is hardly tolerated even under actual war conditions. Even warring sides try to avoid atrocities against civilians, especially children, the elderly and women. However, different units of the state and the civilians, chiefly Erdoğan himself and his zealot loyalists, have repeatedly called for abduction and torture, even murder, of any Hizmet member in Turkey or abroad — even if they are elderly or women — and the plunder of their properties.

Erdoğan’s son-in-law even publicly encouraged the AKP zealots to kill Gülen movement followers, saying he would butcher them wherever he sees them without even batting an eyelid.27 While talking to a group of students that were granted scholarships to study abroad, Berat Albayrak said, “This gang of traitors is now pouring their poison and treason in cooperation with a disgusting ‘diaspora network’ all around the world to smear and betray this nation and this religion abroad. … If I were you, I would not have been able to restrain myself, I would have butchered them wherever I saw them. … These fugitives, stateless traitors, live very normal lives,” he added.

Erdoğan’s spokesperson İbrahim Kalın, as he was answering questions from the press on September 21, 2018, said, “Now, look, it may be the US or some other places, other countries in which the FETÖ nested, or some other regions, the operations by our relevant units and institutions in these places will continue uninterrupted. Therefore, they will continue feeling the breath of the state of the Turkish Republic on their necks. No one must ever doubt about this. Of course, I am not able to give you any details as to which countries, here or there, but anything may happen at any place. Let me express that our president has a clear order on this matter and that our units have been conducting professional efforts at the fullest possible extent. There may be operations in other regions, too, similar to the one in Kosovo. The Turkish Republic will not allow FETÖ to inhale a peaceful breath, everyone must know this.”28 The Kosovo operation he was referring to had stirred a huge backlash in the Balkan country as its Prime Minister stepped up to sack the internal minister and the head of the security forces for their negligence, which tainted the country’s sovereignty and made Kosovo seem like an unchecked and unprotected field where the agents of other countries could freely do whatever they want.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on April 4, 2017, “We do not stop chasing after them [Gülen movement participants] at home and abroad. We are breathing down their necks. We won’t give these traitors and dishonorable people room to breathe.”29 He would repeat the same threats over and over again by using the exact same words in a venomous tone as he spoke in Antalya in February 2019: “We are breathing down their necks. We will grab their necks and bring them back to Turkey. We will make the whole world a dungeon for them. We are hot on their heels all across the world. We are closing their associations, schools. We are closing down them all, or we are making them closed down. Lastly, Pakistan Constitutional Court declared them a terror organization.”

In some other incidents, the Turkish authorities revealed their plans to resort to underhanded operations against the members of the Gülen movement. Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu, for example, asserted on March 2017 that the Turkish state units have plans to whisk away the opposition figures, who had escaped the AKP persecution and sought refuge in Germany as political asylees. “One day, these FETÖ terrorists may be shocked to see where they are located, you know. I’m telling you from here, it is not that easy.”31 In one of the most famous such incidents that also kicked up a row in the US, the US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser Mike Flynn allegedly discussed with representatives from the Turkish government a $15-million offer in exchange for delivering Fethullah Gülen to Turkey.32 This single case alone depicts the exorbitant plots the Turkish government has schemed and ventured even in the US, much less the countries with less established democratic institutions. Within its own borders and abroad, the Turkish government will continue to round up and bring in the dissidents to fill its currently-under-construction 228 new prisons.

Threats From Loyalists

Pro-government figures not only from politics but also from the media, also encouraged abduction, torture, and killing of government dissidents in Turkey and abroad. Erdoğan’s former speechwriter Aydın Ünal, for instance, penned threats bluntly against the Hizmet members in his column in a pro-government media outlet. The following quote is taken verbatim from his column in Erdoğan’s Yeni Şafak newspaper: “Certain Fetullahists continuing to live does not serve the interests of neither Gülen nor U.S. intelligence. They should prepare for the extrajudicial organization executions approaching, rather than conduct an operation through the judicial theater.”34 When he wrote these lines, he was also an MP of Erdoğan’s party. He claimed that the Hizmet would do something like this to journalists in exile since their lives would no longer “serve the interests of the movement.” These lines, however, were nothing but providing an early excuse for the MİT’s covert operations to assassinate these dissidents.

Another pro-government journalist, Cem Küçük, made an even direr statement. During a live television program, he insisted Turkish intelligence agencies kill family members of people who were arrested over their (alleged) affiliations with the Gülen movement. He was very critical even about the prosecutors, who had notoriously been very tough on the followers of the Gülen movement, accusing these prosecutors of being excessively lenient. He suggested that instead of asking questions and taking answers in conventional ways, the detained people must be subjected to a variety of tortures during their enforced stays in prisons. One of his suggestions to effectively convince Hizmet members to confess their attributed crimes was to “to hang them out of the window by their legs.”

Unfortunately, the Turkish state is already executing much worse cruelty against the alleged members of the movement. There are innumerable grueling accounts of how Hizmet members are treated in prisons.

The threats that come from Erdoğan’s zealot followers must also be noted. There have been countless physical assaults against members of the Hizmet movement inside Turkey, but there are concrete signs that the acts of intimidation and cannonade are being deliberately organized in other countries as well. For example, some German press outlets reported that AKP MP Metin Külünk was ostensibly providing funds for the Turkish “Ottoman Germania” gangs. There are surveillance camera records showing this politician in contact with the gang members while allegedly giving them money. A ZDF news reported evidence that Ottoman Germania was indeed assigned to carry out attacks on the Turkish dissidents living in the country. A former member of the European Parliament Ozan Ceyhun wrote on social media, “Gülenists in Germany will have many sleepless nights. We owe that to our martyrs.” Likewise, Dursun Baş, the chairman of the German branch of the Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD), addressed two members of Stiftung Dialog und Bildung via Twitter, saying, “How do you dare to go out on the streets? For you, there will be no easy death.”

Sedat Peker, a mafia leader who was released from prison by Erdoğan in 2014, openly threatened dissidents with death but was acquitted by the court without even a slight warning, much less due to punishment. Peker, who was embraced by Erdoğan on many occasions and has very close relations with the youth of Erdoğan’s party, said, “We will force into the jails after hanging all of whomever we catch on the trees, flag poles. We will hang them in the jails as well. We will hang them on the poles from their necks,” and the court accepted these words as nothing more than normal expression of one’s opinions. People quit attending mosques for regular prayers due to the fear of getting assaulted by partisans, and their buildings were stoned or burnt by arson even in major European countries. Turkish businessman Ali Ekrem Kaynak was killed in Amsterdam sometime after he was verbally and physically assaulted by Erdoğan loyalists over his proximity to the Hizmet movement. There have been similar incidents in the US as well.

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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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SYSTEMATIC TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT IN TURKEY

Aftermath of the Coup Attempt of 15 July 2016

In Turkey, especially after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, there have been mass arrests and detentions. Suleyman Soylu, Minister for Internal Affairs, has stated that 511,000 individuals have been taken into custody as of March 2019, on the grounds of their relationship with the Gulen Movement. Up until today, more than 100,000 individuals have been jailed. It has been confirmed that prisoners and detainees have been under systematic torture and ill-treatment, more severely during the state of emergency. Some of the cases are documented and reported by local and national human rights organizations, related videos and photos of some cases have received wide media coverage; and some cases have come to light by means of the statements of victims during the ongoing trials, which are consistent with their medical reports.

According to the research conducted by the AST, 93 prisoners have lost their lives due to torture, ill-treatment, and negligence. Moreover, another 11 individuals have lost their lives during the arrest procedure and interrogation under torture. AST has recorded all these cases in this report and put 10 cases under the scope by including the evidence of torture.

GOKHAN ACIKKOLLU DIED AFTER 13 DAYS OF TORTURE IN POLICE CUSTODY

Gokhan Acikkollu, a teacher, after he was taken into custody with the accusation of attempting a coup and due to his relationship with the Gulen Movement, died in İstanbul Police Headquarters on August 5, 2016, after 13 days of torture. During the routine health controls, teacher Gokhan Acikkollu managed to record what he has lived through, day by day. He made sure that the photos of the torture marks were taken. Reports of the forensic medicine experts confirmed that his death was due to torture. During doctor visits, Acikkollu had stated that he was afraid of dying, that his head was smashed against walls, kicked while down on the floor, slapped and punched hundreds of times, and that he was feeling a never-ending pain in ribs. The autopsy made after his death detected a fracture in his rib and beating marks.

This report has the torture testimonies of the teacher’s prison mates and the forensic medicine expert. Public prosecution office, before conducting any investigation,  declared that police were not negligent in his death. After the reports of the human rights organizations and upon the appeal of his family, the prosecution office had initiated an investigation. However, the statements of the witnesses were not taken; the entire video footage in the İstanbul Police Headquarters Counter-Terrorism Branch, the place of death, were not examined, and finally, the case was closed, noting that there was no need to file a lawsuit. The court found the raised objection justified and ordered an investigation to be opened; however, the prosecution office has not taken any action yet.

Other than the ones detected in the official detention centers and prisons, more severe and long-dated crimes of torture have been identified, which are committed in the illegal interrogation centers by the public officials of the government. In our report, four torture victims, who were abducted by MIT, narrate the months-long inhuman treatment in the secret and illegal detention centers.

A.G. (whose name is being withheld by the reporter for security reasons) who was abducted to the MIT Yenimahalle campus, putting sack over his head and beating him, has explained how he was strapped to a strappado while being subjected to electric shock, and beaten with whips, sticks, and batons; he further told about the rape attempts. A.G., who has stayed in a dark cell of 4.5 m2 for several weeks, indicated that, especially during the first 20 days, he was actively exposed to similar physical torture methods every single day. A.G., who was accused of being a member of the Gulen Movement, has explained that he was kept hungry and thirsty, and he was inflicted on psychological torture methods such as swearing, insulting, and threatening with his family members.

“A CASE OF INTESTINAL TEAR DUE  PLACING A BATON INSIDE THE RECTUM”

A.G. has stated that several individuals in the torture center had intestinal tear due placing baton inside the victim’s rectum, forcing to sit on an artificial penis; he has further stated that they had attempted to rape him several times. A.G. told that in his cell, he was constantly hearing the screams of the other torture victims and the laughter of the torturers; according to A.G., a typical torture session continued an average of 4-5 hours. He had further stated that in every cell, security, cameras were installed, and they were deprived of sleep by being exposed continuously to directives.

He claimed that an official from the Office of the Presidency came to the interrogation center and was briefed by the torturers. A.G. further stated that he was asked to be an informant inside the Gulen Movement, to sign the previously prepared statements, and to work for MIT.

Ayten Ozturk is a 44-year old woman who was abducted by MIT. During the court hearing of the lawsuit in which she was accused of being a member of the DHKP-C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front Turkish: Devrimci Halk Kurtulus Partisi-Cephesi), she has stated that she was tortured for six months long. She told that she was taken into custody by the Lebanese Police in the airport and turned over to the MIT, then brought to Turkey in a private plane, blindfolded, her mouth taped, handcuffed behind her back. Ozturk stated that she was continuously tortured from March 13, 2018, until August 28, 2018. She stated that she was brought to the interrogation center, which was only around 15 steps away from where the plane landed, that she was taken off all clothes, was dragged on the floor, and put in a padded cell.

ELECTRIC SHOCK, BEATING, ATTEMPTED RAPE

Ozturk stated that during the interrogation, she was exposed to following torture methods: Forced to stand naked in front of the torturers, sexually violated with batons, waterboarding, force-feeding, burning her fingers, keeping her in a coffin-like box, strappado torture, and many more. According to her statements in the court trial, she was especially exposed to different methods of torture during her menstrual periods. She was kept in a cell for 25 days, being handcuffed behind her back, blindfolded, and a sack being put over her head. She was exposed to force-feeding and was forced to drink large quantities of water while she was brought to the restroom. After 25 days, she got worse and was brought to the infirmary; since her eyes were kept closed during that period, her eyelids could hardly be opened using a liquid. She could only see the eyes of the individuals who were treating her because they were wearing snow masks. After treatment, the torture went on. She states that her entire body was full of wounds, that they had covered her body with a type of gel, that she was constantly exposed to profanity and harassment.

She stated that she was hung from her arms to the wall and force-fed, her hands and fingers were subjected to electric shock, and a hard-plastic tube passed through her mouth in order to force-feed liquid nutritional supplement. Some of the statements of Ozturk in the court trial are as follows: “It was impossible to move around inside the coffin-like box. And while in the cell, now and then, they were opening the door, beating me up, threatening, and cursing. My mouth and nose were drenched in blood; my entire face was swollen and bloodied, having black eyes. My little fingers and big toes were subjected to electric shock. They were attaching a metal ring on my fingers and using a remote controller to give an electric shock. I had lost consciousness a few times and could not get up.

 When they had a break from giving an electric shock, they were keeping me on strappado and abusing my body with their fingers, sticks, and batons. They were trying to insert the baton into my genitalia and performing every other perverseness. They were threatening to rape me with a thick baton. My feet were swollen from standing for a long time, and they were yet hitting my feet with sticks and batons. They put a sharp object under the nails of my three fingers and burned my little finger. The wound in my finger and the infection under my nails did not recover for months. Sometimes they were hanging me upside down and hitting my feet. When I was collapsing and feeling nauseated, they were lowering me down and using different methods of torture. They were letting me sit inside a tire and attempting to rape me with a baton. They were increasing the intensity of the torture, especially during my menstrual periods, and they were depriving me from sleep”.

“TORTURE CONTINUED AFTER-TREATMENT”

Ozturk stated that she has figured out that all of the 7-8 individuals in the adjacent cells were men just because she heard their screams and crying during torture. She stated that her body collapsed several times, she was treated by a special team, and then the torture has continued. According to her statement, the torturers told her: “We’ll treat you and then continue with torture sessions. This will go on just like that. There is no end. This is hell. You have no way out. We know everything about human anatomy. We are professionals. You won’t die, but you will beg to die. If ever you get out, you will be mentally ill”.

She stated that after six months, she was delivered to the police, and she was then officially arrested by police as if she was just caught ordinarily.

Ozturk is still in prison, and she is saying that she has serious health problems due to the torture she was exposed to, and she maintains her life only with the help of her cellmates. She states that her cellmates found 898 wounds and scars of torture all over her body.

İ.S., who is accused of being a member of the Gulen Movement and whose case is discussed in detail in this report, stated that he was exposed to torture in the same place for 7.5 months. Another individual, Zabit Kisi, states that he was tortured in the same place for 108 days. İ.S was exposed to similar torture methods described above and lost 30 kilograms; when he was released, even his wife couldn’t recognize him. İ.S states that the torturers told him that they were receiving money from the government in order to kill and torture. While İ.S was talking about the torture sessions, his voice was trembling, and he was occasionally crying; he had not fully recovered from the trauma. Zabit Kisi talked in detail about the inhuman treatment of rotating teams. He stated that his penis was bleeding for days due to beating, his fingers were smashed, his ribs were fractured and cracked, he was harassed, exposed to electric shock, and that they had injected a drug into his body. They had told him that they would kill him by injecting drugs and then tell the authorities that he died due to heart attack.

DECLARING AS TERRORISTS WITHOUT ANY TRIAL

According to hearings recorded on the TBMM books, reports of the human rights associations and statements of the families, 28 individuals were abducted and exposed to similar torture. It is unknown whether 6 of these individuals are still alive and, if so, where they are. Almost all of the individuals who were abducted were asked to work as informants and to sign the prepared statements when they were delivered to the police.

Recently some government officials who were working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara and arrested on allegations of their links to the Gulen Movement were exposed to systematic torture in the official interrogation centers. Ankara Bar Association found evidence of torture and included them in its report, which is compiled as a result of the investigations based on the statements of the victims. While those government officials were arrested and before even they gave their statements, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu declared these officials as “FETO” terrorists, completely ignoring the presumption of innocence. Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, one of the HDP members of the Parliament, stated that 100 individuals were exposed to different torture methods, including rape with a baton. After the report of the Ankara Bar Association about the torture, it has been asked for the officials who are responsible for the torture to be put on trial and to be suspended from their jobs, however until today; no action has been taken about it.

NO INVESTIGATION ABOUT TORTURING KURDISH PEOPLE

After July 15, it has been observed that the intensity of torture and ill-treatment has increased in the areas densely populated by Kurds. Three teenagers aged 14, 16, and 17 who were detained by police on suspicion that they were to protest on behalf of PKK, have obtained a health report from Van Training and Research Hospital and provided evidence that they were tortured in the police station. The teenagers explained to the president of the Van Bar Association Zulkuf Ucar how they were severely beaten and their heads put inside the toilet. Zulkuf Ucar then filed a criminal complaint against the police officers; however, no action has been taken.

Again in the city of Van, after an assault against police, three villagers were detained in a rural area, and they were severely tortured. The photo images of beatings were released to the public via social media accounts by the police officers themselves. The Office of the Governor in Van, which is the highest-ranked administrative office in the city, has released a note to the public stating that “3 terrorists were captured alive” before the statements of those individuals were taken and while the investigation about them was still going on. Moreover, the Office of the Governor also stated that those three individuals had confessed their crimes. Later it has been understood that those villagers, ages 35, 50, and 53 were walking in that rural area just with the purpose of picking wild mushrooms; hence they were released. Despite the pictures showing their bodies drenched in blood, no legal action has been taken against officials who tortured them.

The Government of the Republic of Turkey is responsible for the arrested or convicted individuals’ mind and body health and life safety. There are so many seriously ill, disabled, old, and pregnant individuals in prisons, arrested or convicted. The prisoners whose punishment should be postponed due to their conditions, according to the law, are being kept in jail despite their health reports. In many prisons, deaths, injuries, and disabilities occurred due to torture, ill-treatment, and negligence. This report records that 93 individuals have lost their lives due to torture, ill-treatment, and negligence.

SYSTEMATIC TORTURE GOES ON

During the state of emergency, the maximum period of detention without charge was increased to 30 days; during that period especially the military personnel was exposed to severe torture; their photo images were released to the public by the state official media outlets, such as TRT and Anadolu Agency, and some other pro-AKP government media outlets without any hesitation. Many deaths and injuries have been reported during the detention period. Although the state of emergency has ended, systematic torture of the detainees still goes on in the detention centers. UN and European Union commissions keep criticizing and warning Turkey and recommending to improve democracy and human rights at once. Local and national human rights organizations continue to document and report the cases of torture and the stories of the victims. The new cases of torture victims that AST has recently discovered and reported show that systematic torture and ill-treatment continue without slowing down.

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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/

Read more

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

PDF LINK

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

AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly April 15

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_April 15

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 04/08/2019-04/15/2019

1-“Election authority says elected mayors not to be given mandate if they are purge victims”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/10/election-authority-says-elected-mayors-not-to-be-given-mandate-if-they-are-purge-victims/

2-“Turkey’s Erdoğan urges Sudan to operate under ‘normal democratic process”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/11/turkeys-erdogan-urges-sudan-to-operate-under-normal-democratic-process/

3-“Video game portrays opposition mayoral candidate’s quest for mandate”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/11/video-game-portrays-opposition-mayoral-candidates-quest-for-mandate/

4-“Wives of jailed police chiefs who exposed corruption given lengthy prison sentences”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/10/wives-of-jailed-police-chiefs-who-exposed-corruption-given-lengthy-prison-sentences/

5-‘’Jailed woman forced to go through labor for two days in handcuffs”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/10/jailed-woman-forced-to-go-through-labor-for-two-days-in-handcuffs/

6-“HRW: Turkey has arbitrarily jailed hundreds of lawyers since 2016 coup”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/10/hrw-turkey-has-arbitrarily-jailed-hundreds-of-lawyers-since-2016-coup/

7-“Turkey orders detention of 292 people over Gülen links: report”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/09/turkey-orders-detention-of-292-people-over-gulen-links-report/

8-European rights court orders Turkey to compensate citizen held in police custody when he was 8
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/09/european-rights-court-orders-turkey-to-compensate-citizen-held-in-police-custody-when-he-was-8/

9-“Convicted coup suspect says he was victim of that night”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/08/convicted-coup-suspect-says-he-was-victim-of-that-night/

10-“Erdoğan’s targeting of journalist goes unnoticed: ‘Public got used to it’ former editor says”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/07/erdogans-targeting-of-journalist-goes-unnoticed-public-got-used-to-it-former-editor-says/

11-“Ministry says purged staff cannot be reinstated unless family member is acquitted’”
https://turkeypurge.com/ministry-says-purged-staff-cannot-be-reinstated-unless-family-member-is-acquitted

12-“HRW: Bar associations in Europe, US, Canada should advocate for lawyers in Turkey”
https://turkeypurge.com/white-house-must-stand-up-to-erdogans-politically-motivated-detentions-us-senator-says

13-‘’Detention warrants issued for 292 people over Gulen links”
https://turkeypurge.com/detention-warrants-issued-for-292-people-over-gulen-links

14-“Wives of police chiefs who led 2013 corruption operations sentenced to 6 years in prison”
https://turkeypurge.com/wives-of-police-chiefs-who-led-2013-corruption-operations-sentenced-to-6-years-in-prison

15-“Pro-Erdogan mafia boss says will take to the streets if the government asks”
https://turkeypurge.com/pro-erdogan-mafia-boss-says-will-take-to-the-streets-if-the-government-asks

16-‘’Mayor-elect purged teacher denied certificate of election by electoral council: report”
https://turkeypurge.com/mayor-elect-purged-teacher-denied-certificate-of-election-by-electoral-council-report

17-“First-Ever Comprehensive Biography on Fethullah Gülen”
https://hizmetnews.com/24806/first-ever-comprehensive-biography-on-fethullah-gulen/#.XLClfLfYrnE

18. “300 purge victim judges, prosecutors barred from obtaining law licenses: report”
https://www.turkishminute.com/2019/04/11/300-purge-victim-judges-prosecutors-barred-from-obtaining-law-licenses-report/

19. “ 9 purge-victim mayor-elects denied mandate by Turkey’s election authority”
https://turkeypurge.com/9-purge-victim-mayor-elects-denied-mandate-by-turkeys-election-authority

20. “Berkin Elvan’ın vurulduğu yerde 6 yıl sonra keşif”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/berkin-elvanin-vuruldugu-yerde-6-yil-sonra-kesif-h130907

21. “Yandaşta kavga başladı: ‘Reis’çilere ‘Zübükzade’ benzetmesi”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/yandasta-kavga-basladi-reiscilere-zubukzade-benzetmesi-h130911.html

22. “Rabia Naz’ın babası akıl hastanesine yatırılıyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/rabia-nazin-babasi-akil-hastanesine-yatiriliyor-h130908.html

23. “Meriç Nehri’nde sonlanan genç, coşkulu ve neşeli bir hayat”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/meric-nehrinde-sonlanan-genc-coskulu-ve-neseli-bir-hayat-h130875.html

24. “Akın İpek’in iade davasında İngiltere’den Türkiye’ye ikinci ret”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/akin-ipekin-iade-davasinda-ingiltereden-turkiyeye-ikinci-ret-h130873.html

25. ‘’Gazeteci İbrahim Karayeğen, koğuş arkadaşı Ahmet Altan’ı anlattı”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/gazeteci-ibrahim-karayegen-kogus-arkadasi-ahmet-altani-anlatti-h130987.html

26. “Karikatürist Carlos Latuff, Türkiye’deki tutuklu hamile kadınları çizdi”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/karikaturist-carlos-latuff-turkiyedeki-tutuklu-hamile-kadinlari-cizdi-h130986.html

27. ‘’Babasında Bylock olduğu gerekçesiyle kızına 6 yıl 3 ay ceza verildi”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/babasinda-bylock-oldugu-gerekcesiyle-kizina-6-yil-3-ay-ceza-verildi-h130959.html

28. ‘’Hastanede skandal; tutuklu kadına, kelepçeli doğum!”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/hastanede-skandal-tutuklu-kadina-kelepceli-dogum-h130867.html

29. “KHK ile ihraç 59 polis hakkında daha gözaltı kararı”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/khk-ile-ihrac-59-polis-hakkinda-daha-gozalti-karari-h130850.html

30. “Erdoğan’ın yeni köşkü için inşaat başladı”
http://www.tr724.com/erdoganin-yeni-kosku-icin-insaat-basladi/

31. “Birçok ilde ‘cadı avı’ operasyonu: 288 gözaltı kararı”
http://www.tr724.com/bircok-ilde-cadi-avi-operasyonu-288-gozalti-karari/

32. “AKP gündeme getirdi; Büyükçekmece’de ‘sahte seçmen’ operasyonu başladı”
http://www.tr724.com/akp-gundeme-getirdi-buyukcekmecede-sahte-secmen-operasyonu-basladi/

33. “Profesyonel infazı böyle tarif etti: “Cinayet Türkiye için yeni bir Susurluk’tur”
http://www.tr724.com/profesyonel-infazi-boyle-tarif-etti-cinayet-turkiye-icin-yeni-bir-susurluktur/

34. “Tedavi için dışarıda olması gereken Avşin bebeğe mahkemeden ret!”
http://www.tr724.com/tedavi-icin-disarida-olmasi-gereken-avsin-bebege-mahkemeden-ret/

35. ”Türkiye genelinde 280 kişi için gözaltı kararı”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/turkiye-genelinde-280-kisi-icin-gozalti-karari-h130849.html

36. “Hekimlerle derdiniz ne?”
http://www.tr724.com/hekimlerle-derdiniz-ne/

37. “Zindana açık mektup: Hakkını helal et bacım!”
http://www.tr724.com/zindana-acik-mektup-hakkini-helal-et-bacim/

38. “Sippenhaft –aile boyu “suç”
http://www.tr724.com/sippenhaft-aile-boyu-suc/

39. “Çocuklarınız sizden utanacak”
http://www.tr724.com/cocuklariniz-sizden-utanacak/

40. “Mahir Mete Kul’un hikâyesi”
http://www.tr724.com/mahir-mete-kulun-hikayesi/

Read more

AST Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly January 20

Download as pdf: AST_Turkey’s Human Rights Violations Weekly_January 13

Turkey’s Human Rights Violations | 01/13/2019-01/20/2019

1-” Enes Kanter eager for Knicks return after ‘boring’ spell as TV viewer”
https://nypost.com/2019/01/21/enes-kanter-eager-for-knicks-return-after-boring-spell-as-tv-viewer/

2-“Enes Kanter’s concerns about potential assassination over political views taken ‘very seriously’by NBA”
https://www.foxnews.com/sports/enes-kanters-concerns-about-potential-assassination-over-political-views-taken-very-seriously-by-nba

3- New York Knicks Star Enes Kanter’s Assassination Fears: ‘Erdogan’s Long Arm Is Everywhere’
https://www.thedailybeast.com/new-york-knicks-star-enes-kanters-assassination-fears-erdogans-long-arm-is-everywhere

4- Thunder center Enes Kanter has arrest warrant in Turkey, accused of being part of terrorist group
https://www.sbnation.com/2017/5/26/15701832/enes-kanter-arrest-warrant-terrorist-turkey-thunder-nba-gulen-erdogan

5- Enes Kanter fears about his homeland are ‘delusions’, says former NBA player Hedo Turkoglu
https://www.skysports.com/nba/news/36226/11601632/enes-kanter-fears-about-his-homeland-are-delusions-says-former-nba-player-hedo-turkoglu

6- Spurning Erdogan’s Vision, Turks Leave in Droves, Draining Money and Talent
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/02/world/europe/turkey-emigration-erdogan.html

7- New York Knicks’ Enes Kanter brands Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ‘Alunatic’, says he fears for his life
https://www.newsweek.com/enes-kanter-turkish-government-recep-tayyip-erdogan-new-york-knicks-nba-1280375

8- Turkish TV watchdog orders halt to show over actors’ remarks on Erdoğan
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-tv-watchdog-orders-halt-to-show-over-actors-remarks-on-erdogan-140055

9- HSBC’s Turkish boss is probed by police for Hitler insult to country’s leader Recep Erdogan
https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-6545603/HSBCs-Turkish-boss-probed-police-Hitler-insult-countrys-leader-Recep-Erdogan.html

10- Turkish Comedy Veterans in Court After TV Attack Riles Erdogan
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-24/turkish-comedy-veterans-in-court-after-tv-attack-riles-erdogan

11- Kurdish protesters attacked by Erdoğan’s bodyguards at DC demonstration sue Turkish government
https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-01-18/kurdish-protesters-attacked-erdo-ans-bodyguards-dc-demonstration-sue-turkish

12- NBA’s Kanter urges Trump to act on Turkey’s human rights record
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-turkey-security-gulen-kanter/nbas-kanter-urges-trump-to-act-on-turkeys-human-rights-record-idUSKCN1PB268

13- Turkey reportedly seeking warrant for Knicks’ Enes Kanter over ‘terror’ claims
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2019/jan/16/enes-kanter-turkey-arrest-warrant-nba-recep-tayyip-erdogan

14- Why Turkey is seeking an international arrest warrant for Knicks’ Enes Kanter
https://www.sbnation.com/nba/2019/1/7/18172721/enes-kanter-arrest-warrant-travel-london-knicks-wizards-turkey-president

15- Turkey Issues Yet Another Arrest Warrant for Enes Kanter
https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/a3m5pp/turkey-issues-yet-another-arrest-warrant-for-enes-kanter-erdogan

16- NBA New York Knicks player Enes Kanter is a wanted man in Turkey. Here’s why
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-17/new-york-knicks-enes-kanter-a-wanted-man-in-turkey-heres-why/10721890

17- ‘I didn’t feel safe’: NBA star Enes Kanter skips London game over Turkey assassination fears
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/kanter-erdogan-turkey-nba-1.4984599

18- “Turkey orders arrest of 100 soldiers over alleged links to Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating coup attempt”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/turkey-soldiers-arrest-fethullah-gulen-coup-erdogan-muslim-cleric-president-a8722426.html

19- “Turkish men ‘face torture’ after being extradited from Malaysia as post-coup crackdown continues”
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/turkey-coup-attempt-erdogan-gulen-hizmet-movement-crackdown-malaysia-arrests-extradited-karaman-a7733276.html

20- “Turkey sentences detained judge who won human rights award to 10 years, Anadolu says”
https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/world/turkey-sentences-detained-judge-who-won-human-rights-award-to-10-years–anadolu-says-11141758

21- “Man detained by Turkey for ‘liking’ anti-Erdogan Facebook post”
http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/turkey/20012019

22- “Jailed Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala to be nominated for Nobel Peace Prize”
https://ahvalnews.com/osman-kavala/jailed-turkish-philanthropist-osman-kavala-be-nominated-nobel-peace-prize

23- “Daily chart Turkey leads the world in jailed journalists”
https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2019/01/16/turkey-leads-the-world-in-jailed-journalists

24- “Turkish Prosecutors Seek Arrest of the Knicks’ Enes Kanter”
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/16/sports/basketball/knicks-enes-kanter-turkey-arrest-warrant.html

Erdogan Hukumeti tarafından işlenenen İnsan Hakları İhlalleri

25- “45 günlük bebek annesiyle birlikte cezaevine konuldu”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/45-gunluk-bebek-annesiyle-birlikte-cezaevine-konuldu-h127508.html

26- ”OHAL bitti ama baskılar bitmedi, uyduruk gerekçelerle tutuklamalar devam ediyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/ohal-bitti-ama-baskilar-bitmedi-uyduruk-gerekcelerle-tutuklamalar-devam-ediyor-h127501.html

27- “TMSF, hukuksuzca gasp edilen şirketlerin satışına başladı”
http://aktifhaber.com/ekonomi/tmsf-hukuksuzca-gasp-edilen-sirketlerin-satisina-basladi-h127497.html

28- “Cadı avı yaşlı ve hastaları da dinlemiyor: 72 yaşındaki hastayı tutukladılar”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/cadi-avi-yasli-ve-hastalari-da-dinlemiyor-72-yasindaki-hastayi-tutukladilar-h127335.html

29- “Hukuksuzca Gasp Edilen Şirketlerin Değeri 56.5 Milyar TL”
http://aktifhaber.com/ekonomi/hukuksuzca-gasp-edilen-sirketlerin-degeri-565-milyar-lira-h127358.html

30- “Türkiye’de insan hakları ihlali olmadığından emin misiniz Leyla Hanım!”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/turkiyede-insan-haklari-ihlali-olmadigindan-emin-misiniz-leyla-hanim-h127362.html

31- “28 Şubat’tan 15 Temmuz’a başörtülü bir hemşirenin hikayesi…”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/28-subattan-15-temmuza-basortulu-bir-hemsirenin-hikayesi-h127387.html

32- “Cezaevinden çıkan kadınlar anlattı: ‘Cezaevinde hamile ya da çocuklu olmak rehineliğe dönüştü”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cezaevinden-cikan-kadinlar-anlatti-cezaevinde-hamile-ya-da-cocuklu-olmak-rehinelige-donustu-h127396.html

33- “Türkiye, NBA oyuncusu Enes Kanter hakkında kırmızı bülten talebinde bulundu”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/turkiye-nba-oyuncusu-enes-kanter-hakkinda-kirmizi-bulten-talebinde-bulundu-h127402.html

34- “MİT’in adam kaçırma operasyonları dünya basınında”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/mitin-adam-kacirma-operasyonlari-dunya-basininda-h127415.html

35- “Şeker Piliç’in sahipleri tutuklandı”
http://aktifhaber.com/genel/seker-pilicin-sahipleri-tutuklandi-h127425.html

36- “Çok sayıda cezaevinde aynı anda soğukla işkence başladı”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cok-sayida-cezaevinde-ayni-anda-sogukla-iskence-basladi-h127444.html

37- “Hapishanede öldürülen Halime Gülsu’nun son mektubu”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/hapishanede-oldurulen-halime-gulsunun-son-mektubu-h127449.html

38- “’12 yaşındaki oğlum bile sorgulandı, 25 yıl önceki programdan tutuklandım’”
http://www.shaber3.com/12-yasindaki-oglum-bile-sorgulandi-25-yil-onceki-programdan-tutuklandim-haberi/1318013/

39- “Amerikalı gazeteci: Diktatörünüz sahte bir darbe sahneledi ve kullandı”
http://aktifhaber.com/dunya/amerikali-gazeteci-diktatorunuz-sahte-bir-darbe-sahneledi-ve-kullandi-h127628.html

40- “Anneleri sordu: 5 günlük er Ahmet ve kekeme Recep mi darbeci?”
http://aktifhaber.com/15-temmuz/anneleri-sordu-5-gunluk-er-ahmet-ve-kekeme-recep-mi-darbeci-h127289.html#

41- “Cezaevinden çıkan kadınlar anlattı: ‘Cezaevinde hamile ya da çocuklu olmak rehineliğe dönüştü”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cezaevinden-cikan-kadinlar-anlatti-cezaevinde-hamile-ya-da-cocuklu-olmak-rehinelige-donustu-h127396.html

42- “Hasta tutuklunun durumu ağırlaşıyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/hasta-tutuklunun-durumu-agirlasiyor-h126915.html

43- “Silivri Cezaevi’nde işkence:Oğlum ziyarete gözü mor, kolunda yara izleriyle ve ayakkabısız getirildi”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/silivri-cezaevinde-iskenceoglum-ziyarete-gozu-mor-kolunda-yara-izleriyle-ve-ayakkabisiz-getirildi-h126865.html

44- “Cezaevinde kadınlara saldırı: Apar topar hastaneye kaldırdılar”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/cezaevinde-kadinlara-saldiri-apar-topar-hastaneye-kaldirdilar-h126762.html

45- “Amerikalı gazeteciden Enes Kanter’e anlamlı destek”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/amerikali-gazeteciden-enes-kantere-anlamli-destek-h127608.html

46- “Amerikalı gazeteci: Diktatörünüz sahte bir darbe sahneledi ve kullandı”
http://aktifhaber.com/dunya/amerikali-gazeteci-diktatorunuz-sahte-bir-darbe-sahneledi-ve-kullandi-h127628.html

47- “Cumartesi Anneleri: Gerçek bir yargı, gerçek bir adalet istiyoruz”
http://aktifhaber.com/gundem/cumartesi-anneleri-gercek-bir-yargi-gercek-bir-adalet-istiyoruz-h127597.html

48- “’Türk gazetecilerin meslektaşlarının hapsedilmesini meşru görmesi sapkınlık’”
http://aktifhaber.com/medya/turk-gazetecilerin-meslektaslarinin-hapsedilmesini-mesru-gormesi-sapkinlik-h127560.html

49- “Türkiye Gazeteciler Sendikası Genel Sekreteri: Medyaya korku iklimi hâkim!”
http://aktifhaber.com/medya/turkiye-gazeteciler-sendikasi-genel-sekreteri-medyaya-korku-iklimi-hakim-h127250.html

50- “112 gazeteciye 547 yıl hapis cezası, 3 bin 230 gazeteciye işsizlik…”
http://aktifhaber.com/medya/112-gazeteciye-547-yil-hapis-cezasi-3-bin-230-gazeteciye-issizlik-h126956.html

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Turkish court dismisses the case of 70 year old male only after his death

Turkish court dismisses the case of 70 year old male only after his death

Ibrahim Akbaba dies of heart attack at the age of 70 a day after complications resulted from torturous 2 day trip for his trial. Despite Mr. Akbaba’s sever health condition due to his Open Heart surgery and diabetes, he was summoned to appear in court having to travel from Mardin to Edirne on a 2 day trip.

The MP Ebru Gunay of People’s Democratic Party of Turkey brought up in the Turkish Parliament the fact that Mr. Akbaba was not given any medical attention despite his sever health condition leaving him with unable to take his prescribed medications. According to Ibrahim Akbaba’s son Şehmuz Akbaba who is also imprisoned in another penitentiary, the court would not have dismissed the case if it wasn’t for his father’s sudden death. It appears Ibrahim Akbaba dismissed himself out of bureaucratic yet inhumane Turkish justice system with his death.

https://www.evrensel.net/haber/367729/hasta-tutuklu-ibrahim-akbabaya-yol-eziyeti

http://m.t24.com.tr/haber/meclis-gundemine-tasindi-ihd-cagri-yapti-mahkeme-oldukten-sonra-tahliye-karari-verdi,785622

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