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Human Rights Digest: January 2020 Articles

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TURKEY: MONTHLY HUMAN RIGHTS DIGEST January 2020

  1. A Mother’s Plea for Help: The Tumor is Spreading, My Daughter is Sick

On February 27, 2018, Sevgi Sezer, a critically-ill primary school teacher, was imprisoned for 7 years and 6 months due to her affiliation with the Hizmet Movement. After nearly two years, Sezer continues to suffer from a malicious tumor on her back while forcedly sharing an overcrowded prison cell with 16 other women prisoners. Sezer was denied medical attention for a long time despite making many requests while the tumor on her back, a constantly growing vascular malformation, went undiagnosed for 9 months. Sezer’s deprivation of medical assistance led to the painful growth of the tumor, causing her immense suffering and severely limiting her mobility. The appeals court continues to stall action on Sezer’s case as she suffers despite concrete medical evidence that warrants close medical attention and release from imprisonment. Teacher Sezer’s mother made an emotional appeal to authorities: “I could not hug my daughter in my last visit because the tumor spread all over her back. I am calling government officials to take action; my daughter is sick, in pain. She needs treatment.”

  1. 70 Turkish Air Force Academy Cadets Receive Life Sentence for “Courtroom Behavior”

On January 3, 2020, the 24th Istanbul High Criminal Court sentenced 70 Turkish Air Force Academy Students, aged 18-23, to aggravated life imprisonment. The Turkish Court charged all 70 of the cadets with violating the constitution, merging their cases under the overarching July 15 Coup Attempt trials. While the cadets’ involvement in the coup attempt has not been evidenced, the court found the cadets guilty of intent to aid and abet the coup attempt. Moreover, the presiding judge changed his original sentencing to a lifetime sentence and defended his decision by blaming the alleged contrarian behavior of the defendants during court proceedings. While the cadets can appeal the court order, the hysteria revolving around the July 15 failed coup attempt has effectively eliminated all avenues of justice and exoneration.

  1. Philanthropist Melek Ipek, “Angel Mom”, Sentenced for Hizmet Affiliation

On January 9, 2020, the 24th Ankara High Criminal Court sentenced Melek Ipek and her son Cafer Ipek to 12 and 79 years of imprisonment, respectively. The overarching case brought against billionaire Akin Ipek and the Ipek Family Estate found all family members guilty for providing financial support to the charity activities of the Hizmet Movement. Since five family members had escaped Turkey due to the undue political and judicial process, the Ankara court put their cases on hold while charging Melek Ipek with “opposition to tax law”, a bogus charge that, as it now appears, has been included to target the Ipek family’s vast financial estate. The court ordered for the seizure of all financial assets, dividends, and shares of all Ipek family members who hold stock in the Ipek Holding Company.

  1. Another Victim of the Hysteria: Left-Leaning Sports Reporter Fired from Job

On January 8, 2020, Fatma Karaagac, a left-leaning former sports reporter for Haberturk TV, gave an interview regarding her termination. In her remarks, Karaagac complained that she was fired for international political reasons while the company firing her blamed her alleged affiliation with the Hizmet Movement. Karaagac was neither sued or summoned to court. The prosecutorial hysteria directed against the Hizmet Movement continues to ransack the lives of thousands of people. The unquestioned vilification of the Hizmet Movement by the Turkish government allows for opportunists and people with personal vendettas to accuse anyone and any time of Hizmet affiliation to cause serious damage to their lives. Fatma Karaagac is a recent and prime example.

  1. Former Teacher from Adana Sentenced 7.5 Years for Teacher’s Union Membership

On January 8, 2020, the Adana 12th Heavy Criminal Court found Mehmet Onuk guilty and sentenced him for 7 years and 6 months. According to the court order, Mr. Onuk’s alleged crimes consist of using ByLock, a mobile chat application, holding religious study circles in his home, and being a member of a government-sanctioned worker’s union. Mehmet Onuk, like countless others, was charged for these crimes as part of the ongoing persecution campaign against the Hizmet Movement.


 

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Human Rights Violations in Turkey December, 2019

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TURKEY: MONTHLY HUMAN RIGHTS DIGEST

A TEACHER’S FINAL WORDS: THEY ARE KILLING PEOPLE

On December 20, 2019, Engin Erol (41) passed away from cancer after three years of inhumane imprisonment in Artvin and Erzurum prisons. Erol, a teacher, husband, and father of three, began experiencing severe health problems within three months of imprisonment and requested proper medical care from the Turkish courts. The prosecutor on the case ignored more than 20 appeals from Erol, delaying his diagnosis for months, and denying him access to medicine as his condition rapidly progressed to its end-stage. He was kept in Erzurum, one of the coldest cities in Turkey, during winter months while “the new warden turned the heat off” for months despite the below-freezing temperature. Erol pleaded for help in his final words: “They are killing people in there. There are two people suffering from my condition. Pray for them.”¹

MOTHER & 7-YEAR OLD CHILD WITH DOWN SYNDROME SENTENCED FOR HIZMET MOVEMENT AFFILIATION

Nuran Dilber and her daughter Nalan (7) have been sent to a İstanbul prison over their alleged links to the Hizmet Movement. Nalan, a child with down syndrome, requires special medical and educational attention. Prior to her arrest, Nalan had just begun to learn how to read and write, bathroom etiquette, and social interaction. Left with no one else to take care of her, Nalan continues to be imprisoned along with her mother.
Nalan continues to be imprisoned along with her mother. Their story came to fore thanks to HDP Parliamentarian Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, who voiced his opposition to the arbitrary arrests and emphasized the gravity of the trauma that Nalan has been through. Gergerlioglu criticized the detention of the Dilber family with strong words: “Where is your conscience?” ²

A BABY IN PRISON: MUAZ’S FIRST BIRTHDAY

On December 7th, 2018, only 60 days after giving birth to her baby, Nurhan Erdal Bahadir (38) was arrested as part of Turkey’s routine imprisonment of all dissidents and put in Tarsus Women’s Prison. Bahadir’s baby, Muaz, suffers from a genetic heart condition and a vision problem that caused permanent damage to the alignment of his eyes. The young mother’s request for a pair of glasses as well as an instant pot for her child’s health was denied for months while Muaz received neither medical care nor supplemental baby food during the first year of his life. Forced to sleep in a ward with 15 other women, Bahadir was only given a bunk bed to sleep with Muaz. When Muaz fell off the bed, the mother’s plea for help was met with a recommendation from prison guards to “tie the baby’s foot to the bed.” During her postpartum period, Mrs. Bahadir and Baby Muaz faced harsh winter conditions without proper heating and rationed food portions, compounding the cruelty of the prison conditions. In December 2019, Muaz celebrated his first birthday behind bars.³

MEMBERS OF FLORYA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SENTENCED: 26 BUSINESSMEN BEHIND BARS

On December 27, 2019, the Istanbul 23rd High Criminal Court tried 26 business people for their official membership to Florya Chamber of Commerce, a local organization in Istanbul. The court sentenced nine defendants to 7 years and six months, and 14 defendants to 6 years and three months of prison time for “their affiliation with the Hizmet Movement. While the court refused to provide an explanation for their reasoning, the defendants’ appeals made no difference in the court’s sentencing decision⁵.

ANOTHER VICTIM OF THE HYSTERIA: CHP MAYOR IN PRISON FOR FORMER ROLE

On December 12th, 2019, Ibrahim Burak Oguz, a member of the main opposition party in Turkey, was found guilty for his alleged association with the Hizmet Movement because of his former role on the executive board of the Izmir Young Entrepreneurs Association (IGID). Oguz’s arrest came only six months after his electoral victory on March 21st, where he beat the leading party’s candidate and became the Mayor of Urla. While no specific charges have been leveled against Oguz, he has been sent to prison in Izmir for his alleged links⁴.

References:

1- https://magduriyetler2.blogspot.com/2019/12/kanserden-olen-tutukluerolun-son.html
2- https://magduriyetler2.blogspot.com/2019/12/tutsak-bebek-muaznannesinden-mektup.html
3- https://turkeypurge.com/mother-7-year-old-daughter-with-downsyndrome-sent-to-prison-on-terror-charges-report
4- https://www.cnnturk.com/turkiye/chpli-belediye-baskani-fetouyeliginden-tutuklandi
5- aa.com.tr/tr/turkiye/fetonun-is-dunyasi-yapilanmasi-davasindakarar/1685891#


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

       Hafza Y. GIRDAP

          Spokesperson

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter: @FreedomHouseDC

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

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

 

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

 

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Human rights violations and statistics about the conditions of prisons in Turkey. Unprecedented alarming grow of ill-treatment because of a witch-hunt after July-15 so-called coup attempt.

Human rights violations and statistics about the conditions of prisons in Turkey. Unprecedented alarming grow of ill-treatment because of a witch-hunt after July-15 so-called coup attempt.

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Torture and Suspicious Deaths in Turkish Prisons

Turkish prisons have turned into death houses during the Erdoğan regime. Stockholm Center for Freedom has tried to record people who died since 15 July 2018 in Turkey to the extent it is possible. SCF has compiled 117 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format. Among these people, there are teachers, academicians, volunteers for philanthropic organizations, businessmen, engineers, and doctors.

On July 1st, 2018, Zeki Güven, the former intelligence chief of the Ankara Police Department who was arrested by a Turkish court in May as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, was found dead in his bed at Sincan No 1 F Type Prison. According to the official statement, Zeki Güven allegedly died from a heart attack; however, given the previous incidents and deaths in Turkish prisons, his death is being viewed as suspicious. Other suspicious deaths in the prison have been listed as ‘died due to heart attack’. None of them received detailed autopsies from independent institutions. Nonetheless, Güven did not have any known medical condition. His friends have noted that he never smoked and took well care of his body. Thus, Güven, who went to prison in perfect health died in prison because of a “heart attack” right before his hearing is quite suspicious. Güven is not the first and will not be the last who has died in the prison.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment visited Turkey in November 2016 and found that torture was widespread following the failed coup, particularly at the time of arrest and subsequent detention. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, expressed serious concerns about the rising allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in Turkish police custody since the end of his official visit to the country. The reported abuse included severe beatings, electrical shocks, exposure to icy water, sleep deprivation, threats, insults and sexual assault. The Special Rapporteur said no serious measures appeared to have been taken by the authorities to investigate these allegations or to hold perpetrators accountable.

Families of the jailed individuals such as Yurt Atayün (former head of İstanbul antiterror division), Ahmet Altan (working journalist for more than twenty years), Taner Kilic (Amnesty’s Turkey director), and many other individuals are worried that their loved one may be the next victim.

We wholeheartedly condemn the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Turkish prisons and detention centers. We urge Turkish authorities to stop torture and ill-treatment, and obey United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT).

Download sample statement as a word document: AST_Letter-Torture-and-Suspicious-deaths-in-prisons-2

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement below to following relevant Turkish authorities.

1. Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Justice
Website: http://www.justice.gov.tr
Email Address: info@adalet.gov.tr
Phone: +90 (0312) 417 77 70
Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70

2. Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Website: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/
Contact form: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/contact-us.en.mfa
Phone: +90 (312) 292 10 00

3. Union of Turkish Bar Associations
Website: https://www.barobirlik.org.tr
Email Address: barobirlik@barobirlik.org.tr
Phone: +90 (312) 292 59 00
Fax: +90 (312) 286 31 00

4. Presidency of the Constitutional Court
Website: http://www.anayasa.gov.tr
Email Address: bilgi@anayasa.gov.tr
Phone: +90 (312) 463 73 00
Fax: +90 (312) 463 74 00

5. Court of Cassation
Website: https://www.yargitay.gov.tr
Email Address: iletisim@yargitay.gov.tr
Phone: +90 (312) 416 10 00

6. Turkish Embassy in Washington D.C.
Website: http://vasington.be.mfa.gov.tr/Mission
Email Address: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr
Phone: +1 202 612 67 00
Fax: +1 202 612 67 44

News and reports of torture in Turkish prison:

Erdogan regime started executions in prisons after the elections (July 2018)

AST report on cruel and unusual punishments in Turkey (April 2018)

UN Report on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in Turkey, including an update on the South-East (March 2018)

Tortured to death; holding Gökhan Açıkkollu’s killers to account

Stockholm Center for Freedom report on suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkish prisons (March 2017)

Platform for Peace and Justice’s comprehensive report on the prison conditions in Turkey (2017)

Human Rights Watch’s report, “In custody: police torture and abductions in Turkey” (2017)

Take a look at Stockholm Center for Freedom’s updated list of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey (as of July 1st, 2018):
https://stockholmcf.org/suspicious-deaths-and-suicides-in-turkey-updated-list/

Videos:

Yurt Atayün’s daughters are worried for the health of their father. Yurt Atayün was the former head of İstanbul antiterror division and has been in prison for 4 years & now is in solitary confinement for 6 months.

 

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Torture and Suspicious Deaths in Turkish Prisons

On July 1st, 2018, Zeki Güven, the former intelligence chief of the Ankara Police Department who was arrested by a Turkish court in May as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, was found dead in his bed at Sincan No 1 F Type Prison. According to the official statement, Zeki Güven allegedly died from a heart attack; however, given the previous incidents and deaths in Turkish prisons, his death is being viewed as suspicious. Other suspicious deaths in the prison have been listed as ‘died due to heart attack’. None of them received detailed autopsies from independent institutions. Nonetheless, Güven did not have any known medical condition. His friends have noted that he never smoked and took well care of his body. Thus, Güven, who went to prison in perfect health died in prison because of a “heart attack” right before his hearing is quite suspicious.

Turkish prisons have turned into death houses during the Erdoğan regime. Güven is not the first and will not be the last who has died in the prison. Stockholm Center for Freedom has tried to record people who died since 15 July 2018 in Turkey to the extent it is possible. SCF has compiled 117 cases of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey in a list in a searchable database format. Among these people, there are teachers, academicians, volunteers for philanthropic organizations, businessmen, engineers, and doctors.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment visited Turkey in November 2016 and found that torture was widespread following the failed coup, particularly at the time of arrest and subsequent detention. The UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Nils Melzer, expressed serious concerns about the rising allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in Turkish police custody since the end of his official visit to the country. The reported abuse included severe beatings, electrical shocks, exposure to icy water, sleep deprivation, threats, insults and sexual assault. The Special Rapporteur said no serious measures appeared to have been taken by the authorities to investigate these allegations or to hold perpetrators accountable.

Families of the jailed individuals such as Yurt Atayün (former head of İstanbul antiterror division), Ahmet Altan (working journalist for more than twenty years), Taner Kilic (Amnesty’s Turkey director), and many other individuals are worried that their loved one may be the next victim.

We wholeheartedly condemn the torture and ill-treatment of detainees in Turkish prisons and detention centers. We urge Turkish authorities to stop torture and ill-treatment, and obey United Nations Convention against Torture (UNCAT).

Download sample statement as a word document:
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/AST_Letter-Torture-and-Suspicious-deaths-in-prisons.docx

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement to following addresses:

1) U.S. Department of State
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Phone: (202) 647-6575
Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/

2) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

3) Human Rights Watch
Twitter: @hrw
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumanRightsWatch
NY Address:350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

Emma Daly, Communications Director
Tel: +1-212-216-1835
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

4) Human Rights Foundation
Twitter: @HRF
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humanrightsfoundation/
New York Address:350 5th Ave., #4515 New York, NY, 10001
Phone Number: (212) 246-8486

5) Freedom House
Twitter: @FreedomHouseDC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomHouseDC
info@freedomhouse.org
Phone: 202-296-5101
Fax: 202-293-2840

Annie Boyajian, Advocacy Manager
boyajian@freedomhouse.org

6) Amnesty International
Twitter: @amnestyusa
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amnestyusa
report@aiusa.org

7) International Federation for Houman Rights
Twitter: @fidh_en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FIDH.HumanRights
FIDH AT THE UN (NEW-YORK)
110 East 42nd street, Suite 1309 NY 10017 New-York
Phone Number: 001 646 395 7103

8) International Court of Justice
Email: information@icj-cij.org
Phone: (+31) 70 302 23 23
Fax: (+31) 70 364 99 28
Twitter: @CIJ_ICJ
Website: http://www.icj-cij.org/en

News and reports of torture in Turkish prison:

Erdogan regime started executions in prisons after the elections (July 2018)

AST report on cruel and unusual punishments in Turkey (April 2018)

UN Report on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in Turkey, including an update on the South-East (March 2018)

Tortured to death; holding Gökhan Açıkkollu’s killers to account

Stockholm Center for Freedom report on suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkish prisons (March 2017)

Platform for Peace and Justice’s comprehensive report on the prison conditions in Turkey (2017)

Human Rights Watch’s report, “In custody: police torture and abductions in Turkey” (2017)

Take a look at Stockholm Center for Freedom’s updated list of suspicious deaths and suicides in Turkey (as of July 1st, 2018):
https://stockholmcf.org/suspicious-deaths-and-suicides-in-turkey-updated-list/

Videos:

Yurt Atayün’s daughters are worried for the health of their father. Yurt Atayün was the former head of İstanbul antiterror division and has been in prison for 4 years & now is in solitary confinement for 6 months.

 

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Women and Children in Prison

Recent reports from the Journalist and Writers Foundation in Turkey and the Stockholm Center for Freedom have estimated the number of women in Turkish prisons is a staggering 17,000 along with over 660 children. Official records indicate that 23 percent of these children are infants less than a year old. Dr. Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society (a British foreign policy think tank) said “prison is no place for children in any civilized country”.

These reports have questioned the basis for the detainment and imprisonment of these women, as well as the timing of their arrests, in some cases shortly after giving birth. Many of these women have been held without charges being pressed and without access to legal representation, and in some cases, access to their family.

Reports from within Turkey have shown images of security officials waiting outside hospital rooms for mothers to be discharged in order to detain them and their newborn children. With the critical need of preventing bacteria during a child’s first months, questions about the conditions of the prisons where these women are held with their newborn children have also arisen in numerous media reports. Since “extra food, books, phone calls, trips to the hospital, and bathroom supplies are all added to inmates’ prison bills” some women with poor financial situation cannot afford basic hygienic items such as sanitary pads (which they are not provided).

The prison conditions are not satisfactory for the well being of women, and especially children. They are forced to stay in overcrowded rooms, denied health care, missing fresh air and have to share bed and meal.

Many inmates sleep on the floor. Human Rights Association (IHD) has stated that in Turkey, 1025 prisoners are in poor health, 357 of which are seriously ill. Nonetheless, at a parliamentary hearing, it was revealed that at least five women have suspiciously died at the women’s prison in Kocaeli’s Gebze district .

We wholeheartedly condemn this violation of basic human rights of not only the imprisoned women but also these children who are being subjected to a life behind bars without cause.

Read AST’s report on women and children in prison:
AST_1-28-18_REPORT4_WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK IN TURKEY

Download AST’s presentation on women and children in prison:
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/AST_presentation_Persecution-of-women-in-Turkey.pdf

Download AST’s newsletter on women and children in prison:
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/AST_Newsletter2_Womens-Rights-Newsletter.pdf

News and reports on women and children in prison:
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/TR/2018-03-19_Second_OHCHR_Turkey_Report.pdf
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/AST_Newsletter2_Womens-Rights-Newsletter.pdf
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/13/hundreds-young-turkish-children-jailed-alongside-their-moms-as-part-post-coup-crackdown.html
http://jwf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Children-Report-2017-.pdf
http://jwf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Womens-Rights-Under-Attack.pdf
http://stockholmcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Jailing-women-in-Turkey.pdf

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement below to following addresses:

1. Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau
Email: justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

2. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Chrystia Freeland
Email: Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca

3. Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, Ahmed D. Hussen
Email: Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca

4. Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee of Canada, Robert D. Nault
Email: Bob.Nault@parl.gc.ca

5. Justice and Human Rights Committee of Canada, Anthony Housefather
Email: Anthony.Housefather@parl.gc.ca

6. Embassy of Canada to Turkey in Ankara
Email: ankra@international.gc.ca

Download sample statement as a word document:
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/AST_Letter-Women-and-children-in-Prison.docx

 

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Seriously ill educator still held in Manisa prison for 22 months

Isa Kara, 54-year-old, has worked 34 years as a teacher and director of Ministry of National Education’s Manisa provincial directorate. He was fired from his job with a decree issued by the Turkish government after the alleged coup attempt in July 2016.

Kara was imprisoned in October 2016 on coup charges. Despite his illnesses, he was held in pre-trial detention for 29 days and later transferred to Manisa prison. Kara is partly paralyzed and suffers from serious heart problems. Kara’s doctor had indicated that he needs to stay away from stress due to his heart problem. In an e-mail, it is claimed that two months before he was put in pre-trial detention, he had his first Angiogram. On April 12, 2018, he was transferred by the prison management to İzmir Katip Çelebi University Hospital where he had his second Angiogram. After spending 45 days in the hospital, he was sent back to İzmir Buca F Type Prison.

Kara’s family submitted 15 requests for the release of Isa Kara due to his health condition, however, all of them were rejected. The prison conditions are not satisfactory for the well-being of Kara. The prisons are overcrowded and are not sanitary for such a seriously ill patient. Kara’s doctor has noted numerous times that Isa Kara is not receiving proper treatment under current prison conditions.

Mr. Kara is being accused of membership in the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The movement denies any involvement, and the Turkish government has rejected parliamentary motion to investigate the coup. Right after the coup, without any just hearing, the Turkish government initiated a widespread purge against the sympathizers of the movement.

There have been many cases of suicide and death in prison, some of which were found to be suspicious, of people who have been affected by the purge of Gülen movement followers. Isa Kara’s family is in the apprehension of severe worries about his health condition as they reminisced about the victims who died for they were not given proper and necessary treatment and were supposed to be given parole due to fatal conditions in jail.

For more detailed information about the prison conditions in Turkey, please take a look at the report prepared by Platform for Peace & Justice titled “A Comprehensive Report on the Prison Conditions in Turkey”.

Download the report as pdf: http://www.platformpj.org/wp-content/uploads/IN-PRISON-2017.pdf

We urge international bodies and human rights organizations to take all necessary steps to request for pending trial to be taken into consideration due to Isa Kara’s health condition mentioned above.

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement below to following relevant individuals and organizations.

Download sample statement as a word document: AST_letter_Isa Kara

1) U.S. Department of State
Email: https://register.state.gov/contactus/contactusform
Phone: (202) 647-6575
Twitter: @StateDept
Website: https://www.state.gov/

2) United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC)
Email: civilsociety@ohchr.org
Phone: (+41) 22 917 9656
Twitter: @UN_HRC
Website: www.ohchr.org/hrc

3) Human Rights Watch
Twitter: @hrw
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumanRightsWatch
NY Address:350 Fifth Avenue, 34th floor New York, NY 10118-3299 USA
Tel: +1-212-290-4700
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

Emma Daly, Communications Director
Tel: +1-212-216-1835
Fax: +1-212-736-1300

4) Human Rights Foundation
Twitter: @HRF
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/humanrightsfoundation/
New York Address:350 5th Ave., #4515 New York, NY, 10001
Phone Number: (212) 246-8486

5) Freedom House
Twitter: @FreedomHouseDC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FreedomHouseDC
info@freedomhouse.org
Phone: 202-296-5101
Fax: 202-293-2840

Annie Boyajian, Advocacy Manager
boyajian@freedomhouse.org

6) Amnesty International
Twitter: @amnestyusa
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amnestyusa
report@aiusa.org

7) International Federation for Houman Rights
Twitter: @fidh_en
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FIDH.HumanRights
FIDH AT THE UN (NEW-YORK)
110 East 42nd street, Suite 1309 NY 10017 New-York
Phone Number: 001 646 395 7103

8) International Court of Justice
Email: information@icj-cij.org
Phone: (+31) 70 302 23 23
Fax: (+31) 70 364 99 28
Twitter: @CIJ_ICJ
Website: http://www.icj-cij.org/en

NEWS ARTICLES ON THIS SUBJECT:

“Paralyzed teacher being held in Manisa prison for 22 months over coup charges”
https://turkeypurge.com/paralyzed-teacher-being-held-in-manisa-prison-for-22-months-over-coup-charges

“21 aydır tutuklu bulunan eğitimci İsa Kara sağlık sorunları nedeniyle zor günler geçiriyor”
http://aktifhaber.com/iskence/21-aydir-tutuklu-bulunan-egitimci-isa-kara-saglik-sorunlari-nedeniyle-zor-gunler-geciriyor-h117333.html

“Ağır hasta 34 yıllık öğretmen cezaevinde ölüme terk edildi”
http://www.shaber3.com/agir-hasta-34-yillik-ogretmen-cezaevinde-olume-terk-edildi-haberi/1306518/?733317766

TWEETS ON THIS SUBJECT:

PICTURES ON THIS SUBJECT:

 

 

 

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Women and Children in Prison

As you are aware, recent reports from the Journalist and Writers Foundation in Turkey and the Stockholm Center for Freedom have estimated the number of women in Turkish prisons is a staggering 17,000 along with over 660 children. Official records indicate that 23 percent of these children are infants less than a year old. Dr. Alan Mendoza, executive director of the Henry Jackson Society (a British foreign policy think tank) said “prison is no place for children in any civilized country”.

These reports have questioned the basis for the detainment and imprisonment of these women, as well as the timing of their arrests, in some cases shortly after giving birth. Many of these women have been held without charges being pressed and without access to legal representation, and in some cases, access to their family.

Reports from within Turkey have shown images of security officials waiting outside hospital rooms for mothers to be discharged in order to detain them and their newborn children. With the critical need of preventing bacteria during a child’s first months, questions about the conditions of the prisons where these women are held with their newborn children have also arisen in numerous media reports. Since “extra food, books, phone calls, trips to the hospital, and bathroom supplies are all added to inmates’ prison bills” some women with poor financial situation cannot afford basic hygienic items such as sanitary pads (which they are not provided).

The prison conditions are not satisfactory for the well being of women, and especially children. They are forced to stay in overcrowded rooms, denied health care, missing fresh air and have to share bed and meal.

Many inmates sleep on the floor. Human Rights Association (IHD) has stated that in Turkey, 1025 prisoners are in poor health, 357 of which are seriously ill. Nonetheless, at a parliamentary hearing, it was revealed that at least five women have suspiciously died at the women’s prison in Kocaeli’s Gebze district .

We wholeheartedly condemn this violation of basic human rights of not only the imprisoned women but also these children who are being subjected to a life behind bars without cause.

Read AST’s report on women and children in prison:
AST_1-28-18_REPORT4_WOMEN’S AND CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ARE UNDER ATTACK IN TURKEY

Download AST’s presentation on women and children in prison:
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/AST_presentation_Persecution-of-women-in-Turkey.pdf

News and reports on women and children in prison:
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/TR/2018-03-19_Second_OHCHR_Turkey_Report.pdf
https://silencedturkey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/AST_Newsletter2_Womens-Rights-Newsletter.pdf
http://www.foxnews.com/world/2018/02/13/hundreds-young-turkish-children-jailed-alongside-their-moms-as-part-post-coup-crackdown.html
http://jwf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Children-Report-2017-.pdf
http://jwf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Womens-Rights-Under-Attack.pdf
http://stockholmcf.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Jailing-women-in-Turkey.pdf

We urge everyone to take action. Express your views or send attached statement to your Representatives and Senators, and urge them to bring up this concern to the State Department:

U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Senators
State Representatives
State Senators

Find your members of Congress:
https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members
Find your senators:
https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state

Download sample statement as a word document:
AST_Letter-Regarding-Women-and-children-in-Prison

 

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