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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 100

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 134 people over alleged links to the Gülen movement. In October 2020, a UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) opinion said that widespread or systematic imprisonment of individuals with alleged links to the group may amount to crimes against humanity. Solidarity with OTHERS has compiled a detailed database to monitor the Gülen-linked mass detentions since a failed coup in July 2016.



May 21: Abdullah Aslan, a former teacher who was arrested for alleged links to the Gülen movement shortly after surgery to remove a tumor from his brain, suffered a second relapse and requested his release to seek medical treatment.


Abdullah Aslan

ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES


No news has emerged of Yusuf Bilge Tunç, a former public sector worker who was sacked from his job by a decree-law during the 2016-2018 state of emergency and who was reported missing as of August 6, 2019 in what appears to be one of the latest cases in a string of suspected enforced disappearance of government critics since 2016.


FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION


May 16: The police in İstanbul detained two people protesting for prisoners on hunger strike.


May 17: The police in İstanbul briefly detained Hanife Yıldız, a peace activist fighting for accountability for the enforced disappearances of the 1990s, while she was attempting to stage a demonstration in front of a courthouse.


Hanife Yıldız

May 17: The gendarmes in Şanlıurfa briefly detained five people protesting a local energy supplier.


May 17: The police in Balıkesir detained three people for carrying rainbow flags during an LGBT event.


May 17: The Muş Governor’s Office banned a concert by Metin Kahraman and Kemal Kahraman.


May 17: The Ministry of Culture and Tourism removed a K-Pop group from a festival on the grounds that the group encouraged homosexuality.


May 17: A municipality in Kocaeli banned the staging of a Kurdish-language theater play.


May 18: An İstanbul court ruled to acquit 17 people who stood trial for protesting to raise awareness about hunger strikes in prisons.


May 18: The police in İstanbul intervened in a demonstration to commemorate a left-wing militant, detaining 25 people. The detainees were released the next day.


May 19: The police in İstanbul detained two people protesting for prisoners on hunger strike.


May 20: The police in İstanbul intervened in a demonstration organized by the HDP, briefly detaining four people.


May 20: The police in İstanbul intervened in an LGBT pride march, detaining 70 activists.


May 22: The İstanbul Governor’s Office banned a picnic organized by an association.


May 22: The police in İstanbul intervened in a protest against Turkey’s military incursion into northern Iraq, detaining 25 protestors.


May 22: The police in İstanbul, Adana and Hatay intervened in demonstrations organized by members of an anti-government religious group, detaining at least 11 people.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


May 17: The police briefly detained two minors for allegedly insulting the president in slogans they chanted during a women’s rights march.


May 17: An İstanbul court ordered the BirGün newspaper to pay damages to the president’s son-in-law due to a report alleging that his company was granted special favors by a government agency.


May 18: A court sentenced journalist Reyhan Çapan to one year, six months in prison over a news report.


Journalist Reyhan Çapan

May 20: The police in İstanbul briefly detained Kurdish musician Zelal Gökçe on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda.


Zelal Gökçe

May 20: Journalists Seyhan Avşar, Hale Gönültaş and Eylem Emel Yıldız announced that they received death threats over their reporting.


Journalists Eylem Emel Yıldız, Hale Gönültaş and Seyhan Avşar

May 20: A Gaziantep court ruled to block access two tweets and at least four news reports about allegations that some news websites received fake court orders for removal of content.


HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


May 17: The Human Rights Association (İHD) announced that one of its provincial co-chairs in Hakkari received death threats.


May 21: The Justice Ministry denied a request by the co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) to visit jailed businessman and civil society leader Osman Kavala in prison.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


May 16: The Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) disbarred 15 judges and prosecutors on account of their alleged ties to terrorism.


KURDISH MINORITY


May 19: The police in Diyarbakır detained 12 people, including executives and members of the HDP.


May 20: The police in İstanbul intervened in a demonstration organized by the HDP, briefly detaining four people.


May 20: The police in İstanbul briefly detained Kurdish musician Zelal Gökçe on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda.


OTHER MINORITIES


May 17: The police in Balıkesir detained three people for carrying rainbow flags during an LGBT event.


May 19: LGBT rights activists and lawyers in Eskişehir filed a criminal complaint about anonymous leaflets that called for murdering LGBT people.


PRISON CONDITIONS


May 19: An Aksaray prison denied the right to video calls to political prisoners.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


May 16: Media reports revealed that Greek soldiers pushed back 15 Turkish nationals who crossed the land border to seek political asylum.


May 17: The Ankara Bar Association announced that hundreds of refugees were recently detained and sent to a repatriation center, demanding information from the authorities and a possibility to talk to the refugees.


May 18: The Bolu Municipality hung Arabic-language banners that contained hateful rhetoric against refugees living in the province.



TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION


May 17: Former intelligence officer Ali Burak Darıcılı said in a YouTube interview that Turkey’s intelligence service has bribed locals in Africa and Central Asia to secure the abduction of members of the Gülen movement who were then forcibly returned to Turkey.


May 18: The Turkish government demanded the extradition of 21 political exiles from Sweden in exchange for not blocking the country’s bid to become a NATO member.


May 18: A Turkish kebab shop owner in Germany physically assaulted Ramazan Yılmazer, a government critic who has been living in Germany for 41 years.