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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 101

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 323 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.



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 23: Antalya prosecutors indicted 40 people over their participation in a women’s rights march.


May 24: The police in İstanbul detained two people protesting for prisoners on hunger strike.


May 25: The police in İstanbul briefly detained seven people protesting an energy company.


May 25: The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey violated the right to liberty and security as well as freedom of assembly and association of 22 trade union members who were arrested in 2012 while on their way to a demonstration.


May 26: The police in İstanbul detained four people staging a protest vigil in front of a courthouse.


May 26: The police in Ankara detained three people protesting the conviction of prominent rights activist Nuriye Gülmen.


May 26: The police in İstanbul detained two people protesting for prisoners on hunger strike.


May 26: The Bursa Governor’s Office banned a concert by Kurdish singer Mem Ararat, citing “public safety” reasons.


May 26: The Bursa Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of seven days.


May 27: The police in Ankara briefly detained 16 people staging a protest in a university campus.


May 27: The police in Tunceli briefly detained 11 people staging a protest.


May 27: The police in Ankara briefly detained seven people staging a protest for prisoners on hunger strike.


May 28: The police in Tunceli detained 20 people for attending Newroz celebrations.


May 28: The Ministry of Culture and Tourism canceled a concert by Spanish-Armenian violinist Ara Malikian.


May 28: The Van Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


May 24: An Ankara court ordered actress Ezgi Mola to pay a monetary fine for insulting a former sergeant who was found guilty of sexual assault.


Ezgi Mola

May 25: An Ankara court ruled to block access to three news reports on allegations of bribery implicating a businessman and the interior minister.


May 26: An İstanbul court ordered opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to pay damages to the president and people in his inner circle for raising allegations that they had transferred large sums of money to offshore accounts in the Isle of Man.


Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu

May 26: The authorities blocked access to three news reports on allegations of corruption implicating a senior police chief in İstanbul.


May 27: The ruling party unveiled a bill that stipulates prison sentences of up to three years for “spreading fake news on the internet.”


May 27: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to a news report on bribery allegations targeting senior police chiefs in the province.


HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


May 25: An İstanbul court sentenced academic and prominent rights activist Nuriye Gülmen to 10 years in prison on terrorism-related charges.


Nuriye Gülmen

JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


May 24: The Constitutional Court rejected the applications of Kurdish politicians Aysel Tuğluk and Sebahat Tuncel who claimed that their arrest over protests in 2014 was unlawful and politically motivated.


Sebahat Tuncel and Aysel Tuğluk

May 27: A commission set up to review individual complaints emanating from the two-year-long state has so far rejected 106,970 applications out of the 124,235 it has processed since its establishment in 2017.


KURDISH MINORITY


May 24: The Constitutional Court rejected the applications of Kurdish politicians Aysel Tuğluk and Sebahat Tuncel who claimed that their arrest over protests in 2014 was unlawful and politically motivated.


May 24: A right-wing mob in Antalya physically assaulted a group of Kurdish university students.


May 26: The Bursa Governor’s Office banned a concert by Kurdish singer Mem Ararat, citing “public safety” reasons.


PRISON CONDITIONS


May 23: An women’s prison in Ankara launched a disciplinary investigation into six inmates for chanting to commemorate the Halabja massacre in Iraq and decided to restrict their communications for a month.


May 23: A Denizli prison denied medical treatment to sick inmate Ekim Polat.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


May 24: The authorities announced that since the beginning of the year Turkey deported 28,581 irregular migrants, representing a 70 percent increase compared to the same period of the last year.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


May 23: The guards in a Denizli prison reportedly tortured sick inmate Ekim Polat.


May 24: The Constitutional Court ordered the state to pay damages to a citizen who in 2015 was subjected to physical assault by the police.


WOMEN’S RIGHTS


May 28: Human Rights Watch (HRW) senior Turkey researcher Emma Sinclair Webb said in an interview that around four out of 10 women in Turkey have suffered physical and/or sexual violence during their lives.