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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 105

June 24: Hundreds of people gathered in front of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to the court’s failure to address widespread rights violations in Turkey. The event was supported by European politicians, jurists and academics from several countries.



ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 138 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


June 21: An İzmir court sentenced women’s rights activist Meryem Yıldırım to five months in prison over her participation in a demonstration.


June 21: The police in İstanbul briefly detained four people staging a demonstration in front of a courthouse to protest a lenient prison sentence that was handed down in a case of femicide.


June 21: The Muğla Governor’s Office banned all planned LGBT events.


June 22: An İstanbul court sentenced activists Kaan Ünal and Doğukan Akkaya to five months in prison over their participation in protests against the government-appointed rector of Boğaziçi University.


June 22: The İstanbul Governor’s Office banned all planned LGBT events.


June 22: The Eskişehir Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days, in anticipation of planned LGBT events.


June 23: The police in İstanbul briefly detained six people staging a vigil in front of a courthouse.


June 23: The Muğla Governor’s Office interrupted a rap concert and forcibly removed the singer off the stage.


June 24: The İzmir Governor’s Office banned planned LGBT events for a period of three days.


June 25: The police in İstanbul intervened in a demonstration organized by the Saturday Mothers (Cumartesi Anneleri), briefly detaining 16 people.



June 26: The police in İstanbul intervened in a Pride march, detaining 373 people. The detainees were released the next day.


June 26: The police in İzmir intervened in a Pride march, briefly detaining eight people.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


June 21: An Appeals court upheld a prison sentence of four years, two months handed down to Porçay, a social media influencer, on charges of encouraging drug use.


Social media influencer Porçay

June 21: A Diyarbakır court handed down a suspended prison sentence of 10 months to Kurdish politician Sırrı Süreyya Önder on charges of insulting the president.


Sırrı Süreyya Önder

June 21: An Ankara court ruled to block access to online news stories on 257 websites that covered the dismissal of five prosecutors by the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) over their alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement.


June 23: An İstanbul court ordered opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to pay damages to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his relatives for his allegations that they transferred money to an offshore company based in the Isle of Man.


June 23: The police in Mersin briefly detained a shop owner on charges of insulting the president, for hanging a banner over his shop about the economic situation.


June 24: The Justice Ministry gave its approval for an investigation into 11 executives of the Diyarbakır Bar Association over their statement in April marking the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.


June 24: A court ordered opposition politician Erkan Baş to pay damages to a pro-government businessman for criticizing him during a press conference.


Erkan Baş

June 24: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to news reports about allegations that a public university authorized a private company to access the personal data of its academic personnel, administrative staff, students and graduates.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


June 23: The Security Directorate General (EGM) dismissed from service or canceled the retirement benefits of 1,000 current or retired police officers based on a post-coup government decree.


June 24: The police in İstanbul, Ankara and Bursa detained 17 lawyers due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.


June 24: Reports revealed that Ankara University used documents received from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to justify its purge of more than 100 academics in the aftermath of a coup attempt in 2016.


KURDISH MINORITY


June 21: In a video that sparked outrage on social media, a group of gendarmes were seen terrorizing civilians in a Kurdish-majority province by firing random shots in the air as they arrived to detain a suspect.


June 22: The police in Mersin detained 20 people, including a local HDP executive, on terrorism-charges.


June 24: The Supreme Court of Appeals (Yargıtay) upheld prison sentences handed down in 2018 to 13 Kurdish politicians, including former Van Mayor Bekir Kaya, on terrorism charges.


OTHER MINORITIES


June 23: Reports revealed that the police in İstanbul physically assaulted three Roma people who were detained on May 31 during a wedding. The police also used racial slurs against them.


June 23: LGBT activists in Gaziantep canceled their planned Pride Week events due to the threats they received.


PRISON CONDITIONS


June 21: An Adana prison blocked the hospital visits of inmates who refused to undergo mouth searches.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


June 21: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) faulted Turkey in the case of a Syrian national who was forced to return to Syria in 2018 despite having a valid residence permit.


June 22: Philippe Leclerc, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR) representative in Turkey, announced that approximately 800 Syrian leave Turkey for Syria every week but that conditions are not suitable for a large number of returns.


June 26: The authorities deported 226 migrants to Afghanistan.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


June 21: In a video that sparked outrage on social media, a group of gendarmes were seen terrorizing civilians in a Kurdish-majority province by firing random shots in the air as they arrived to detain a suspect.


June 22: The guards in a Mersin prison mistreated 20 inmates.


June 22: The guards in an Elazığ prison mistreated inmate Süleyman Göksel Yerdut.


June 23: Reports revealed that the police in İstanbul physically assaulted three Roma people who were detained on May 31 during a wedding. The police also used racial slurs against them.


June 25: Soldiers in Mardin tortured three people who tried to cross the Turkish-Syrian border illegally. Two of the victims were reportedly underage.


June 25: The police in İstanbul physically assaulted a man over an argument. The victim was injured and hospitalized.


June 26: Gendarmerie in Hakkari mistreated 20 people, including minors, who were detained in house raids. Two lawyers who went to meet with the victims were also reportedly mistreated.


June 26: The guards in a Diyarbakır prison physically assaulted six inmates during a ward search.


TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION


June 22: A Turkish national who was arrested in Germany last year admitted in court to spying on members of the Gülen movement and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).