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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 106

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 108 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.



June 28: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the pretrial detention of 50 judges and prosecutors after a failed coup in 2016 lacked grounds that can constitute reasonable suspicion.


The ECtHR faulted Turkey over the post-coup detention of 50 judges and prosecutors.

ARBITRARY DEPRIVATION OF LIFE


June 30: A Diyarbakır court sentenced photojournalist Abdurrahman Gök to one year, six months and 22 days in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda for taking photos of university student Kemal Kurkut being shot to death by a police officer during Newroz celebrations in 2017.


The killing of university student Kemal Kurkut by the police in 2017.

July 3: Gendarmerie in Van opened fire on a vehicle carrying migrants on the grounds that the vehicle did not comply with a warning to stop, killing a four-year-old child and injuring 12 others who were inside.


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.


June 30: A person identified with initials S.O. was reportedly abducted at an airport in İzmir by a group of people who introduced themselves as intelligence officers. The victim was unofficially interrogated under torture and mistreatment and was coerced into becoming an informant for the state before he was released in a village near the airport.


FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION


June 27: The police in Osmaniye detained 30 members of an anti-government religious group staging a protest. Two of the detainees were arrested by a court on June 28.


June 27: The police in İstanbul intervened in a protest held in front of the German consulate, detaining one person.


June 30: The police in İstanbul intervened in a vigil staged in front of a courthouse about sick prisoners, detaining one person.


June 30: The police in Kocaeli attacked an outdoor exhibition organized by the HDP, briefly detaining six party members.


July 1: The police in İstanbul intervened in a demonstration about prisoners on hunger strike, briefly detaining two people.


July 2: The Hakkari Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


July 3: The police in Ankara detained five people over slogans chanted at a meeting organized by the HDP.


July 3: The police in Eskişehir intervened in an LGBT pride march, briefly detaining 12 people.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


June 27: The police in Aydın detained musician Veysi Belketin on terrorism charges for singing in Kurdish at a wedding.


June 27: A Tekirdağ court ruled to arrest two people who were detained on charges of insulting the president.


June 27: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to an opinion piece on a corruption allegation involving a railroad construction.


June 27: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to three news reports about a former football player’s anecdote with a teammate who is currently a deputy for the ruling party.


June 27: A district governor’s office in Muğla banned the public displaying of a documentary, which was organized by a local women’s rights group.


June 28: An İstanbul court sentenced a person named Nazife Başkan to one year, six months and 22 days in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda on social media.


June 28: An Adana court ruled to block access to three news reports about allegations of forgery and smuggling implicating the owner of a pro-government corporation.


June 28: A Konya court ruled to block access to three news reports about a university professor’s remarks associating an earthquake to the legalization of adultery and the criminalization of underage marriages.


June 29: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to a news report about allegations that a lawyer for the president threatened a businessman.


June 29: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to three news reports about allegations involving a former lawyer for the president.


June 29: İstanbul prosecutors indicted journalist Uğur Dündar over his tweets, upon a complaint filed by the interior minister.


Journalist Uğur Dündar

June 29: The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), Turkey’s broadcasting regulator, imposed a fine on two TV stations for airing the remarks of a mob boss about the interior minister. The agency also fined two other TV broadcasters and a radio station for other reasons.


June 30: A Diyarbakır court sentenced photojournalist Abdurrahman Gök to one year, six months and 22 days in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda for taking photos of university student Kemal Kurkut being shot to death by a police officer during Newroz celebrations in 2017.


June 30: An Ankara court ruled to block access to the Turkish editions of international news websites VOA and Deutsche Welle.


The Turkish authorities have banned access to international news outlets Deutsche Welle and VOA.

July 1: A Diyarbakır court ruled to block access to a news website used by the pro-Kurdish Etkin news agency (ETHA).


July 3: The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), the broadcasting regulator, contacted all music TV stations to tell them that they should not run a music video released by LGBT rights activist Mabel Matiz.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


June 28: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the pretrial detention of 50 judges and prosecutors after a failed coup in 2016 lacked grounds that can constitute reasonable suspicion.


KURDISH MINORITY


June 27: The police in Adana detained 36 people, including members and executives of the HDP.


June 27: The police in Aydın detained musician Veysi Belketin on terrorism charges for singing in Kurdish at a wedding.


June 28: A Hatay court sentenced a man named Menci Orman to 10 months in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda for wearing a scarf in yellow, red and green during Newroz celebrations. The court suspended the sentence.


June 30: A Diyarbakır court sentenced photojournalist Abdurrahman Gök to one year, six months and 22 days in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda for taking photos of university student Kemal Kurkut being shot to death by a police officer during Newroz celebrations in 2017.


June 30: The police in Kocaeli attacked an outdoor exhibition organized by the HDP, briefly detaining six party members.


July 3: The police in Ankara detained five people over slogans chanted at a meeting organized by the HDP.


OTHER MINORITIES


July 3: The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK), the broadcasting regulator, contacted all music TV stations to tell them that they should not run a music video released by LGBT rights activist Mabel Matiz.


PRISON CONDITIONS


June 27: Reports revealed that a Samsun prison has been denying hospitalization to inmate Furkan Kara for seven months.


June 29: Reports said that the meals offered to inmates in a Mersin prison were insufficient and unhygienic.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


June 28: Data released by the European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) showed a 47 percent increase in the number of asylum applications filed by Turkish nationals in the EU in 2021 compared to the previous year.


The number of Turkish citizens seeking asylum in the EU increased significantly in 2021.

July 1: Gendarmerie forces in Osmaniye opened fire on 35 migrants who escaped a deportation center. The migrants were also attacked by local inhabitants. At least three people were injured in the incident.


July 1: The authorities banned migrants from registering residence in 781 neighborhoods across the country.


July 3: Gendarmerie in Van opened fire on a vehicle carrying migrants on the grounds that the vehicle did not comply with a warning to stop, killing a four-year-old child and injuring 12 others who were inside.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


June 27: Reports revealed that a person who was detained during a Pride march in İstanbul suffered from a shoulder dislocation due to police violence and was made to wait rear-handcuffed for 20 minutes.


June 27: The police in Adana physically and verbally assaulted two people during a house raid.


June 27: The guards in an Ağrı prison physically assaulted inmate Zülküf Kaya. The victim was later transferred to another prison against his will.


June 30: The police in Siirt physically assaulted a man named Welat İnan.


July 2: Newly released video footage showed guards in an Adana prison torturing inmate Şehmuz Emen.


TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION


June 29: Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced that his ministry will seek the extradition of 33 political dissidents from Sweden and Finland under a deal to secure Turkey’s support for the two countries’ NATO membership bids.


Turkey has required the extradition of political dissidents as part of a NATO deal with Sweden and Finland.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS


June 30: Reports on the media revealed that the number of femicide cases resulting in a reduced sentence handed down to the male murderer has increased since Turkey’s withdrawal from the İstanbul Convention in March 2021.


July 3: Men killed at least 31 women in June, according to the We Will Stop Femicide platform. The women’s rights group also reported that 22 women died under suspicious circumstances.