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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 108

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


July 14: The Council of Forensic Medicine issued a controversial report in which it stated that Aysel Tuğluk, a jailed Kurdish politician suffering from dementia, is fit to remain in prison.


Aysel Tuğluk

July 15: Media reports indicated that since July 2016 Turkey’s authorities arbitrarily detained or arrested at least 80 pregnant women over their suspected links to the Gülen movement.


Turkey's laws prohibit the arrest of pregnant women even if they are found guilty.

July 15: The police in İstanbul detained four minors for disrespecting a bust sculpture of the founder of the republic.


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


July 13: The police in Hatay intervened in a demonstration organized by leftist activists, detaining 24 people.


July 13: The police in İstanbul detained four activists who were handing out flyers.


July 14: The police in İstanbul intervened in a protest vigil outside a courthouse, briefly detaining six people.


July 14: The Giresun Governor’s Office banned a concert by Pontic Greek singer Apolas Lermi after he was the target of racist attacks on the media.


Apolas Lermi

July 14: The Van Governor’s Office released a statement designating the vicinity of government offices as well as a number of streets as parks as localities categorically forbidden for demonstrations while lifting restrictions to assembly imposed in other areas in the province.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


July 11: Media reports indicated that an İzmir court ruled to block access to 17 online news articles about the death of a patient in a hospital in the province.


July 14: The police in Tunceli confiscated two books at a book fair, citing a court order.


July 14: The authorities launched criminal investigations into 22 social media users over their messages about the murder of a doctor by a patient’s relative.


July 16: The police detained two people in İzmir and Balıkesir over their social media messages on the occasion of the anniversary of a coup attempt.


July 16: The police in Tunceli detained journalist Azime Bozkurt at a road checkpoint. Bozkurt was released the next day.


HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


July 11: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Turkey failed to comply with a binding judgment of the court in December 2019 which found that civil society leader Osman Kavala’s detention violated his fundamental rights.


Osman Kavala

JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


July 11: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Turkey failed to comply with a binding judgment of the court in December 2019 which found that civil society leader Osman Kavala’s detention violated his fundamental rights.


KURDISH MINORITY


July 11: Kadri Devir, a HDP executive in Şanlıurfa, was arrested and sent to prison after appeals courts upheld his prison sentence.


July 16: The Constitutional Court ruled that the conviction of Kurdish politician Figen Yüksekdağ on terrorism charges violated her rights. Yüksekdağ was sentenced to 10 months in prison for participating in a funeral in 2012.


Figen Yüksekdağ

OTHER MINORITIES


July 14: The Giresun Governor’s Office banned a concert by Pontic Greek singer Apolas Lermi after he was the target of racist attacks on the media.


July 15: Unidentified assailants vandalized a Jewish cemetery in İstanbul.


July 16: Night watchmen in İzmir physically assaulted three trans women over an argument that erupted during an ID check.


PRISON CONDITIONS


July 11: A Diyarbakır prison confiscated letters sent by jailed journalists Mehmet Ali Ertaş, Serdar Altan and Zeynel Abidin Bulut.


July 11: A Manisa prison denied hospital visits to inmates who refused to undergo mouth searches.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


July 12: Forty-four human rights organizations and advocates, including our association, released a joint letter addressing European Union officials, asking them to take action to stop summary pushbacks of migrants on the Turkish-Greek border.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


July 11: Media reports indicated that the guards in a women’s prison in İzmir mistreated inmates and damaged their personal items.


July 14: The guards in a Diyarbakır prison strip-searched the spouse of jailed journalist Serdar Altan who was visiting.


July 16: Night watchmen in İzmir physically assaulted three trans women over an argument that erupted during an ID check.


TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION


July 18: The Supreme Court of Sweden refused Turkey’s request to extradite a former principal who used to work at a school affiliated with the Gülen movement on the grounds that his actions do not constitute any elements of a crime under Swedish law. Ankara has been requesting the extradition of a number of political exiles as a precondition for greenlighting Stockholm's NATO membership bid.


Turkey has threatened to block Sweden's NATO membership in case of failure to extradite political exiles.

WOMEN’S RIGHTS


July 13: Turkey ranked 124th out of 146 countries in the Global Gender Gap Report 2022 released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).