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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 110

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 52 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.



July 29: A journalist revealed that Sedat Laçiner, an academic jailed for his alleged links to the Gülen movement, was given a disciplinary punishment of four months on the day of his release.


Sedat Laçiner

July 30: Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül, an academic incarcerated in an İstanbul prison despite his health problems, died of a heart attack. Özşengül was jailed over his alleged links to the Gülen movement.


Şükrü Tuğrul Özşengül

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 25: The Mersin Governor’s Office banned pride events in the province for a period of 15 days.


July 25: The police in Antalya intervened in a demonstration organized by the HDP, briefly detaining seven people.


July 27: Gendarmerie in Ordu intervened in a demonstration organized to protest the granting of a spring water source to a private company, briefly detaining 11 people.


July 29: The police in İstanbul detained three people who protested the İstanbul mayor during a mosque visit.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


July 25: The police in Mardin removed a banner hung by the HDP on its provincial headquarters.


July 25: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to three news reports about allegations that 43 publicly funded tenders were awarded to a company owned by the sons of the head of a pro-government religious association.


July 26: The police in İstanbul detained leftist politician Selvinaz Göçmez on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda.


July 26: Mahmut Mirkelam, a district mayor in Şanlıurfa, physically assaulted local journalist Kerem Kırpaç.


July 26: The Constitutional Court found no rights violation in a disciplinary punishment given to 22 teachers for staging a protest about the freedom to use one’s mother tongue.


July 26: A Diyarbakır court ruled to block access to a website used by the pro-Kurdish Etkin news agency (ETHA).


July 26: Customs police in Antalya denied entry to Turkish-Cypriot journalist Aysu Basri Akter from entering Turkey on the grounds that she was a threat to national security.


July 27: Two local journalists in Adana were detained and mistreated by the owners and workers of a recycling factory that they visited to make an investigative report.


July 27: The police in Manisa briefly detained four people, three of whom members of the HDP, over their social media messages.


July 28: The police in Antalya detained six people on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda.


July 28: The Supreme Court of Appeals reversed the aggravated life sentences handed down to four people, including former media executive Hidayet Karaca, on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.


Hidayet Karaca

July 28: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to eight online articles about bribery allegations implicating the president’s former lawyer.


July 28: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to three news reports about a land purchase made by a company whose administration involves executives running companies that received public municipal tenders from the ruling party.


July 28: A Bursa court ruled to block access to three news report about a child abuse scandal in the province.


July 28: The Ministry of Trade banned the broadcast of an LGBT themed commercial film on the grounds that it disrupts morality.


July 28: A court ordered journalist Fuat Uğur to pay damages to a government minister over a column he penned about a ministerial project.


July 28: Prosecutors launched an investigation into opposition politician Eren Erdem on charges of insulting the president on social media.


July 29: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to six news reports about a ruling party MP who participated in an attack on the building of a pro-opposition newspaper in September 2015.


July 29: The Constitutional Court ruled that a monetary fine imposed on activist Nursel Tanrıverdi over her one-person sit-in protests violated her freedom of expression.


Nursel Tanrıverdi

FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT


July 26: Customs police in Antalya denied entry to Turkish-Cypriot journalist Aysu Basri Akter from entering Turkey on the grounds that she was a threat to national security.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


July 25: The Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) disbarred prosecutor Aykut Aydoğan on account of his alleged links to the Gülen movement.


KURDISH MINORITY


July 25: Esat Atabay, a Kurdish seasonal agricultural laborer, was targeted in a racist attack and was injured in his head.


July 25: The police in Antalya intervened in a demonstration organized by the HDP, briefly detaining seven people.


July 25: The police in Mardin removed a banner hung by the HDP on its provincial headquarters.


July 26: The police in Kars detained HDP member Gülcan Alp on terrorism-related charges.


July 26: A parliamentary committee lifted the parliamentary immunity of Kurdish MP Salihe Aydeniz.


July 26: The Constitutional Court found no rights violation in a disciplinary punishment given to 22 teachers for staging a protest about the freedom to use one’s mother tongue.


July 27: The police in Manisa briefly detained four people, three of whom members of the HDP, over their social media messages.


July 28: The police in Mersin detained 21 people, including local HDP executives, on terrorism-related charges.


July 29: The police in İstanbul detained seven members of the HDP. During the house raids, the police mistreated the family members of HDP executive Livan Orman who was detained as part of the operation.


July 30: Opera singer Pervin Çakar announced that a university in Mardin refused to give her a hall for a concert on the grounds that there were Kurdish-language songs in her repertoire.


OTHER MINORITIES


July 26: A mob in Diyarbakır verbally threatened three people after visiting a church.


July 28: The Ministry of Trade banned the broadcast of an LGBT themed commercial film on the grounds that it disrupts morality.


July 30: Assailants attacked several Alevi places of worship (Cemevi) in Ankara. The attacks took place in the first day of the Alevi holy month of Muharram and resulted in the physical injury of two people.


PRISON CONDITIONS


July 25: An Adana prison frequently cut water supply to prisoner wards.


July 25: A Van prison rejected the requests to visit hospital of four inmates who tested positive for Covid-19.


July 26: Reports indicated that a Van prison has been keeping six inmates in one-person cells for 67 months, restricting their social and cultural rights and confiscating their petitions to the Ministry of Justice.


July 28: A Giresun prison denied hospital visits to inmates who refused mouth searches.


July 30: An Aksaray prison rejected the requests to visit hospital of inmates who tested positive for Covid-19.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


July 27: Three Turkish political asylum seekers were arrested by Turkish authorities after they were pushed back by Greece while attempting to cross the border.


July 28: Media reports and a leaked internal review revealed that Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, routinely covered up illegal pushbacks of migrants by the Greek coastguard.



TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


July 28: The police in İstanbul physically and verbally assaulted a person during an ID check. The İstanbul police department announced afterwards that an investigation was launched into the officers involved.


July 29: The police in İstanbul mistreated family members of HDP executive Livan Orman during a house raid to detain him.


TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION


July 29: The Austrian interior ministry confirmed that three Austrian Turks were detained in June on suspicion of spying on dissident for Turkey’s intelligence and were released pending trial after questioning.