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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 126

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 47 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.



November 17: The police in Diyarbakır raided a house to detain a 17-year-old minor for spray painting on a wall.


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


Provincial governors and other local authorities imposed the following blanket bans on outdoor gatherings.

Date

Governor's Office

Duration

November 14

Mardin

15 days

November 15

Hakkari

15 days

November 17

Tunceli

5 days

November 20

Elazığ

15 days

November 20

Bingöl

15 days

November 20

Van

9 days

November 20

Şanlıurfa

15 days

November 20

Bitlis

15 days

The blanket bans were mostly issued in predominantly Kurdish provinces, in apparent anticipation of potential protests that could erupt following Turkey’s airstrikes in Kurdish-majority areas in Syria and Iraq.


November 16: The Kadıköy district governor’s office in İstanbul banned a movie event organized by a university student club.


November 17: The police in İstanbul raided a women’s association during a commemoration event, briefly detaining 11 people who were inside.


November 17: İstanbul prosecutors indicted 104 people who were detained during their attendance in protests.


November 20: The police in Tunceli intervened in a protest against Turkey’s airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, detaining one person.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


November 15: A Diyarbakır court sentenced HDP MP Çağlar Demirel to five months in prison on charges of denigrating the state, due to her statements and her attendance in demonstrations.


Çağlar Demirel

November 15: The police in Osmaniye detained journalist Ahmet Erkan Yiğitsözlü on terrorism-related charges. Yiğitsözlü was released two days later.


Journalist Ahmet Erkan Yiğitsözlü

November 15: The police in Eskişehir detained a person due to a social media post.


November 15: İstanbul prosecutors launched an investigation into journalists Ferhat Çelik and Osman Akın due to their coverage of allegations of mafia-state collusion.


November 15: An İzmir court ruled to acquit human rights defender Günseli Kaya who was standing trial on terrorism-related charges due to her criticism of curfews imposed on Kurdish-majority provinces in 2016.


November 15: İstanbul prosecutors indicted former opposition MP Eren Erdem on charges of insulting the president in a social media post.


November 15: An access ban imposed by a court last week on social media platform Tumblr was lifted following removal of certain contents.


November 16: Ankara prosecutors launched an investigation into journalists Fatih Gökhan Diler and Altan Sancar due to their coverage of a news, upon a complaint filed by a ruling party MP.


November 17: A Diyarbakır court sentenced Kurdish journalist Beritan Canözer to three years, one month and 15 days in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda on social media.


Journalist Beritan Canözer

November 17: The Constitutional Court ruled that an Edirne prison violated the freedom of expression of inmate Ümit Çobanoğlu by preventing him from mailing his drawings depicting the president, the interior minister and the speaker of the parliament.


November 18: Turkey’s state-run TRT Haber news station targeted exiled journalist Bülent Keneş by broadcasting footage of his home in Stockholm. Keneş is one of the dissidents whose extradition Turkish government is demanding in exchange for allowing Sweden’s NATO membership.


Journalist Bülent Keneş

November 18: Prosecutors demanded a prison sentence of more than seven years for Mika Can Raun, a woman who was briefly detained for releasing a video on Instagram in which she flushed a banknote down the toilet. Raun is charged with denigrating the symbols of state sovereignty as well as insulting the founder of the republic.


November 19: İstanbul prosecutors launched an investigation into journalist Mehmet Selçuk Ada on charges of provoking hatred and enmity among public, due to a social media post about the bomb attack in İstanbul.


HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


November 15: An İzmir court ruled to acquit human rights defender Günseli Kaya who was standing trial on terrorism-related charges due to her criticism of curfews imposed on Kurdish-majority provinces in 2016.


KURDISH MINORITY


November 15: A Diyarbakır court sentenced HDP MP Çağlar Demirel to five months in prison on charges of denigrating the state, due to her statements and her attendance in demonstrations.


November 15: Diyarbakır prosecutors drafted a new indictment for Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk, demanding up to 15 years in prison on terrorism-related charges. Diagnosed with dementia, Tuğluk was recently released from prison due to her worsening health condition.


November 17: A Diyarbakır court sentenced Kurdish journalist Beritan Canözer to three years, one month and 15 days in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda on social media.


PRISON CONDITIONS


November 14: An İstanbul prison denied healthcare to inmate Tenzile Acar for refusing to receive treatment in handcuffs.


November 14: The guards in a Diyarbakır prison confiscated inmates’ letters and draft texts.


November 14: Reports indicated that inmates’ wards in an Uşak prison were not adequately heated.


November 16: An Adana prison denied hospital referrals to inmate who refused to undergo mouth searches.


November 17: The Constitutional Court ruled that an Edirne prison violated the freedom of expression of inmate Ümit Çobanoğlu by preventing him from mailing his drawings depicting the president, the interior minister and the speaker of the parliament.


November 19: Reports revealed that an Ankara prison has been holding inmate Bager Sayak in a one-person cell since October 2021 and was not delivering Kurdish-language books and magazines sent to inmates from outside.


November 20: An Erzurum prison belated the treatment of cancer patient inmate Burhanettin Şahin.


November 20: Reports revealed that a Konya prison was holding disabled amputated inmate Mehmet Ümit in a one-person cell.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


November 16: The murder of five Afghan migrants in Ankara last week was allegedly perpetrated by another Afghan national who is suspected of having fled back to Afghanistan. The incident was initially reported as a suspected hate crime.


November 18: Human Rights Watch released a report which said that Turkey is deporting tens of thousands of Afghans directly to Afghanistan or pushing them back at its land border with Iran without checking to see if they are eligible for international protection.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


November 15: Soldiers in Şırnak physically mistreated three shepherds while interrogating them.


November 15: The guards in a Kayseri prison physically assaulted inmate Haşim Erkol.


November 17: The guards in a Trabzon prison mistreated inmate Yunus Çınar.


TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION


November 16:Uğur Demirok, a businessman who was abducted in Azerbaijan and extrajudicially rendered to Turkey through an intelligence operation, was arrested on terrorism charges due to his use of the ByLock smart phone application.


Uğur Demirok