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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 14

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


September 21: Melek Çetinkaya, a rights activist who had been arrested on terror charges over her remarks on a TV broadcast, was released after being held in isolation for two months.


Rights activist Melek Çetinkaya

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY


September 21: The police blocked a meeting held by the pro-Kurdish HDP in the Batman province to support the international İstanbul Convention on combating gender-based violence, from which the government has been implying Turkey’s potential withdrawal. The police briefly detained six activists.


September 22: Gendarmerie forces intervened against protestors campaigning against mining operations at the Mount Ida, detaining four people.


September 25: The police blocked a group of activists who wanted to submit their report to the education ministry, briefly detaining six people.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


September 22: Writer İhsan Eliaçık was sentenced to 1 year, 2 months in prison for “insulting the president” over a comment on social media.


Writer and theologist İhsan Eliaçık was sentenced to imprisonment for allegedly insulting the president

September 22: Prosecutors launched an investigation into animal rights activist Erman Paçalı over a comment on social media criticizing politicians.


September 22: Soviet-born US journalist Andre Vltchek was found dead in a car in İstanbul in what the Turkish police recorded as a ‘suspicious death.’ İstanbul prosecutors launched an investigation into the incident.


Soviet-born US journalist Andre Vltchek was found dead in İstanbul under suspicious circumstances

September 24: Journalist Mümtaz’er Türköne was released after four years of imprisonment on terror charges.


Journalist Mümtaz'er Türköne was released after spending over four years behind bars

September 24: Ankara prosecutors indicted jailed journalist Müyesser Yıldız and TELE 1 broadcaster’s Ankara representative İsmail Dükel, seeking up to 10 years in prison for each defendant on charges of “disclosing classified information.”


TELE 1 TV representative İsmail Dükel and OdaTV journalist Müyesser Yıldız

September 25: Singer Hozan Cesim (Cesim Başboğa) alleged that he was summoned to a gendarmerie command post in Bitlis where he was threatened by individuals who introduced themselves as intelligence operatives, not to sing songs in Kurdish and not to attend meetings held by the pro-Kurdish HDP.


Kurdish singer Hozan Cesim

September 26: Media watchdog RTÜK imposed a five-day broadcast ban against Halk TV broadcaster over remarks on a program criticizing the government’s military interventions outside the country.


September 26: A Hatay court ruled to ban access to the pro-Kurdish Yeni Yaşam newspaper’s website.


September 27: Kemal Subaşı, a man distributing the Kurdish-language Xwebûn newspaper was briefly detained by the police in Urfa on the grounds that the newspaper was “banned.”


September 27: Musician Veysi Ermiş was briefly detained in İstanbul over his social media posts featuring videos where he sang songs in Kurdish.


Musician Veysi Ermiş

JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE


September 21: Prosecutors launched an investigation into the İstanbul Bar Association for hanging a banner commemorating lawyer Ebru Timtik who died after an eight-month hunger strike behind bars to demand a fair trial.


The İstanbul Bar association has come under investigation for commemorating lawyer Ebru Timtik

September 22: Six lawyers out of 39 who appeared in court were arrested after 12 days in police custody on charges of “filing criminal complaints of torture” and “contacting human rights defenders.” Ankara prosecutors had issued detention warrants for 60 lawyers on terror charges on Sept. 11.


September 22: The Constitutional Court rejected an application by Murat Arslan, the former Chair of the Association of Judges and Prosecutors (YARSAV) who is serving a 10-year prison sentence, on the grounds that the application was found “inadmissible.”


Former head of judges' association Murat Arslan

September 24: The trial of the murder of a 12-year-old girl shot dead in October 2015 in Diyarbakır during a curfew was put on hold after the Interior Ministry refused to grant permission for the prosecution of the police officer allegedly involved in the incident.


September 24: Interior minister Süleyman Soylu once again slammed the Constitutional Court, accusing it of acting like a branch of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).


KURDISH MINORITY


September 21: Columnist and leftist politician Yusuf Karataş was sentenced to 10 years, 6 months in prison on terror charges over his involvement with the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK).


Columnist and left-wing politician Yusuf Karataş

September 21: The police blocked a meeting held by the pro-Kurdish HDP in the Batman province to support the international İstanbul Convention on combating gender-based violence, from which the government has been implying Turkey’s potential withdrawal. The police briefly detained six activists.


September 22: Local HDP politician Filiz Işık was detained in Mardin on terror charges. Işık was subsequently arrested by a court on Sept. 24.


September 22: The Turkey-based Human Rights Association (İHD) released a special report on hate crimes and racist attacks in Turkey, detailing 280 racist attacks that have occurred over the past 10 years, targeting in particular Kurds and Syrian refugees.


September 24: Jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtaş was indicted over his court defense in January 2020 in which he criticized the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor. Demirtaş now faces up to 3 years in prison.


September 24: Ali Boçnak, a 76-year-old sick inmate, lost his life behind bars after prosecutors refused to release him. Boçnak was serving a prison sentence for his alleged membership in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).


September 24: The trial of the murder of a 12-year-old girl shot dead in October 2015 in Diyarbakır during a curfew was put on hold after the Interior Ministry refused to grant permission for the prosecution of the police officer allegedly involved in the incident.


September 25: Ankara prosecutors ordered the detention of 82 prominent pro-Kurdish politicians over their alleged role in the wave of protests in Kurdish-majority cities in 2014.


September 25: Singer Hozan Cesim (Cesim Başboğa) alleged that he was summoned to a gendarmerie command post in Bitlis where he was threatened by individuals who introduced themselves as intelligence operatives, not to sing songs in Kurdish and not to attend meetings held by the pro-Kurdish HDP.


September 26: A Hatay court ruled to ban access to the pro-Kurdish Yeni Yaşam newspaper’s website.


September 27: Kemal Subaşı, a man distributing the Kurdish-language Xwebûn newspaper was briefly detained by the police in Urfa on the grounds that the newspaper was “banned.”


September 27: Musician Veysi Ermiş was briefly detained in İstanbul over his social media posts featuring videos where he sang songs in Kurdish.


MILITARY OPERATIONS ABROAD


September 27: London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed that Turkey transferred a group of Syrian fighters to Azerbaijan amid clashes between Azeri and Armenian armed forces.


MISTREATMENT OF CITIZENS ABROAD


September 24: Media reports claimed that a Turkish citizen with alleged links to the Gülen movement was arrested in Panama on a Red Notice issued by Turkey. His family and human rights activists in Panama have been campaigning to prevent his extradition to Turkey, where he would face torture and lengthy imprisonment on political grounds.


September 24: An operative working for Turkey’s intelligence service (MİT) admitted to being ordered to kill Kurdish-Austrian politician Berivan Aslan.


Kurdish-Austrian politician Berivan Aslan

September 24: Sweden-based Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt was attacked by three men near his home in Stockholm.


Exiled Turkish journalist Abdullah Bozkurt was attacked near his house in Sweden

OTHER MINORITIES


September 25: Turkey’s largest tuna fish brand, Dardanel, was accused of discriminating against Roma women in job applications. The company pinned the blame on the contracting hiring firm.


PRISON CONDITIONS


September 24: Ali Boçnak, a 76-year-old sick inmate, lost his life behind bars after prosecutors refused to release him. Boçnak was serving a prison sentence for his alleged membership in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK).


September 25: İlhan İşbilen, a 74-year-old former politician imprisoned over alleged links to the Gülen movement was hospitalized after contracting Covid-19 behind bars.


Jailed former MP İlhan İşbilen was reportedly hospitalized after contracting Covid-19 in prison

REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


September 21: Media reports alleged that a Syrian migrant family was subjected to torture, including battering and strip searches, upon their arrival to a border post in Ceylanpınar in southeast Turkey.


September 22: The Turkey-based Human Rights Association (İHD) released a special report on hate crimes and racist attacks in Turkey, detailing 280 racist attacks that have occurred over the past 10 years, targeting in particular Kurds and Syrian refugees.


September 25: Associated Press (AP) published a series of interviews with migrants who accused Greece of pushing them back at the sea border between Greece and Turkey.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


September 21: Media reports alleged that a Syrian migrant family was subjected to torture, including battering and strip searches, upon their arrival to a border post in Ceylanpınar in southeast Turkey.


WOMEN’S RIGHTS


September 21: The police blocked a meeting held by the pro-Kurdish HDP in the Batman province to support the international İstanbul Convention on combating gender-based violence, from which the government has been implying Turkey’s potential withdrawal. The police briefly detained six activists.

OTHERS AISBL | BELGIUM