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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 175

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST

Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 705 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.


October 25: The parents of 17-year-old Azra Ağır, who suffers from Joubert Syndrome were detained in a nationwide police raid on Tuesday morning for alleged links to the Gülen movement.



October 26: Cemal Tanhan, a 68-year-old man incarcerated in Bolu province despite suffering from severe illness, has become paralyzed despite the fact that the Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) found him fit to remain in prison.


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 EXPRESSION AND MEDIA

October 23: Nafiye Bal, editor of the weekly Kurdish-language newspaper Xwebûn, was detained in a raid on his house.


October 24: A court in southeastern Turkey ruled to arrest Selahattin Kaygusuz, a Kurdish journalist who was detained last week for alleged membership in a terrorist organization.


October 24: At least 3 news articles about the writings of Sabah Newspaper columnist Hilal Kaplan were blocked from access and ordered to be deleted by the Istanbul Anatolian 10th Criminal Judgeship of Peace on the grounds of violation of personal rights.


October 26: Istanbul 5th Criminal Judgeship of Peace ordered the blocking and deletion of at least 3 news articles mentioning online reputation management company Clean Sheet on the grounds of violation of personal rights.


October 26: There were 136 cases of press and media freedom violations in Turkey, involving 172 persons or media entities, in the first six months of 2023.


October 26: An İstanbul court hearing a retrial handed down a suspended sentence of more than two years to singer Atilla Taş on conviction of insulting a public official and denigrating the police and the military.



October 26: A prosecutor in southeastern Turkey requested up to 15 years in prison for Beritan Canözer, a journalist accused of membership in a terrorist organization due to her involvement in pro-Kurdish media.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW

October 24: The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) faulted Turkey over the arrest and pretrial detention of 45 individuals in the aftermath of a coup attempt in 2016 on suspicion of membership in FETÖ.


October 24: The United Kingdom Home Office released an update on its Country Policy and Information Note on the faith-based Gülen movement in Turkey, which detailed widespread rights violations suffered in the country by members of the group since a coup attempt in July 2016


October 26: Turkey was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the rule of law index published by the World Justice Project (WJP).


KURDISH MINORITY

October 23: Democratic Regions Party (DBP) Party Assembly member Ali Gültepe and HDP member Cüneyt Yeşilyurt were detained in house raids in Istanbul. The reason for the detentions could not be learned.


October 26: A court in Turkey ruled for the arrest of Emin Soyal, a 78-year-old man with documented disabilities and health issues who was detained for alleged links to terrorism.


October 27: Gültan Kışanak, a Kurdish politician and the former co-mayor of the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakır incarcerated in Turkey, was denied release by the authorities despite her eligibility to be freed.



OTHER MINORITIES

October 26: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan targeted the LGBT and said there’s no room for LGBT ideology.



October 27: Drone strikes by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on Kurdish-held areas of northeast Syria between Oct. 5 and 10 damaged critical infrastructure and resulted in water and electricity disruptions for millions of people


PRISON CONDITIONS

October 24: It is learned that 26 people are kept in a ward for 10 people in Manisa Akhisar T Type Prison.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT

October 26: A disciplinary investigation was launched against 10 prisoners in Diyarbakır High Security Prison No 2 on the grounds of "creating fear by banging on the doors" and the prisoners were sentenced to 'deprivation of visitation for 3 months' at the end of the investigation.


October 24: Gültekin Avcı, a former public prosecutor and columnist incarcerated in the western Turkish province of İzmir, was allegedly mistreated by prison guards.



TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION

October 24: The Turkish government blacklisted 441 people living in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, the US and Canada for alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group outlawed by Ankara.

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