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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 189

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST

Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 42 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.



January 30: Gülden Aşık, a woman jailed on conviction of links to the Gülen movement who recently underwent surgery for thyroid cancer, is about to return to prison a few days after her release from intensive care.



Gülden Aşık


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

January 31: The police intervened the members of Private Sector Teachers' Union who wanted to hold a press declaration in Ankara on January 30, 2024, to protest the physical violence of Melih Can Kurt, a teacher, by the director of the institution he works for demanding his salary, and detained 1 person.


February 1: Oktay Saral, Chief Advisor to the President, targeted and threatened journalist Fatih Altaylı for the statements he made while commenting on the news on his social media channel.


February 1: Governorate of Bitlis made a declaration on February 1, 2024 and announced that demonstrations, outdoor and indoor meetings, press declarations, sit-ins and polls, setting up/opening tents and stands, organizing petitions, distributing leaflets and flyers and all kinds of protest activities are banned for 4 days between February 1, 2024 and February 4, 2024.


February 2: Hakkari Governorate made a declaration on February 1, 2024 and announced that all events such as demonstrations, sit-ins, press declarations, protests, demonstrations, sit-ins, press statements, protests etc. are banned for 4 days between February 1, 2024 and February 4, 2024.


February 2: Ağrı Governorate made a declaration on February 1, 2024 and announced that demonstrations, outdoor and indoor meetings, press declarations, sit-in protests and surveys, setting up/opening tents and stands, organizing petitions, distributing leaflets, brochures and flyers and all kinds of protest activities are banned for 4 days between February 2, 2024 and February 5, 2024.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA

February 1: Turkish prosecutors have launched an investigation into prominent journalist Çiğdem Toker due to her comments on television about the results of a runoff election in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan secured yet another term in office.


Çiğdem Toker

February 1: On January 31, 2024, 2 members of Labour Youth are detained in Kadıköy district of Istanbul for hanging posters about the parliamentary impeachment of Can Atalay, Hatay MP of Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP).


FREEDOM OF RELIGION

February 1: An official from Turkey’s Education Ministry has warned that some private schools in the country may face closure due to celebrations of such events as Christmas, Easter and Halloween that he said are inconsistent with Turkish customs and traditions.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW

January 30: The Turkish parliament announced in the plenary session on Tuesday a ruling by Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals upholding an 18-year prison sentence for a jailed lawmaker, Can Atalay, effectively stripping him of his parliamentary status, in defiance of successive rulings by the country’s Constitutional Court.


Can Atalay

January 31: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has appointed Yılmaz Akçil, a judge known for his controversial decisions, as a member of Turkey’s Constitutional Court, in yet another development raising concerns about the politicization of the country’s judiciary.


Yılmaz Akçil

KURDISH MINORITY

January 29: Dicle Müftüoğlu, a Kurdish journalist who was arrested in May on terrorism-related charges, has gone on a hunger strike to draw attention to the criminalization of journalistic activities in Turkey.


Dicle Müftüoğlu

OTHER MINORITIES

February 1: Birol Aydın, Istanbul Mayoral Candidate of Felicity Party, used discriminatory and phobic expressions at Felicity Party Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Candidate Presentation Meeting: "Istanbul has become like a geyser. The perversions called LGBTI have spread to every area" and used discriminatory and phobic expressions.


PRISON CONDITIONS

February 1: Some of the female prisoners in Çorum L Type Prison stay in rooms for 7 people but with 28 people.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT

January 31: Vefa Yılmaz, a prisoner in Rize L Type Prison was transferred to Samsun Kavak S Type Prison against his will on January 29, 2024, and that he was subjected to physical violence and was kept in solitary cell for objecting to strip search during transfer and in the prison.


February 1: prisoners (Mustafa Şıhi, Sedat Şimşek and Mazlum Taşkın) in Adana Kürkçüler F Type Prison were transferred to Burdur High Security Prison and 1 prisoner (Hasan Ateşçi) was transferred to Antalya High Security Prison against their will.


WOMEN’S RIGHTS

January 29: Three women across Turkey were killed within a 24-hour period by men from whom they were divorcing or separating.

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