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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 203

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST

Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 103 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.



7 May: Turkish police detained 14 minors, all reportedly aged fifteen, during raids in Istanbul for alleged links to the Gülen movement.

* The exact number has been updated to 16.




7 May: 26 people from 11 provinces, including former police officers, were detained for alleged links to the Gülen movement.


8 May: 15 people including active duty and dismissed military officers and former military cadets were detained in Ankara for alleged links to the Gülen movement.


8 May: A former public servant who was fired from his job in a wide-ranging purge in the aftermath of a July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, was arrested again for allegedly violating a travel ban in March while out pending appeal after having served over five years 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 ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION

6 May: Thirty-eight people who allegedly resisted law enforcement on Wednesday in an attempt to hold a demonstration in İstanbul’s Taksim Square to mark International Workers’ Day despite a government ban have been arrested.


10 May: Governorate of Van Governorate announced that demonstrations, open-air meetings, indoor and outdoor meetings, press declarations, sit-in protests and surveys, setting up/opening tents and stands, organising petitions, distributing leaflets, brochures and flyers and all kinds of protest activities are banned for 6 days between 10 May 2024 and 15 May 2024.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA

6 May: Eight people including two journalists have been detained in house raids in the predominantly Kurdish province of Diyarbakır in southeastern Turkey.


6 May: Journalist Hakan Gülseven was arrested and sent to prison after his 1 year and 8 months imprisonment sentence was upheld by Regional Court of Appeals.


Hakan Gülseven


8 May: Pınar Aydınlar was sentenced to 1 year, 6 months and 24 days in prison for her Facebook posts, while her songs she sang at the 21st Munzur Culture and Nature Festival were considered within the scope of freedom of expression.


9 May: A court in İstanbul has ordered four journalists to pay damages to a retired general due to five articles that were published in the now-defunct Taraf daily.


Journalists Mehmet Baransu, Yasemin Çongar, Ahmet Altan and Yıldıray Oğur (from L to R)


9 May: A high school student in Diyarbakır was sentenced to over seven months in prison on Thursday for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.


9 May: News reports and social media posts about former AKP Bilecik MP Fahrettin Poyraz's dismissal as the General Director of the Central Union of Agricultural Credit Cooperatives and his alleged salary from 11 different places were blocked on the grounds of violation of personal rights.


10 May: A court has sentenced five journalists and a newspaper distributor associated with the now-defunct pro-Kurdish newspaper Özgürlükçü Demokrasi to prison terms on charges of "aiding a terrorist organization without being members."


KURDISH MINORITY

7 May: Simultaneous police raids in the southeastern Urfa province led to at least 14 detentions, including members and executives of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party .


PRISON CONDITIONS

7 May: Kütahya T Type Prison continues to have water cuts due to lack of water supply to the prison building, and prisoners have to meet their needs with water from the canteen due to water cuts. An MP also announced the situation in the parliamentary chamber.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT

6 May: Pro-Palestinian youth group members, who were detained aftermath of Labor Day celebrations in İstanbul, allege mistreatment in police custody.


8 May: A person named T. K. who was waiting at a bus stop in Çankaya district of Ankara, was detained through physical violence by police officers who were checking his identity card, and that physical and verbal violence continued after detention.


10 May: According to Human Rights Association (IHD), Administrative and Monitoring Boards in prisons force prisoners to ‘’regret‘’ and at least 384 prisoners' release was postponed by the decision of Administrative and Monitoring Boards between 2021 and 2023.


12 May: 4 people were stopped at a vehicle checkpoint in Küçükçemece district of Istanbul and were subjected to physical violence of the police officers.


TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION

10 May: A Turkish journalist who is currently living in exile in South Africa was subjected to harassment and physical intervention by the Turkish embassy and security officials while he was covering an event on Palestine in the South African city of Johannesburg on Friday.


Türkmen Terzi

WOMEN’S RIGHTS

7 May: Fifty-seven women were murdered by men in Turkey in March and April, and 34 more died under suspicious circumstances.

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