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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 204

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST

Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 562 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.




14 May: Turkey has escalated the mass detention of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, detaining 544 individuals across the country in a new crackdown on the movement.


Victims of Arbitrary Mass Detention

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

15 May: The police intervened the protest organised by Student Collectives in İstiklal Street for Ata Emre Akman, a university student who was killed while working as a motorbike courier in Balıkesir. 11 students were detained.


17 May: The governors of 12 provinces including Diyarbakır, Mardin, Dersim, Bingöl, Bitlis, Kars, and İzmir banned all kinds of demonstrations, meetings, and protests following the Kobanê Trial in which Kurdish politicians were sentenced to imprisonment.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA

14 May: Following a joke made by theatre actor Metin Zakoğlu about Murat Kurum, AKP's candidate for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, 5 of his plays at Atatürk Cultural Centre were cancelled by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.


Metin Zakoğlu


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW

15 May: An İstanbul court has for a third time rejected a request for a retrial for jailed businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala.


KURDISH MINORITY

15 May: Turkish police have detained dozens of people in several provinces across the country, including İstanbul, as part of operations that mainly targeted members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (DEM).


16 May: An Ankara court on Thursday issued a verdict in the long-running Kobani trial and handed down lengthy prison sentences for dozens of Kurdish politicians, including imprisoned leaders Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.


Selahattin Demirtaş


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT

14 May: Turkish prosecutors have dismissed a complaint of torture filed by Aysun Işınkaralar, the former director of a dormitory affiliated with the Gülen movement, who alleges she was tortured (she was hooded, throttled and subjected to electric shocks) by police and neglected by doctors while in custody in 2018.


14 May: Hatice Yıldız, an ailing 75-year-old woman who had been sentenced to four years on charges of “financing a terrorist organization” because she sent money to her jailed daughter and her cellmate, has reportedly been suffering from a declining state of health after falling ill in prison.


15 May: Two teenage girls detained last week in a police operation focused on alleged members of Gülen movement recounted their traumatic experiences during a live broadcast on Tuesday, reporting psychological abuse and rights violations during their time in custody.


Two sisters whose mother and sister were arrested and themselves detained


WOMEN’S RIGHTS

17 May: The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) has removed Betül Nur Yılmaz from the list of FIFA-eligible referees despite the association’s invitation after learning about her pregnancy. Yılmaz is preparing to take the decision to the ECHR, saying it was “sexist and discriminatory.”

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