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TURKEY RIGHTS MONITOR - Issue 205

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST

Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 157 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.


22 May: Turkish police have detained 44 people across the country over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.


24 May: 45 of the suspects were detained as part of operations conducted in 18 provinces across Turkey over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.


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

21 May: Turkish police detained 27 more people who resisted law enforcement in İstanbul on May Day in an attempt to hold a demonstration in central Taksim Square despite a government ban, in the third wave of detentions targeting the demonstrators.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA

20 May: With the decision of the Istanbul 6th Criminal Judicature of Peace, it was ruled that the news articles mentioning MET-GÜN Construction Co. and its owner Metin Güneş, whose name was mentioned in the corruption file, be blocked from access.


20 May: Istanbul 6th Criminal Judgeship of Peace ruled to block access to 4 content that the Freedom of Expression Association had announced that news articles about MET-GÜN Construction Co. were blocked from access.


21 May: Ankara 7th Criminal Judgeship of Peace ruled that the news reports mentioning former Head of Intelligence Department, police chief Koray Öner be blocked from access and deleted.


21 May: Ankara 7th Criminal Judicature of Peace ruled that news reports about lawyer Mustafa Kurtuluş, a founding board member of the Trabzon branch of the Ensar Foundation, receiving a prison sentence for ‘sexual assault by groping’ shortly before his death be blocked from access and deleted.


22 May: The news about businessman Emircan Şahin, who assaulted Defne Samyeli's daughter Derin Talu, was blocked from access with the decision of Istanbul 2nd Criminal Judicature of Peace.


23 May: Journalist and author Bahadır Özgür faces a prison sentence ranging from six months to two years for allegedly insulting the Turkish nation, the Republic of Turkey and state institutions during a speech at a book fair.


Bahadır Özgür

KURDISH MINORITY

22 May: 5 DEM Party members were detained in house raids in Şanlıurfa due to ‘making propaganda for a terrorist organisation’.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

20 May: Nevşehir Mayor Rasim Arı said, ‘We will increase the water bills by 250-300 per cent for asylum seekers. We are raising the wedding fee to 15 thousand liras. If anyone is uncomfortable in this city because of these issues, they can go to another city... I do not give a licence to any foreigner.' and announced that racist and discriminatory practices against refugees will be put into action.


Rasim Arı

TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT

22 May: Şerife Sulukan, a woman suffering from paralysis and epilepsy who is jailed for links to the faith-based Gülen movement, has been awaiting a presidential decision on her release for nearly a year after medical authorities found her unfit to remain in prison.


Şerife Sulukan

23 May: Mustafa Başer, a former judge incarcerated in Ankara, has been denied parole for almost three years despite suffering from cancer.


Mustafa Başer

23 May: Selver Yıldırım, who is imprisoned in Ankara Sincan Women's Prison and has 85% vision loss, was denied a magnifying glass and sunglasses by the prison administration on the grounds of ‘security’.


25 May: Hanife Arslan, an ailing 81-year-old Kurdish woman serving a more than six-year sentence for alleged membership in a terrorist organization, has been denied parole five times despite suffering from several chronic health problems.


Hanife Arslan


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