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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 206

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST

Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 151 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.



30 May: Turkish police have detained 90 people across 17 provinces over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group targeted by the government, Turkey’s interior minister, Ali Yerlikaya, announced on X.


31 May: Asuman Birinci, the wife of Eyüp Birinci, who endured severe torture in police custody resulting in critical injuries, was recently arrested in Antalya on alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, adding to the family’s persecution.


1 June: A Turkish court on Friday arrested Esengül Arslan, a 23-year-old nursing student in İstanbul, for receiving funds sent by her relatives abroad, which authorities have labeled as “terrorist financing,”


Esengül Arslan

ARBITRARY DEPRIVATION OF LIFE

31 May: A man (Ş.D.) who was wounded due to the gunshot of police officer Ö. G. who intervened a fight after Çağlak Festival in Manisa, died in Akhisar Mustafa Kirazoğlu State Hospital where he was hospitalised. It is reported that police officer Ö. G. is detained.


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

29 May: Two indictments drafted separately by Turkish prosecutors seek prison sentences of up to 13-and-a-half years for each of 42 people arrested for defying a government ban to hold a May Day demonstration in central İstanbul.


29 May: During the police intervention against the sit-in protest of the Private Sector Teachers' Union in front of the Ministry of National Education in Ankara, 12 union members and Labour Party (EMEP) Ankara Provincial Chair Rüstem Kahraman, who was there in solidarity, were detained.


30 May: In Istanbul's Arnavutköy İmrahor neighborhood, demolition orders were issued for 35 structures built by the residents, and as the residents protested against the demolition of their homes, police detained 104 protestors.


2 June: Turkish police detain 13 activists protesting against the sale of Azerbaijani crude oil to Israel via Turkey.

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA

27 May: The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) applied 625 sanctions to television and radio broadcasters in 2023, resulting in a total of 81,901,000 Turkish liras (~2.5 million US dollars) in fines.


29 May: A Turkish journalist living in exile, is under investigation by prosecutors in Kayseri following her report on the death of Yahya Tarih, a former combat pilot who was fired under an emergency decree for alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.


KURDISH MINORITY

28 May: Turkish prosecutors have drafted an indictment seeking prison sentences for five former lawmakers from a pro-Kurdish party due to their alleged role in violent protests that erupted in southeastern Turkey over a siege of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014.


29 May: A cafe owner in the southeastern Turkish province of Diyarbakır was detained following a police raid on his café after he was targeted on social media for offering service only in the Kurdish language in his café.


Ramazan Şimşek


29 May: An appeals court in the southeast Turkish province of Gaziantep has upheld prison sentences previously handed down to 58 Kurdish politicians, including former executives of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Democratic Regions’ Party (DBP) on terrorism-related charges.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

31 May: 2 refugees lost their lives and 4 refugees are missing after a rubber boat carrying refugees broke down off the coast of Bodrum district of Muğla.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT

28 June: Abdulkadir Kuday, a Kurdish inmate with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) whose health has been deteriorating, remains imprisoned despite a Council of Forensic Medicine (ATK) report confirming he needs medical care.


28 June: Turkish authorities denied granting parole to Mehmet Parlak, a kidney disease patient whose health has deteriorated due to alleged negligence by the prison administration.


Mehmet Parlak


28 May: Şeyhmus Buran, who was detained in Kızıltepe district of Mardin, was subjected to physical violence and threatened to death in the police car and at Mardin Security Directorate.


29 May: Turkish authorities denied releasing Rukiye Çoygar, an ailing prisoner who is suffering from a fissure in her intestines and requires immediate surgery.


31 May: Turkish authorities denied releasing Yazgül Dural, an inmate suffering from a neurological disorder whose health has deteriorated due to alleged negligence by the prison administration.


Yazgül Dural and her family


31 May: A. Ç. (14, m) who was going home on bicycle was stopped by an armoured vehicle and was handcuffed behind his back and was subjected to physical violence in Şemdinli district of Hakkari. The child who complained to the police officers who subjected him to torture and ill-treatment was called by district governor and was pressured to withdraw his complaint.


WOMEN’S RIGHTS

29 May: Public broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) has assigned a female employee as a subordinate of an executive she has accused of systematic sexual harassment.

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