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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 22

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY


November 16: The Governor’s Office in Hakkari issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


November 18: Tunceli prosecutors launched an investigation into 15 women who held a protest against sexual harassment. The women are investigated for resisting the police who intervened against the protest as well as violating the local governor’s office’s ban on outdoor gatherings.


November 18: The Constitutional Court ruled to annul a legislation banning protest marches on intercity roads on the grounds that it was unconstitutional.


November 19: The police in İstanbul briefly detained a group of workers protesting their layoffs without severance and wage payments.


November 20: The Governor’s Office in Van issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days. The ban has been uninterruptedly in effect since November 2016.


November 21: The police in İstanbul attacked a press briefing held by the HDP, briefly detaining 22 people including HDP İstanbul executives.


November 22: The Governor’s Office in Kocaeli issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 30 days.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


November 16: A Hatay court ruled to block access to several tweets by individual social media users involving a luxury car allegedly used by a local district mayor.


November 17: A court sentenced journalist Ali Engin Demirhan to 1 year, 2 months, 17 days in prison for allegedly insulting the president.


November 17: An İstanbul court rejected an appeal lodged by the Cumhuriyet newspaper against a 28-day advertising ban imposed by the Press Advertising Agency (BİK), the state body responsible for regulating publicly funded advertisements in the media. The ban was imposed over a news report about a presidential aide’s real estate dealings.


November 17: An İstanbul court ruled to acquit journalist Uğur Güç of charges of denigrating state institutions, over a news report.


November 17: A Bursa court ruled to block access to news stories and a blog entry on an alleged mistreatment of students by a local high school executive.


November 18: A Yozgat court ruled to block access to news stories on corruption allegations about a local ruling AKP executive.


November 18: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to news stories about a gold mining company’s alleged links to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.


November 19: An Ankara court ruled to arrest author Nezir Çakan who was detained on Nov. 12 as part of an investigation into a wave of protests in 2014 in predominantly Kurdish cities.


Author Nezir Çakan was arrested on Nov. 19

November 19: Mardin prosecutors indicted journalists Ahmet Kanbal, Mehmet Şah Oruç, Rojda Aydın, Halime Parlak and Nurcan Yalçın over their coverage of protests at the Mardin Municipality after the Interior Ministry ousted the city’s elected mayor.


November 19: An İstanbul court ruled to acquit journalists Uğur Koç, Mustafa Kömüş and İbrahim Aydın who stood trial for allegedly insulting former finance minister Berat Albayrak in a news report.


November 20: A Diyarbakır court ruled to block access to Jinnews website, citing national security reasons.


FREEDOM OF RELIGION


November 20: The police in İstanbul raided an Alevi prayer hall, detaining six people.


HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


November 17: Human Rights Defender and physician Serdar Küni was sentenced to 4 years, 2 months in prison for allegedly treating members of a terrorist organization during a curfew in southeastern Turkey.


Serdar Küni, physician and member of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) who was sentenced to prison

JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


November 17: A Diyarbakır court ruled to acquit a police officer who shot dead a young man named Kemal Kurkut during Newroz celebrations in 2017.


The shooting of Kemal Kurkut by the police during Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakır in 2017

November 18: A Bursa court ruled to acquit Levent Pişkin, the lawyer of imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş. Pişkin stood trial and was briefly detained on terrorism charges for his professional activities as Demirtaş’s lawyer.


November 19: Human Rights Watch and Article 19 released a joint statement, slamming the politicially motivation prosecution of Kurdish opposition politicians.


November 20: The police in southeastern Turkey briefly detained 19 lawyers in early morning raids, as part of an investigation into the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella group of the Kurdish political movement.


KURDISH MINORITY


November 16: A Diyarbakır court ruled to arrest Cemal Özdemir, the former mayor of the Sur district who was removed from office by the Interior Ministry and detained on Nov. 13, on terrorism-related charges.


November 16: Münevver Ceylan, a HDP member in a district city council in Muş, was removed from her position by the Interior Ministry.


November 17: Human Rights Defender and physician Serdar Küni was sentenced to 4 years, 2 months in prison for allegedly treating members of a terrorist organization during a curfew in southeastern Turkey.


November 17: A Diyarbakır court ruled to acquit a police officer who shot dead a young man named Kemal Kurkut during Newroz celebrations in 2017.


November 18: The police in İstanbul detained six members of the HDP.


November 18: Diyarbakır prosecutors demanded between nine to 41 years in prison for Kurdish politicians Sebahat Tuncel, Gültan Kışanak and Leyla Güven on terrorism charges.


November 18: A Bursa court ruled to acquit Levent Pişkin, the lawyer of imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş. Pişkin stood trial and was briefly detained on terrorism charges for his professional activities as Demirtaş’s lawyer.


November 19: Romanian authorities tried to deport three Kurdish asylum seekers from Turkey, including journalist Nuri Akman prosecuted in Turkey on terrorism charges. Their deportation was reportedly postponed at the last minute for unknown reasons.


November 19: An Ankara court ruled to arrest author Nezir Çakan who was detained on Nov. 12 as part of an investigation into a wave of protests in 2014 in predominantly Kurdish cities.


November 19: A Diyarbakır court sentenced local HDP politician Eşref Mamedoğlu to a total of 9 years, 7 months, 15 days in prison on terrorism-related charges.


November 19: A Diyarbakır court sentenced local HDP executive Edip Binbir to 7 years, 6 months in prison on terrorism-related charges.


November 19: Mardin prosecutors indicted journalists Ahmet Kanbal, Mehmet Şah Oruç, Rojda Aydın, Halime Parlak and Nurcan Yalçın over their coverage of protests at the Mardin Municipality after the Interior Ministry ousted the city’s elected mayor.


November 19: Human Rights Watch and Article 19 released a joint statement, slamming the politicially motivation prosecution of Kurdish opposition politicians.


November 20: The police in southeastern Turkey briefly detained 19 lawyers in early morning raids, as part of an investigation into the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), an umbrella group of the Kurdish political movement.


November 20: A Diyarbakır court ruled to block access to Jinnews website, citing national security reasons.


November 20: Reports said that a prison administration in Diyarbakır charged inmates translation fees for letters in Kurdish, which is not required for letters in other languages.


November 21: The police in İstanbul attacked a press briefing held by the HDP, briefly detaining 22 people including HDP İstanbul executives.


November 22: The police in Diyarbakır detained local Kurdish politician İhsan Çapan.


MILITARY OPERATIONS ABROAD


November 17: Turkey’s military reportedly fired mortar shells at predominantly Kurdish settlements around Tel Abyad and Shahba in northern Syria.


November 20: A survey revealed that the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) is recruiting child soldiers.


MISTREATMENT OF CITIZENS ABROAD


November 18: Belgian prosecutors launched an investigation into an alleged email threat made against Flemish-Kurdish politician Zuhal Demir. The threat came after Demir’s recent criticism of Turkey’s Diyanet which runs a vast network of mosques in Europe.


Flemish-Kurdish politician Zuhal Demir received a death threat after criticizing Turkey's Diyanet

November 19: Romanian authorities tried to deport three Kurdish asylum seekers from Turkey, including journalist Nuri Akman prosecuted in Turkey on terrorism charges. Their deportation was reportedly postponed at the last minute for unknown reasons.


November 19: Reports revealed an opinion by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) which found the arrest, detention and forced transfer to Turkey of six Turkish teachers by Kosovar and Turkish state agents in March 2018 to be in violation of international human rights norms and standards.


In March 2018, six Turkish nationals were forcible deported from Kosovo to Turkey

PRISON CONDITIONS


November 19: The Human Rights Association (İHD) announced that 49 prisoners died in 2020 thus far.


November 20: Reports said that a prison administration in Diyarbakır charged inmates translation fees for letters in Kurdish, which is not required for letters in other languages.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


November 16: Reports revealed that three security officials at a provincial immigration authority in eastern Turkey sexually assaulted a woman from Iran in July 2020.


November 17: Lawyers are set to file a case at the UN Human Rights Committee on behalf of a man who was granted asylum in Germany but picked up and deported to Turkey by Greek authorities while searching for his 11-year-old brother in Greece.


November 22: Nasibeh Shemsai, an Iranian activist who has participated in demonstrations in 2018 against the compulsory wearing of the hijab, was briefly detained in İstanbul and she reportedly fears a deportation to Iran where she could face up to 12 years in prison.


November 22: Hemdullah Abduweli, a Uighur scholar legally residing in Turkey was reportedly arrested during a travel to Saudi Arabia and he is being held for a possible deportation to China.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


November 16: Soldiers in the Van province physically assaulted local citizens Lokan Orhan and Mehmet Şakir while taking them into custody.


November 19: The police in Mersin held Osman Alkış lying face downwards with a gun to his head for six hours while searching his house.

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OTHERS AISBL | BELGIUM