Search

Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 24

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


December 1: İstanbul prosecutors rejected a request for paralyzed prisoner Abdullah Turan’s release, in disregard of an official medical report which found him unfit to remain behind bars.


ARBITRARY DEPRIVATION OF LIFE


December 1: Security forces in Hakkari shot dead 16-year-old Özcan Erbaş. The local Governor’s Office said the victim was hit by a “warning shot.”


16-year-old Özcan Erbaş

ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES


November 30: Bahtiyar Fırat, a Kurdish man who went missing upon arrival in İstanbul in October turned up in custody in an İstanbul police station after 45 days of disappearance. Family members reported seeing marks of torture on Fırat during their meeting.


Bahtiyar Fırat resurfaced in police custody 45 days after disappearing upon arrival in İstanbul

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY


December 2: The Hakkari Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


December 3: A fine amounting to TL 140,000 (€ 15,000) was imposed on 45 HDP politicians and supporters for violating social distancing rules during a demonstration held to protest the arrest of local HDP politicians in Osmaniye.


December 3: The Van Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


December 4: A Bitlis court sentenced Kurdish writer Gulgeş Deryaspi to 6 years, 3 months in prison for alleged membership in a terrorist organization, over her participation in protest marches and demonstrations.


Gulgeş Deryaspi was sentenced to imprisonment on account of her participation in demonstrations

FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


November 30: The International Press Institute published a report which found that at least 130 hearings involving journalists as defendants were held and 22 journalists had been arrested in 2020 as of November, while 30 new investigations or lawsuits were filed against journalists in the first eight months of 2020.


November 30: Ankara prosecutors launched an investigation into CHP MP Ali Mahir Başarır over remarks on a TV show criticizing Turkey’s sale of a military tank factory to Qatar.


November 30: Authorities banned a book by Austrian writer Christine Nöstlinger titled “Die Ilse ist Weg” (The Ilse is gone) on the grounds that it promotes immorality.


December 1: A German citizen was detained in Turkey at the beginning of November and is now prohibited from leaving the country pending a court date for allegedly insulting the Turkish state.


December 1: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist Velat Öztekin to 1 year, 6 months, 22 days in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda. Öztekin is a former employee of the now-closed Kurdish-language Azadiya Welat newspaper.


Azadiya Welat reporter Velat Öztekin was sentenced to imprisonment on terror charges

December 1: Nilüfer Aydan, a 80-year-old actress appeared at her first hearing before an İstanbul court for a case in which she is facing more than eight years in prison on charges of insulting the president.


December 1: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to news articles about the resignation of former Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, citing violation of personal rights.


December 2: The Constitutional Court ruled that no rights violation took place in the re-imprisonment of journalist and author Ahmet Altan, after reviewing his individual application. Altan has been held behind bars on account of his publications since September 2016 and his application at the European Court of Human Rights has been pending before the Strasbourg court since January 2017.


Journalist and author Ahmet Altan behind bars since September 2016

December 2: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu to 1 year, 3 months in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda, over a report featuring the picture of a Kurdish militant in Syria.


December 2: An İstanbul court ruled to sentence university students Roza Kahya and Pelin Şahin to 1 year in prison and 10 months in prison respectively on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda, for hanging a banner in the university campus protesting Turkey’s military incursion into northwestern Syria.


December 2: An İstanbul court ruled to acquit journalist Ender İmrek of insult charges which he faced over an article he wrote about First Lady Emine Erdoğan’s luxury handbag.


December 2: Taylan Kulaçoğlu, a popular anti-government Twitter was released from jail. Kulaçoğlu was arrested in May after being targeted by pro-government media circles.


December 2: Media regulator RTÜK imposed an administrative fine and a broadcast ban of five episodes against a program by the Habertürk TV over the remarks of Ali Mahir Başarır criticizing Turkey’s sale of a military tank factory to Qatar.


December 2: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to a column by journalist Yalçın Bayer and blog entries, citing violation of personal rights.


December 2: A Malatya court ruled to block access to a news story by the BirGün newspaper about university executives, citing violation of personal rights.


December 3: The authorities imposed fines for a second time, this time TL 30 million (€ 3.15 million) each on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Periscope and TikTok for failing to comply with a new social media law that tightens control over social media by requiring platforms to name a representative in Turkey. If the companies continue to refuse to comply, private businesses and individuals in Turkey will be prohibited in January from giving ads to them. In addition, the authorities will be able to reduce the platforms’ Internet bandwidth by as much as 90 percent in the following months. Online streaming platform Netflix announced that it would open an office in İstanbul by the second half of 2021.


December 3: The police in Muğla detained Kasım Çağlı, a local leftist labor union executive, for allegedly insulting the president on social media.


December 3: An Ankara court ordered CHP MP Özgür Özel to pay TL 15,000 (€ 1,580) in damages to Defense Minister Hulusi Akar for insulting him, over his remarks against Akar during a parliamentary session.


December 4: The police in Adana detained three individuals for allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda on social media.


December 4: İstanbul prosecutors indicted comedians Pınar Fidan and Özgür Tosun over remarks in a stand-up show, demanding the comedians’ imprisonment.


December 4: A Diyarbakır court ruled to block access to the new URL of the Jinnews website.


December 4: An Antalya court ruled to block access to the Gazete Yolculuk newspaper’s online edition.


December 5: The police in İstanbul detained two Russian journalists on charges of unauthorized filming of a drone manufacturing facility.


December 5: The police in İzmir detained local labor union executive Ünal Kaymak over his social media comments.


HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


December 1: An İstanbul appeals court ruled to uphold the prison sentences previously handed down to human rights defenders Taner Kılıç, Günal Kurşun, İdil Eser and Özlem Dalkıran on terrorism-related charges.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


December 2: The Constitutional Court ruled that no rights violation took place in the re-imprisonment of journalist and author Ahmet Altan, after reviewing his individual application. Altan has been held behind bars on account of his publications since September 2016 and his application at the European Court of Human Rights has been pending before the Strasbourg court since January 2017.


December 3: The Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) expelled 13 judges and prosecutors from the legal profession over alleged links to the Gülen movement.


KURDISH MINORITY


November 30: Guards in a Kocaeli prison raided the wards of Kurdish politicians after they launched a hunger strike to protest prison conditions, confiscating their books, notes and pens.


December 1: The police in Şırnak detained 20 local Kurdish politician, including Berivan Kutlu, the former district co-mayor of Cizre who was ousted by the Interior Ministry and local HDP executive Sekvan Kılınç.


December 1: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist Velat Öztekin to 1 year, 6 months, 22 days in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda. Öztekin is a former employee of the now-closed Kurdish-language Azadiya Welat newspaper.


December 1: The police in Diyarbakır detained local HDP officials Emine Kaya, Resul Sadak and Suna Güneş.


December 1: The police in Denizli briefly detained five local HDP politicians and activists.


December 2: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu to 1 year, 3 months in prison on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda, over a report featuring the picture of a Kurdish militant in Syria.


December 2: An İstanbul court ruled to arrest Şişli deputy mayor Cihan Yavuz who was detained on Oct. 26 as part of an investigation into Kurdish political groups.


December 2: The Interior Ministry removed from office three members of the Şırnak city council who were detained on Dec. 1.


December 3: A fine amounting to TL 140.000 (€ 15.000) was imposed on 45 HDP politicians and supporters for violating social distancing rules during a demonstration held to protest the arrest of local HDP politicians in Osmaniye.


December 4: A Bitlis court sentenced Kurdish writer Gulgeş Deryaspi to 6 years, 3 months in prison for alleged membership in a terrorist organization, over her participation in protest marches and demonstrations.


December 4: A Diyarbakır court ruled to block access to the new URL of the Jinnews website.


MISTREATMENT OF CITIZENS ABROAD


December 2: German authorities have taken action to deport Mustafa Kaşka, a Turkish asylum seeker who faces an arrest warrant in Turkey over his links to the Gülen movement.


OTHER MINORITIES


December 2: The police in İstanbul detained nine trans women and sealed off their buildings, citing prostitution and violation of Covid-19 measures.


PRISON CONDITIONS


November 30: Guards in a Kocaeli prison raided the wards of Kurdish politicians after they launched a hunger strike to protest prison conditions, confiscating their books, notes and pens.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


December 1: The municipal police in İstanbul used excessive force against a minor while confiscating his portable sale counter. In a statement to the press afterwards, the underage individual said that one officer choked him during the incident.


December 4: The guards in a Diyarbakır prison tortured prisoner Mehmet Sıdık Meşe and threatened him with death not to reveal the torture.


December 4: The guards in a Rize prison battered prisoner Serhat Karsu and confiscated his belongings.


December 6: Video footage circulating on Turkish social media showed a shop owner being beaten by the police after arguing over a fine.


WOMEN’S RIGHTS


December 2: A monthly report by a women’s rights groups found that 29 women in Turkey were victims of fatal domestic violence in November while Bianet’s monitoring report put the number at 31.

ABOUT US

OUR WORK

Subscribe to our newsletter

+32 494 32 45 50

Follow us on social media

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn

OTHERS AISBL | BELGIUM