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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 25

December 10: On the occasion of World Human Rights Day, Solidarity with OTHERS launched its Mass Detentions Database aimed at demonstrating in detail the scope of mass detentions against people with alleged links to the Gülen movement since 2014 and allowing specific searches about the names of bureaucrats involved in the practice. OTHERS also teamed up with five Europe-based NGOs to publish a joint open letter addressed to the Turkish President about the widespread human rights abuses in Turkey which violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY


December 7: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist Ayşegül Doğan to six years, three months on terrorism charges for attending meetings of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and conducting interviews with DTK members.


Journalist Ayşegül Doğan was sentenced to six years, three months in prison on terrorism charges

December 7: The police in Van violently blocked a protest held by HDP about the sexual harassment allegations in Batman, using excessive force against local journalists covering the event.


December 8: The police in İstanbul blocked a protest held by the HDP, detaining one party member.


December 10: The police in İstanbul detained nine workers protesting their unpaid wages and severance. The police also briefly detained journalist Ufuk Çeri who was covering the protest.


December 10: The police in İstanbul detained five workers protesting the Bimeks company over their unpaid wages and severance.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


December 7: The police detained 27 people over social media posts about the alleged sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl in a southeastern province by 27 men, including public officials.


December 7: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist Ayşegül Doğan to six years, three months on terrorism charges for attending meetings of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and conducting interviews with DTK members.


December 7: A Batman court ruled to block access to several news stories about allegations of sexual harassment of a 15-year-old girl in the city, including by public officials.


December 7: İsmail Demirbaş, a man who was arrested after criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in a street interview in October, was released upon his first hearing.


December 7: İstanbul authorities released two Russian journalists who were detained on Dec. 3 for unauthorized filming of a drone manufacturing facility.


December 8: A court sentenced academic and journalist Vedat Demir to six years, seven months in prison on terrorism charges.


Academic and journalist Vedat Demir was sentenced to six years, seven months in prison on terrorism charges

December 8: An Antalya court sentenced Kristian B., a 63-year-old German citizen who in November was detained over a verbal dispute at the Antalya airport while on vacation in Turkey, to 16 months, 20 days in prison on charges of insulting the president and provoking the public to hatred and enmity.


December 8: An Artvin court ruled to block access to news stories about a charity foundation run by people close to the government.


December 9: Opposition MP Zeynel Emre claimed that the police in İstanbul raided the home of an 80-year-old woman upon the complaints of Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun over her social media commentary.


December 9: The police in Adana detained three people in house raids, for allegedly spreading terrorist propaganda on social media.


December 9: An İstanbul court handed down two separate suspended prison sentences of 15 months each to journalist Tuba Apaydın on terrorism-related charges.


December 10: A court sentenced stage actor Cenk Dost Verdi to 11 months, 20 days in prison for insulting the president.


Stage actor Cenk Dost Verdi was sentenced to 11 months, 20 days in prison for insulting the president

December 10: The police in İstanbul briefly detained journalist Ufuk Çeri while covering a protest held by workers.


December 10: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to news report about municipal corruption allegations in İstanbul during AKP rule in the city.


December 10: An Ankara court ruled to block access to a weekly media censorship roundup compiled by the Susma platform.


December 11: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to tweets and news stories about allegations of domestic violence and corruption against a high judiciary member.


December 11: An Ankara court ruled to block access to tweets and news stories about sexual harassment allegations against a publishing house executive.


December 11: Journalist Aydın Engin filed a lawsuit against the Presidential Directorate of Communications for failing to issue him a press card for over two years.


December 13: Opposition MP Erdan Kılıç said that over 9,500 people in Turkey have been convicted of insulting the president since 2014.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


December 10: The Constitutional Court rejected a request for the release of Abdullah Turan, who is paralyzed from the neck down, despite a medical report deeming him physically unfit to remain in prison.


The Constitutional Court rejected a request for the release of paralyzed prisoner Abdullah Turan

KURDISH MINORITY


December 7: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist Ayşegül Doğan to six years, three months on terrorism charges for attending meetings of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Congress (DTK) and conducting interviews with DTK members.


December 7: The police in Mersin detained local HDP executive Ali Bilen.


December 7: The police in Van violently blocked a protest held by HDP about the sexual harassment allegations in Batman, using excessive force against local journalists covering the event.


December 8: Meryem Adıbelli, a HDP politician in Gaziantep, was detained and arrested as part of an investigation into the Kobani protests of 2014.


December 8: A court sentenced HDP Erzurum provincial executive Ömer Cemal Yazıcıoğlu to 11 months, 20 days in prison on terrorism-related charges.


December 8: The police in İstanbul blocked a protest held by the HDP, detaining one party member.


December 9: The police in Şırnak detained HDP youth council member Ercan Oğuz on terrorism charges. Oğuz was arrested by a court on Dec. 10.


December 10: The Constitutional Court rejected a request for the release of Abdullah Turan, who is paralyzed from the neck down, despite a medical report deeming him physically unfit to remain in prison. Turan was arrested for alleged membership in the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).


December 10: The Interior Ministry removed from office Hamide Turan, a HDP city council member in Ağrı.


December 12: Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the nationalist MHP and a governing partner of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, called on the judiciary to shut down the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).


December 12: The Interior Ministry removed from offive Cemile Altan, a HDP city council member in Siirt, citing her terrorism-related investigation by a court.


OTHER MINORITIES


December 11: Kaos GL, in cooperation with the Kadir Has University, released a report detailing the discriminatory atmosphere against LGBTI people in the workplace.


PRISON CONDITIONS


December 10: A prison administration in Balıkesir launched an investigation into jailed journalist Harun Çümen after he sent a letter describing unsanitary prison conditions.


Imprisoned journalist Harun Çümen had revealed in a letter that his prison ward was invaded by rats

TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


December 7: Selda Karataş, a prisoner in Kocaeli, sent a letter describing torture by gendarmerie officers.


December 7: Amnesty International released a statement decrying lack of effective investigation into torture allegations about two villagers in Van.


December 9: Muhammet Ali Taş, a former cadet serving a life sentence for allegedly participating in an abortive coup in July 2016, was severely beaten by six prison guards.


December 12: Lawyer Aytaç Ünsal was beaten while in police custody, according to a revelation made by his father on social media.


December 13: Nigar Kocabaş revealed that she was sexually harassed by prosecutor İbrahim Keskin during an interrogation in 2016.


WOMEN’S RIGHTS


December 7: The police detained 27 people over social media posts about the alleged sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl in a southeastern province by 27 men, including public officials.


December 11: A series of allegations of sexual harassment in the Turkish literary world emerged, leading to publishing companies to part ways with several authors.

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OTHERS AISBL | BELGIUM