Search

Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 4

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


July 14: Turkey’s Constitutional Court defied a European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling which found the pre-trial detention of a former judge to be in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.


FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY


July 14: A press briefing organized by the pro-Kurdish HDP in Ankara was blocked by the police who briefly detained HDP member Veli Saçılık.


July 14: The police intervened against a group marching towards Ankara from İstanbul to raise the demands of imprisoned lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal who are on a hunger strike. The convicted lawyers have launched the hunger strike to demand fair trial.


Jailed lawyers Aytaç Ünsal and Ebru Timtik who have been on a hunger strike for more than five months

July 17-18: The police intervened in gatherings in Batman, Tunceli and Şırnak against the sexual assault against an underage girl by a military officer, briefly detaining several people.


July 20: The police intervened against several gatherings in commemoration of the 33 victims of a suicide bomb attack in Urfa in 2015.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


July 13: The head of Turkey’s official media watchdog signaled censorship on an episode of Netflix series The Protector that featured two women kissing.


July 15: A man was detained by police after allegedly insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammed on social media.


July 15: Prosecutors launched an investigation into Nurcan Kaya, a columnist for the Artı Gerçek news website, for alleged terrorist propaganda over her social media postings.


July 15: A Gaziantep court decided to block access to news reports about a worker who allegedly concealed the result of his Covid-19 test out of fear that he might be fired from the pasta factory where he is working.


July 16: An İstanbul court sentenced Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel to 2 years, 9 months, 22 days in prison on charges of “disseminating terrorist propaganda.” Yücel had returned to Germany when he was released in February 2018 after a year of pre-trial detention.


Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel was sentenced to 2 years, 9 months in prison on terrorism-related charges

July 16: Turkish courts delivered two separate rulings during the week, ordering main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to pay President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his close circle a total of $81,000 in damages for raising allegations back in 2017 that the group had transferred large sums of money to an offshore company based in the Isle of Man.


July 17: An İstanbul court ruled to arrest Melek Çetinkaya, the mother of a former military cadet sentenced to life in prison on coup-related charges, over her remarks on a TV show claiming her son is innocent. Çetinkaya is charged with “disseminating terrorist propaganda.”


Melek Çetinkaya, the mother of a jailed former cadet, was arrested after giving an interview to a TV channel

July 17: Turkish parliament moved to set up a new committee to “regulate online content” after President Erdoğan’s remarks on “entirely banning or regulating social media.”


July 18: Journalist Cüneyt Özdemir claimed that talks between the Turkish government and Netflix broke down as the two sides were unable to reach an agreement over the censorship of homosexuality. Özdemir further claimed that Netflix halted production of series in Turkey and could leave the country. Netflix denied the reports that it is leaving Turkey while remaining silent on censorship allegations.


July 19: A Turkish court sentenced journalist Mehmet Baransu to 19 years, 6 months in prison on charges of espionage and having links to terrorism.


Journalist Mehmet Baransu who was imprisoned on account of his reporting

JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE


July 17: A Turkish court decided on non-prosecution of a case involving the suspicious death of an 11-year-old girl despite her father’s allegation of a coverup by a senior member of Turkey’s ruling party.


11-year-old Rabia Naz who was found dead near her home under suspicious circumstances

KURDISH MINORITY


July 13: The police detained Betül Yaşar, the co-mayor of the Diyadin municipality in the eastern province of Ağrı, along with three others. A government-appointed trustee replaced Yaşar.


July 14: A government-appointed trustee in the Kurdish-majority province of Van instructed municipal employees to attend coup attempt commemorations on July 15. The failed putsch was a turning point for the crackdown on Kurdish politics after which more than 46 elected Kurdish mayors were removed from office by the Interior Ministry and replaced with pro-government appointees.


July 14: The police detained 33 people in Gaziantep and a number of others in Diyarbakır, including local Kurdish politicians and local journalists working for pro-Kurdish news outlets.


July 15: A Diyarbakır court upheld former Diyarbakır Mayor Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı’s prison sentence for alleged links to terrorism. Mızraklı was the elected mayor of Turkey’s largest Kurdish-majority city until he was ousted by the Interior Ministry in August 2019.


Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı, the former mayor of Diyarbakır who was removed from office by the Interior Ministry

July 17: A military officer who allegedly assaulted a 17-year-old girl in the province of Batman was released by a court a day after his police detention.


OTHER MINORITIES


July 13: Three LGBTI individuals filed criminal complaints against a beach club in İstanbul after they were not allowed inside due to their sexual orientation.


July 16: A photography studio in Kocaeli received threats after shared pictures of a homosexual couple on social media.


PRISON CONDITIONS


July 17: Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejected an appeal from the main opposition CHP to abrogate an early release law that allowed the early release of some 90,000 inmates amid the Covid-19 pandemic while discriminating against political prisoners. The CHP had brought the law to the top court on the grounds that it violated the constitutional right of equality.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


July 13: The death toll from a sunken migrant boat in Lake Van in eastern Turkey reached 50 as rescue teams continued to recover bodies. The boat was reported missing on June 27.


July 16: Human Rights Watch called on Greece to investigate pushbacks at the Turkish-Greek land and sea borders with migrants being forcibly returned to Turkey.


July 18: A Syrian teenager was beaten to death in the northwestern province of Bursa, after defending a Syrian woman who was harassed by a group.


17-year-old Syrian refugee Hamza Ajan beaten to death by four people

TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


July 13: The daughter of a former judge who has been imprisoned since a failed coup in July 2016 revealed on social media that her fa was subjected to torture and ill-treatment at the hands of prison guards.


July 13: A total of 144 incidents of torture and ill-treatment at the hands of authorities were reported in June, according to a monthly rights violations report released by opposition lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu.


July 18: Reports indicated that three people who were detained in İstanbul for allegedly attacking a police vehicle were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in custody. Photos circulated on social media showing the individuals with visible marks of torture.

OTHERS AISBL | BELGIUM