Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 46


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 70 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.

May 3: Abdulvahit Tuncay, a former police officer who was dismissed from public service in the aftermath of a coup attempt in 2016 and was subsequently jailed, died of cancer after his belated release from prison.

Abdulvahit Tuncay


No news has emerged of Yusuf Bilge Tunç and Hüseyin Galip Küçüközyiğit, former public sector workers who were sacked from their jobs by decree-laws during the 2016-2018 state of emergency and who were reported missing respectively as of August 6, 2019 and December 29, 2020, in what appear to be the latest cases in a string of suspected enforced disappearance of government critics since 2016.


May 3: The gendarmes in Rize detained one person protesting against the construction of a stone quarry.

May 6: The police in İstanbul briefly detained four people protesting the construction of a stone quarry in a natural area.


May 3: A quarterly report found that 12 journalists were attacked and a radio presenter were killed in the first quarter of 2021.

May 3: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to seven tweets posted by MP Ahmet Şık about bribery allegations involving a former presidential aide.

May 4: A Mersin court sentenced journalist İsmail Çoban to two years in prison for allegedly smuggling newspaper clippings into his prison ward.

May 4: The police in Ağrı briefly detained two minors for allegedly writing things in a school courtyard.

May 4: The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey violated the rights of journalist Banu Güven by imposing a blackout on information about a parliamentary inquiry into graft allegations against four former government ministers.

Banu Güven

May 5: Turkey marked the highest number of threats and attacks against female journalists in the world in the first quarter of 2021, with at least 114 documented cases of legal harassment, detentions and attacks in the field across the country, according to a report released by the Coalition for Women in Journalism.

May 6: The police briefly detained Syrian refugee Munip Ali on the charge of inciting hatred among the public, for tweeting criticism of a police raid on a mosque. Immigration authorities launched a procedure for Ali’s deportation.

May 6: One journalist was fired while another resigned in protest at the Habertürk TV after the station was harassed by politicians from the far-right MHP.

May 6: İstanbul prosecutors indicted İlker Başbuğ, a former chief of the Turkish General Staff, seeking up to three years in prison on charges of inciting hatred and enmity among the public, over remarks about a military coup in 1960.

İlker Başbuğ

May 6: A Diyarbakır court ruled to block access to web addresses used by the JinNews and Mezopotamya news agencies.

May 8: The police in Çanakkale briefly detained local left-wing activist Ahmet Saymadi on the charge of insulting the president on social media.


May 4: The police in Adana raided a mosque and detained Alparslan Kuytul, leader of an anti-government religious group, along with dozens of his followers while performing a religious ritual peculiar to the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Alparslan Kuytul


May 9: The son of human rights defender and former MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu said prison officials deemed letters sent to his father to be “risky” and did not share them with him.


May 4: The European Court of Human Rights fined Turkey for violating the freedom of expression of HDP MP Filiz Kerestecioğlu by lifting her parliamentary immunity over her speech at a party meeting.

Filiz Kerestecioğlu


May 7: Reports revealed that Caner Sarmaşık, a conscript, died allegedly by suicide while on guard duty, after he was the target of hate speech by his commander for being a Roma.

Caner Sarmaşık


May 4: A prison administration in Edirne is reportedly denying medication to imprisoned lawyer Aytaç Ünsal.

Aytaç Ünsal

May 5: Halil Şimşek, a dismissed academic arrested over alleged links to the Gülen movement, died in prison of COVID-19, less than three months before he was due to be released on parole.

Halil Şimşek

May 5: A letter sent by an inmate in Ankara said that prison authorities are not delivering the magazines and books that they buy and that their letters are censored.

May 6: A prison administration in Diyarbakır denied treatment to sick inmate Yusuf Boz.

May 8: Muaz Bahadır, a 2-year-old boy who had to stay in prison for 13 months with his mother, still suffers from an eye problem known as esophoria after his treatment was delayed during the imprisonment.

Muaz Bahadır


May 6: Immigration authorities launched deportation procedures for Munip Ali, a Syrian refugee who was briefly detained by the police after he tweeted criticism of a police raid on a mosque.

May 9: The gendarmes in Van tortured five Afghan migrants who entered illegally from Iran. The migrants were deported to Iran.


May 7: The guards at an Ankara prison physically assaulted inmate Mehmet Dersulu.

May 9: The gendarmes in Van tortured five Afghan migrants who entered illegally from Iran. The migrants were deported to Iran.


May 5: A monthly report found that 17 women were murdered by men in April and 12 more died under suspicious circumstances.