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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 54

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 220 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.



July 3: Zeybegül Yılmaz, who has a 5-year-old special needs child, was detained over alleged links to the Gülen movement. Yılmaz’s son, Salih, suffers from developmental problems and needs constant care.


Zeybegül Yılmaz and her son

ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES


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.


July 1: The family of Gülistan Doku, a young Kurdish woman who went missing on January 5, started a sit-in in front of a courthouse in Tunceli.


Bedriye Doku, the mother of Gülistan Doku

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION


June 28: The police in İstanbul briefly detained activist Nursel Tanrıverdi while protesting her summary removal from public service after a coup attempt in 2016.


June 29: The police in Van detained 10 people who participated in protests about the deadly attack on the HDP İzmir office.


June 29: The police in Ankara blocked an LGBT pride march, detaining 20 people.


June 30: The police in Eskişehir intervened in an LGBT pride march, detaining 30 people.


June 30: The police in İstanbul blocked a workers’ protest, detaining two people.


June 30: The Hakkari Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


July 1: A district governor’s office in İstanbul banned an online concert organized by a left-wing music band.


July 1: The Van Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days. The ban has been uninterruptedly in effect since November 2016.


July 4: The police in Ankara detained five people who were handing out flyers about the sixth anniversary of a bomb attack.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


June 28: An İzmir court ruled to block access to a news report about an alleged incident of child abuse involving a local member of the ruling party.


June 29: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist İsmail Çoban to four years, six months in prison on terrorism-related charges.


Journalist İsmail Çoban

June 29: The police in Rize detained a person over remarks on a street interview.


June 29: An İzmir court ruled to block access to news reports about allegations that a local education ministry bureaucrat pressured a school to cancel an event with a poet.


June 30: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist Hakkı Boltan to two years, 17 days in prison on charges of insulting the president and a former prime minister.


Journalist Hakkı Boltan

June 30: Sinan Aygül, a journalist based in Bitlis, turned himself in to serve a prison sentence handed down to him for reporting on an incident of child abuse. Aygül was released on probation the next day.


Journalist Sinan Aygül

July 1: An Ankara court ruled to block access to news reports containing photos showing an alleged money launderer dining together with a high judiciary member.


July 1: A Diyarbakır court ruled to block access to web addresses used by the Etkin news agency, the Kızıl Bayrak newspaper, and the Umut newspaper to publish news.


July 1: Reporters Without Borders condemned the Presidential Directorate for Communications for using press accreditation to increase pressure on the media.


July 2: Prosecutors demanded a prison sentence of up to four years for opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu due to remarks referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as a “so-called” president.


July 2: The police in Bursa briefly detained local journalist İrfan Aydın on charges of insulting the president and the interior minister in comments.


Journalist İrfan Aydın

July 2: Yahya Birinci, a relative of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, was detained after he criticized the ruling party on a live video on Twitter.


July 2: The police in İstanbul briefly detained opera singer Güvenç Dağüstün over a tweet.


Opera singer Güvenç Dağüstün

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


July 1: The Constitutional Court ruled that Turkey violated the rights of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a former lawmaker and a prominent human rights activist who was stripped of his parliamentary status in March and was subsequently jailed.


Leading rights advocate Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu

JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


June 29: The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey had violated the right to liberty and security as well as the right to respect for private and family life and for one’s home of Erdal Tercan, a former Constitutional Court judge who was jailed immediately after a coup attempt in July 2016.


Erdal Tercan

July 1: A parliamentary committee approved a judicial reform package which stipulates that instead of taking victim testimony, tangible evidence will be required in child abuse cases, making it more difficult for abusers to be prosecuted.


KURDISH MINORITY


June 29: A Diyarbakır court sentenced journalist İsmail Çoban to four years, six months in prison on terrorism-related charges. Çoban was formerly an executive at the Kurdish-language Azadiya Welat newspaper.


June 29: The police in Van detained 10 people who participated in protests about the deadly attack on the HDP İzmir office.


July 2: A Diyarbakır court sentenced former district mayor Gülistan Ensarioğlu to six years, three months in prison on terrorism-related charges. Ensarioğlu was previously removed from office by the Interior Ministry.


Gülistan Ensarioğlu

MILITARY OPERATIONS ABROAD


July 1: The United States added Turkey to a list of countries that have been implicated in the use of child soldiers over the past year.


Turkey backed militant groups in Syria were accused by the United States of recruiting child soldiers

OTHER MINORITIES


July 2: YouTube removed the video of a speech by presidential aide Fahrettin Altun due to hate speech against Armenians.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


June 29: Turkey’s Defense Ministry announced that Greek authorities detained and illegally sent back to Turkey 42 irregular migrants, 12 of whom were stripped beaten.


July 3: A report released by a Washington-based human rights group said that Turkey increased renditions, detentions and surveillance of its Uyghur population and is no longer the safe haven it once was for Uyghur refugees.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


June 29: The police in Konya physically attacked local journalist Muhammed Emin Güleç who warned them about wearing face masks.


July 1: Memiş Akbaş, a LGBT man incarcerated in Eskişehir, was raped, beaten and threatened, according to a recent report.


July 1: Plainclothes police officers in İstanbul reportedly forced a man named Barış Çetin into a vehicle, physically assaulted him and coerced him into becoming an informant for the authorities.


July 4: The guards at a Diyarbakır prison physically assaulted inmate Kendal Barut for resisting a strip search during a transfer.


WOMEN’S RIGHTS


July 1: Turkey formally exited the İstanbul Convention, a Council of Europe treaty combating violence against women, in accordance with a presidential decree issued in March.


July 3: A monthly report by a women’s rights group said that 18 women were murdered by men in June and 20 more died under suspicious circumstances.