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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 56

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 267 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 12: The Forensic Medicine Institution decided that 83-year-old ailing prisoner Mehmet Emin Özkan is fit to stay in prison.


Mehmet Emin Özkan

July 13: Elif Çadırcı, the mother of a 13-month-old baby, was detained over alleged links to the Gülen movement.


Elif Çadırcı

July 15: The Constitutional Court rejected an opposition appeal for a stay of execution of a controversial Covid-19 early release law that excludes political prisoners.


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.


FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION


July 12: The police in İstanbul briefly detained activist Nursel Tanrıverdi who was staging a sit-in to protest the mass purges in the public sector after a coup in 2016.


July 12: The Muş Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


July 14: The police in Şanlıurfa briefly detained Emine Şenyaşar and Ferit Şenyaşar who were staging a sit-in in front of a local courthouse to protest the alleged lack of effective prosecution in the case of a family member who was killed by a local ruling party official.


July 14: The police in İstanbul briefly detained four people who held a protest in front of the Greek consulate to demand the release of their relatives who are jailed in Greece.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


July 13: İstanbul prosecutors indicted former opposition MP Berhan Şimşek for “degrading the state,” over his remarks in a TV program.


Berhan Şimşek

July 14: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to news reports about allegations involving presidential aide Korkmaz Karaca.


July 15: The European Court of Human Rights asked Turkey to submit its defense in the case of 81 academics who were dismissed from their jobs for signing a peace declaration in 2016.


July 15: Turkey ranked second after India in the number of removal requests it made from Twitter for content posted by verified journalists and news outlets in the second half of 2020, according to the company’s Transparency Report.


FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT


July 13: Media reports indicated that two students from Boğaziçi University who were briefly detained in protests against the pro-government rector and released under judicial supervision are now unable to travel abroad to pursue postgraduate education due to a travel ban imposed on them.


July 13: Turkish authorities are barring writers and politicians from the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC), a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, who criticize Ankara’s policies from entering the country.


HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


July 16: Prominent rights advocate Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu returned to his parliamentary seat four months after he was stripped of his parliamentary status based on a conviction over a social media post in 2016.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


July 15: A parliamentary subcommittee approved a bill extending state of emergency rules for three years. The bill extends emergency measures governing the dismissal of civil servants by the government and providing extra pre-detention periods to security authorities for people who are taken into custody as part of terrorism-related investigations.


KURDISH MINORITY


July 13: Gendarmes in Şanlıurfa briefly detained local HDP executive Müslüm Arslan.


July 14: The house of Sezer Öztürk, a HDP district employee in İstanbul, was vandalized with racist slurs spray painted on the walls.


MISTREATMENT OF CITIZENS ABROAD


July 15: Orhan İnandı, a Turkish-Kyrgyz educator who was rendered from Kyrgyzstan by Turkey’s intelligence agency, was abducted by three Kyrgyz men, blindfolded and driven for several hours before he was put on a plane to Turkey, according to new details announced by his lawyer. Ankara prosecutors in an indictment demanded up to 22 years, six months in prison for İnandı on terrorism-related charges.


Orhan İnandı

OTHER MINORITIES


July 14: Mustafa Destici, the leader of a small far-right party, suggested that Turkey remove references to “Greek” and “Armenian” on churches and schools belonging to those communities in the Princes’ Islands in the Sea of Marmara.


PRISON CONDITIONS


July 12: Mustafa Emiroğlu, an inmate held in an Afyon prison, was hospitalized only after his condition worsened 11 days after testing positive for Covid-19.


July 13: Reports revealed that an İzmir prison has been denying hospitalization to sick inmate Mithat Öztürk.


July 17: Ertaş Sofuoğlu, a psychologist imprisoned for alleged links to the Gülen movement, was hospitalized after being diagnosed with Covid-19 on June 28, but authorities have not released information about his condition since.


Ertaş Sofuoğlu

REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


July 12: An İstanbul court arrested Iranian refugee Zohren Momeni for allegedly denigrating the Turkish flag.


July 14: Reports said that an extended family of 16 fleeing from the Taliban-occupied city of Herat in Afghanistan has been stranded at İstanbul Airport for nearly a month and is at risk of deportation despite applying for international protection.


July 16: A group of Turks who sought political asylum in Greece were strip-searched and pushed back by Greek border forces.


July 17: A fact-finding report by the European Parliament has found that the bloc’s border and coast guard agency Frontext failed to protect the rights of people at EU borders, including the Greek-Turkish border.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


July 13: The guards in a Bolu prison physically assaulted inmate Mustafa Özgür Mulla. Prison physicians later refused to document Mulla’s injuries.


July 14: The guards in a Kahramanmaraş prison physically assaulted inmates who joined in a hunger strike.