Search

Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 62

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 76 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.



August 24: A prison administration in İzmir conducting interviews with inmates to assess their eligibility for parole is reportedly asking them personal questions such as whether they “liked” the jailed leader of the outlawed PKK or which prophet they followed.


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.


August 25: Celalettin Yalçın, a member of the HDP, was abducted and subjected to torture by individuals who introduced themselves as “the police” in İstanbul. He was left on a roadside in İstanbul the next day.


Celalettin Yalçın

FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION


August 23: The police in İstanbul briefly detained eight Boğaziçi University students and a journalist for protesting the president’s appointment of a new rector to the university.


August 23: The Mardin Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


August 23: A district governor in Mardin banned a campaign organized by a local medical chamber to promote vaccination against Covid-19, citing a 15-day ban on outdoor gatherings issued by the provincial governor’s office.


August 24: An İstanbul court accepted an indictment that seeks prison sentences for 17 women’s rights activists on charges of insulting the president at an International Women’s Day gathering in March 2021.


August 29: The Hakkari Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


August 23: The Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that retweeting a social media post that had “insulted” a public officer constituted a crime as it “amplified the impact of the insult.”


August 24: İstanbul prosecutors indicted 83-year-old actor Genco Erkal, seeking up to four years, eight months in prison for insulting the president on Twitter.


Genco Erkal

August 24: İstanbul prosecutors indicted writer Yavuz Ekinci due to his social media messages in 2013 and 2014 about the Newroz celebrations in Diyarbakır and the ongoing clashes around the predominantly Kurdish Syrian town of Kobane.


Yavuz Ekinci

August 24: An İstanbul court accepted an indictment that seeks prison sentences for 17 women’s rights activists on charges of insulting the president at an International Women’s Day gathering in March 2021.


August 25: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to news reports about an alleged corruption involving a state-owned bank and a major football club.


August 25: A Diyarbakır court ruled to block access to web addresses used by pro-Kurdish JinNews and Etkin news agency.


August 25: Netflix recast a Turkish drama series in a Spanish setting after Turkey’s Ministry of Culture asked the streaming platform to erase a gay character from the storyline.


August 26: An Artvin court sentenced conscientious objector Şendoğan Yazıcı to 42 months, six days in prison on charges of turning people against military service, insulting the state and the judiciary, and spreading terrorist propaganda, due to his social media messages calling for a resistance against compulsory military service.


Şendoğan Yazıcı

August 26: The Constitutional Court ruled that a prison sentence handed down to journalist Halit Basık over a column that he penned in 2013 violated his rights.


August 27: An opposition MP announced that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has brought legal action on insult charges against 38,581 people during his time in office as president, compared to a total of 1,716 insult cases launched by five presidents before him.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


August 24: A columnist revealed that Mesut Güler, a prosecutor who came to public prominence in 2019 for releasing an assailant who had physically assaulted main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, was appointed to the Supreme Court of Appeals.


August 24: A prison administration in İzmir conducting interviews with inmates to assess their eligibility for parole is reportedly asking them personal questions pertaining to their ideologies or religious beliefs.


KURDISH MINORITY


August 23: An İstanbul court ruled to arrest seven people out of the 25 who were detained on August 20 for allegedly sending money to imprisoned relatives, while releasing 18 others. The detainees had included members and executives of the HDP.


August 23: A court ruled to arrest Serhat Kadırhan, the former co-mayor of Şırnak who was detained on August 20.


August 25: Celalettin Yalçın, a member of the HDP, was abducted and subjected to torture by individuals who introduced themselves as “the police” in İstanbul. He was left on a roadside in İstanbul the next day.


August 27: An Elazığ prison decided to deprive nine inmates, including former pro-Kurdish lawmaker Leyla Güven, of visitation rights for a month for singing in Kurdish.


August 27: A Şırnak court accepted an indictment prepared against local HDP executive Sabuha Akdağ on the charge of provoking hatred and enmity among public, due to a press statement she released on violence against women.


OTHER MINORITIES


August 26: Houses belonging to Alevi families in Adana were marked with a cross and a hateful slur targeting the group.


PRISON CONDITIONS


August 23: MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu announced that Ahmet Dizlek, an inmate with stage four cancer who is incarcerated in a Kocaeli prison, cannot access proper healthcare and has not been taken to a hospital for the past eight months.


August 27: An Elazığ prison decided to deprive nine inmates, including former pro-Kurdish lawmaker Leyla Güven, of visitation rights for a month for singing in Kurdish.


August 27: A Samsun prison denied hospitalization to inmates who refused strip-searches during transfers.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


August 23: Ümit Özdağ, a far-right politician, targeted a shop owned by an Afghan migrant by releasing a photo of the shop on Twitter. The Afghan owner was reportedly forced to change his shop’s name because of the tweet, which came amid heightened anti-migrant sentiment in the country and on the heels of a recent wave of racist attacks in Ankara against Syrian-owned homes and businesses.



August 24: A Syrian war monitor claimed that Turkish gendarmes tortured two young Syrians who were attempting to cross into Turkish territory.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


August 24: A Syrian war monitor claimed that Turkish gendarmes tortured two young Syrians who were attempting to cross into Turkish territory.


August 24: The guards in an Adana prison physically assaulted inmate Mehmet Emin Ado for resisting a strip-search.


August 25: Celalettin Yalçın, a member of the HDP, was abducted and subjected to torture by individuals who introduced themselves as “the police” in İstanbul. He was left on a roadside in İstanbul the next day.


August 25: The Constitutional Court ruled that a forcible body search conducted by the police on a man in January 2017 violated his right to protection from maltreatment.


August 26: A conscript named Mehmet Ali Akşit in a written complaint revealed the details of an incident of torture he was subjected to by his superiors.


August 26: A report jointly prepared by two Turkish human rights organizations revealed that inmates were subjected to strip-searches, insults and battery in Diyarbakır prisons.


August 27: The gendarmes in Diyarbakır tortured eight people during house raids to detain them.


TRANSNATIONAL REPRESSION AND VIOLATIONS


August 23: Turkish air strikes reportedly killed two civilians in northern Iraq.


August 24: A new report released by the Stockholm Center for Freedom detailed the ways in which the Turkish government has abused INTERPOL mechanisms to harass critics abroad.