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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 8

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


August 11: Reports revealed that purged academic and resistance figure Nuriye Gülmen was among those detained on August 5 during a police raid on İstanbul’s İdil Culture Center. Gülmen was subsequently arrested by a court, according to a law office.


Nuriye Gülmen, purged academic and activist

August 14: The Constitutional Court rejected a request for the release of jailed lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal who have been on a hunger strike since February to demand fair trial, despite a medical report which found their health condition unfit to stay in prison.


FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY


August 12: Police briefly detained 33 women protesting against government project to pull Turkey out of the İstanbul Convention, the Council of Europe treaty to protect women against domestic violence.


August 12: The governor’s office in Bitlis imposed a curfew in 36 villages until further notice, citing anti-terror operations.


August 13: The governor’s office in Muş imposed a ban on all outdoor gatherings for 15 days.


August 13: The police in İstanbul intervened in a women’s protest, detaining four people.


August 14: The governor’s office in Tunceli imposed a ban on all outdoor gatherings for 15 days.


August 14: An Ankara court ruled to block access to news reports on the Cumhuriyet, Sözcü and Milli Gazete newspapers on a state agency responsible for agricultural loans.


August 15: The governor’s office in Gaziantep imposed a ban on all outdoor gatherings for 15 days.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


August 11: A member of a leftist party in Denizli was detained over his social media posts.


August 12: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to online news reports about a friend of President Erdoğan’s son who won a public tender of more than €30 million.


August 13: Five people were detained in Bursa over their social media posts. One of the detainees were subsequently arrested by a court while four others were released.


August 13: A person in Diyarbakır was detained over his social media posts.


August 14: Turkey’s Interior Ministry released a statement announcing that authorities launched investigations into 6,743 social media users over their posts.


August 14: Turkey’s media regulator RTÜK imposed fines against KRT TV and Radyo Harman over their guests’ comments criticizing the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Syria policy.


August 14: The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) blocked access to Jin News, a pro-Kurdish news outlet.


August 14: The Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) blocked access to the website of Özgürüz Radyo led by exiled journalist Can Dündar.


August 14: The governor’s office in Kırklareli announced that it launched an investigation into a family doctor who spoke to the Cumhuriyet newspaper about the Covid-19 cases in the province, alleging widespread cover-up of test results by private sector to keep their workers at workplace.


HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


August 13: The police in Ankara detained seven activists known for their advocacy for reinstatement of thousands of people purged from public service in the aftermath of a failed coup in July 2016, including Acun Karadağ, Alev Şahin and Nazan Bozkurt.


Activists Acun Karadağ (second from left), Alev Şahin (second from right), Nazan Bozkurt (right)

KURDISH MINORITY


August 11: A total of 14 women were killed by men, two inmates died in prison, and three law enforcement officers were found dead under suspicious circumstances in the Kurdish-majority southeast during the first six months of 2020, according to a report by the Human Rights Association’s (İHD) Diyarbakır branch.


August 15: The police detained two co-chairs of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the provinces of Aydın and Muş.


August 15: The police in Şırnak detained 14 people including HDP executives.


MILITARY OPERATIONS ABROAD


August 14: Turkish forces in northeastern Syria reportedly cut off water from the Kurdish-held city of Hasakah.


August 14: A Turkey-backed armed group in Syria’s Afrin arrested a Christian Kurdish man, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). The man was reportedly accused of apostasy by the rebel faction.


OTHER MINORITIES


August 12: A group of trans women were reportedly assaulted in Antalya.


August 13: Reports said that some graves in an Armenian cemetery in the capital city of Ankara were desecrated, a development that was interpreted as another sign of a growing climate of hostility towards minority groups in the country.


PRISON CONDITIONS


August 15: A report claimed that Turkish police deliberately put a political detainee in a cell with a suspected ISIS suicide bomber in an attempt to coerce the detainee into signing a self-incriminating statement.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


August 16: Greece reportedly pushed back 17 Turkish political asylum seekers in the Aegean Sea, leaving them adrift in Turkey’s territorial waters. The migrants were subsequently detained by Turkish authorities.

OTHERS AISBL | BELGIUM