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Turkey Rights Monitor - Issue 96

ARBITRARY DETENTION AND ARREST


Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of at least 185 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.



April 23: The European Court of Human Rights declined to consider an application filed on behalf of Ali Osman Köse, a jailed 66-year-old cancer patient, on the grounds that he had not exhausted domestic remedies. Köse has been kept in jail despite numerous requests for his release and doctors’ recommendation that he be closely monitored.


Ali Osman Köse

April 23: Nesli Kanat, the wife of 40-year-old sick inmate Hakan Kanat, released a video calling for the immediate release of her husband. Kanat is a former teacher jailed for alleged Gülen links and in October he underwent a major surgery.


Hakan Kanat

ARBITRARY DEPRIVATION OF LIFE


April 18: Mardin prosecutors dismissed an investigation into the killing of a migrant while trying to cross into Turkey from northern Syria in November 2021.


ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES


No news has emerged of Yusuf Bilge Tunç, a former public sector worker who was sacked from his job by a decree-law during the 2016-2018 state of emergency and who was reported missing as of August 6, 2019 in what appears to be one of the latest cases in a string of suspected enforced disappearance of government critics since 2016.


FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND ASSOCIATION


April 18: The police in İstanbul intervened in a demonstration to commemorate a deadly May Day incident in 1977, detaining 26 people, including members of the HDP.


April 19: The police in İstanbul briefly detained a man staging a demonstration in front of a courthouse.


April 19: The police in Antalya detained four people over their participation in demonstrations held in the province.


April 19: The Hakkari Governor’s Office issued a ban on all outdoor gatherings for a period of 15 days.


April 20: The police in İstanbul briefly detained five people staging a demonstration for two prisoners who are on hunger strike.


April 21: The police in Muğla detained eight people for participating in Newroz celebrations in March.


April 21: The police in İstanbul briefly detained two people protesting for prisoners on hunger strike.


April 24: The İstanbul Governor’s Office banned gatherings to mark the Armenian genocide.


FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND MEDIA


April 18: İzmir prosecutors indicted Abdullah Poyraz, the father of HDP employee Deniz Poyraz who was killed in an armed attack at a party office last year, on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda in an interview he gave to the media about the incident.


April 18: Local governors in Ankara banned a planned live broadcast by the pro-opposition Halk TV channel.


April 18: An İstanbul court ruled to block access to a column and a news report about a former chamber of commerce executive who was arrested on drug charges.


April 19: The police in İstanbul detained journalist İbrahim Haskoloğlu after he alleged that a government website containing citizens’ personal information was hacked. Haskoloğlu was arrested pending trial and sent to prison the same day.


Journalist İbrahim Haskoloğlu

April 19: A court sentenced Turkish-Dutch rapper Önder Doğan (pseudonym Murda) to four years, two months in prison for allegedly encouraging drug use in three songs.


Önder Doğan

April 19: An Ankara court ruled to block access to six news reports on allegations implicating a senior presidential aide.


April 20: İstanbul prosecutors demanded up to four years, one month for Ekrem İmamoğlu, the opposition mayor of İstanbul who is standing trial on charges of insulting the members of Turkey’s top election body.


Ekrem İmamoğlu

April 20: An Uşak court ruled to block access to three news reports on a local chief physician’s meeting with a ruling party MP.


April 20: An İstanbul court ruled to acquit journalist Rüstem Batum who stood trial on charges of insulting the president on social media.


April 24: A right-wing politician in Çanakkale threatened with death a local journalist.


FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT


April 22: Airport police in İstanbul barred HDP MP Kemal Bülbül from traveling abroad to attend an event, citing a travel ban on his passport.


Kemal Bülbül

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS


April 19: An Ankara court ruled to acquit Öztürk Türkdoğan, an executive of the Human Rights Association (İHD) who stood trial on terrorism-related charges.


JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE & RULE OF LAW


April 22: A Diyarbakır court ruled that no negligence charges can be leveled against a police officer who ran over a 5-year-old child with an armored vehicle.


KURDISH MINORITY


April 18: İzmir prosecutors indicted Abdullah Poyraz, the father of HDP employee Deniz Poyraz who was killed in an armed attack at a party office last year, on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda in an interview he gave to the media about the incident.


April 18: The police in İstanbul intervened in a demonstration to commemorate a deadly May Day incident in 1977, detaining more than 20 people, including members of the HDP.


April 20: The police in Diyarbakır detained 10 people, including local politicians and members of the HDP.


April 22: The police in Ağrı detained three pro-Kurdish politicians.


April 22: Airport police in İstanbul barred HDP MP Kemal Bülbül from traveling abroad to attend an event, citing a travel ban on his passport.


April 24: Ankara prosecutors ordered the detention of 18 pro-Kurdish politicians in connection with an investigation into 2014 protests in southeastern provinces.


PRISON CONDITIONS


April 20: A Şanlıurfa prison denied political prisoners their right to video call and refused to deliver items that were sent to them.


REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS


April 18: President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that his government is working on plans to ensure the “dignified” return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.


April 18: Mardin prosecutors dismissed an investigation into the killing of a migrant while trying to cross into Turkey from northern Syria in November 2021.


April 18: The authorities in the border province of Van detained more than 100 migrants from Afghanistan.


April 19: The İzmir Bar Association reported that some 100 migrants from Afghanistan were subjected to torture and mistreatment and were forced to sign voluntary return papers at a migrant removal center in İzmir.


TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT


April 18: The guards in a Diyarbakır prison physically assaulted inmate Hasan Aşa who argued with them after he was denied his medication. Aşa’s both arms were broken as a result of the incident.


April 18: Gendarmes in Van physically mistreated two people who were detained while trying to cross into Iran illegally.


April 18: Opposition MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu reported that 281 incidents of torture took place in March, with 51 of them taking place in prisons.


April 19: The İzmir Bar Association reported that some 100 migrants from Afghanistan were subjected to torture and mistreatment and were forced to sign voluntary return papers at a migrant removal center in İzmir.


April 19: The guards in an Antalya prison physically assaulted inmate Süleyman Acun who refused to undergo a strip-search during a prison transfer.


April 19: The guards in a Çorum prison strip-searched inmate Selman Büyüktop during a prison transfer.


April 19: The guards in an İzmir prison physically assaulted inmate Zeki Bayhan who resisted a strip-search during a prison transfer.


April 19: The guards in a Batman prison physically assaulted inmate Alaattin Demir.


April 20: A prison official in Şanlıurfa verbally threatened an inmate.


April 24: The police in İstanbul physically mistreated two people during an ID check.