August 2023

Turkey Today – 31.08.2023

The ultranationalist Turkish Revenge Brigade (TİT) has threatened HDP member Güngör with death. In a text message sent to Güngör, the TİT said “If you don’t watch your step, your carcass will be found in an alley.” After the messages, someone in a car fired gunshots in the air while passing the bookstore Güngör runs.

Private Sector Teachers’ Union on Aug. 30 wanted to protest low wages and dismissals in colleges and private schools in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. The police prevented teachers from protesting and detained at least 30 of them, some by being handcuffed from behind.

Claiming that issues like alimony, compensation, and divorce could be resolved through the ‘mediation’ system, the Minister of Justice signaled a complete overhaul of the family law.

The earthquake survivors in Dursunlu neighborhood in Defne, Hatay say that there is no water in their neighborhood, and that people are forced to live under unhealthy conditions.

Ankara Mayor Mansur Yavaş from CHP has announced that he will run again for the local elections in 2024.

Turkey Today – 30.08.2023

The lawyers of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, jailed for 30 months incommunicado, are extremely concerned for his welfare and have issued a plea to the CPT to visit him urgently.

The bodyguard of AKP’s Viranşehir district Mayor Salih Ekinci has battered and threatened journalist Mehmet Karakeçeli over his reportings. Karakeçeli noted that the guard said to him, “If you write something about the municipality from now on, you will die.”

70-year-old political prisoner Şakir Turan lost his life in Erzincan prison. He had been sentenced to six years in prison in Turkey for “supporting a terrorist organization”. Diagnosed with throat cancer in prison, Turan lost 35 kilograms in weight within four months.

Turkey has blocked access to the Voice of America’s Turkish website for failing to comply with a licensing regulation.

Turkey Today – 29.08.2023

A military operation has been launched in Mardin’s Omeryan area.

5 people who were detained under torture in Diyarbakır’s Silvan district were referred to the court with the demand of arrest.

The Minister of Education announced that teachers are going to be encouraged to wear white uniforms in the new school year. The President of the Eğitim-Sen Union said that it targets women teachers.

Health Minister Koca responded to criticism for the exclusion of Kurdish in the e-prescription system. “The addition of 5 foreign languages to the e-prescription system is a necessity arising from the international success in healthcare services,” he said.

A lawsuit was filed against doctor Hacı Yusuf Eryazğan for “publicly disseminating misleading information” due to his statements about the shortage in Turkey’s vaccine supply.

Minister of Justice Yılmaz Tunç, who was in his office, did not accept the meeting request of Emine Şenyaşar, who continued the Justice Watch.

Turkey Today – 28.08.2023

The expert report related to the Ebrar housing estate that collapsed in the February 6 earthquakes in Maraş states that the most critical findings could not be determined due to the rapid removal of the debris.

Amedspor fans were detained for not standing up during the singing of Turkey’s national anthem in a match played in Diyarbakır, the team’s hometown.

Celalettin Can was sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison for solidarity with Özgür Gündem newspaper.

İYİ Party chair Meral Akşener has stated that they will consider fielding mayoral candidates against CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş in Istanbul and Ankara “when the day comes.”

İHD İstanbul branch brought up the case of ill prisoner Önder Poyraz in Erzurum prison and argued that he should be released as soon as possible.

Turkey Weekly 21 – 27.08.2023

Turkey Today – 27.08.2023

HDP held its 4th Extraordinary Congress and handed over its activities to the Green Left Party. The decision was made in response to potential risks arising from the closure case against the party. Sultan Özcan and Cahit Kırkazak were elected as the new co-chairs.

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has announced five additional languages to the online prescription service. Kurdish, the second most widely-spoken language in Turkey, is not among the languages. 

As a dispute continues around $1.5 billion the International Chamber of Commerce ordered Turkey to pay Iraq for unauthorised oil exports, Turkey is calling on the KRG to make the payment.

A Quran course instructor in Turkey’s Amasya province battered 20 children for ordering and eating pita from a restaurant without permission. 

Turkey Today – 26.08.2023

Saturday Mothers were prevented again from gathering in Galatasaray Square despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling. 25 people were detained. 

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan. Both parties emphasized the importance of the Black Sea grain corridor.

IYI Party Chair Meral Akşener stated that they will enter the local elections with their own cadres and criticised the alliance system as a “national security deficit”.

IHD Prisons Commission stated that Önder Poyraz, who is kept in Erzurum High Security Prison, is kept in solitary confinement despite being seriously ill and his treatment is prevented. 

Turkey Today – 25.08.2023

Council of Judges and Prosecutors removed the chair and one member of the three-member committee that will hear the appeal phase of the sentence given to İmamoğlu over “insulting the members of the Supreme Election Council (YSK).”

Russian President Putin is expected to hold talks in person with Turkey’s President Erdoğan soon, the Kremlin said today, as Ankara attempts to persuade Moscow to return to the Black Sea grain deal.

The HDP will change its co-chairs at the congress to be held on Aug. 27 after handing over all activities to the Green Left Party against the risk of closure. The party’s new co-chairs will be Sultan Özcan and Cahit Kırkazak.

Turkey Today – 24.08.2023

Four civilians have been killed in a Turkish drone strike in the Biradost region of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

During his visit to Iraq, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan demanded that Baghdad designate the PKK as a terrorist organisation. 

An accident claimed the lives of two Peace Mothers, Adalet Safali and Sosin Akçelik, as they were returning from Van to Hakkari after being summoned for prosecution statements.

Presidency of Religious Affairs reinstated an imam who had been suspended for calling civil armament in the Friday sermon before the presidential elections.

Turkey Today – 22.08.2023

Kurdish musician Emel Çiftçi who is under cancer treatment was arrested in Diyarbakır yesterday morning on the grounds that there was a warrant for her arrest. 

Police brutally detained a man for protesting cost-of-living crisis outside Social Services Ministry building.

President Erdoğan expressed his disapproval of the direct involvement of United Nations peacekeepers in preventing Turkish Cypriots’ roadwork last week. 

As Turkey’s efforts to reinstate the Grain Deal continue, President Erdoğan said that he would meet face-to-face with Russian President Putin in September “if the opportunity arises” and that Foreign Minister Fidan may soon travel to Russia.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) has issued a censorship threat against VOA Türkçe which it had blocked access to in June 2022 due to the website’s failure to apply for a license. RTÜK has given VOA Türkçe a 72-hour deadline to apply for a license. 

Turkey Today – 21.08.2023

Politician Mesut Bağcık, who drew attention to the statements of the secret witness who testified against him in the Kobanê Case, said that he was in prison between the dates mentioned by the witness. 

The reasoned verdict on the acquittal of Selahattin Demirtaş in the case against him for Newroz celebration was issued. In the verdict, it was emphasised that the bans imposed by the governorates on meetings and demonstrations did not abrogate constitutional rights. 

The Interior Ministry has reinstated 14 police chiefs who were discharged from their positions during the former minister’s term. 

Lawyers of İlhan Sami Çomak submit petition today for supervised release of the poet imprisoned for a full 29 years.

Yesterday, the Prisons Commission of the Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) held the 595th of its weekly “F Sit-in” in front of the association building to draw attention to the situation of ill prisoners. 

Turkey Weekly 14 – 20 August 2023

Turkey Today – 20.08.2023

In Adana, two women left an explosive and flammable substance in 3 plastic bottles in the building used by HDP and Green Left Party. The women were caught by party members. A woman who attempted to attack said, “Who are you, the police sent me”. 

Writer Resul Baltacı, who was not released from prison even though the disciplinary penalties justified for the postponement of his execution were lifted by a court decision, was given a disciplinary penalty on the grounds of the photograph he took with his grandchildren. 

Associate Prof. Dr. Mustafa Kemal Coşkun, who was dismissed by a state of emergency decree, was not given a room at the university he returned to after a court decision. Coşkun set up his desk in the garden. 

Turkey Today – 19.08.2023

Saturday Mothers were prevented again from gathering in Galatasaray Square despite the Constitutional Court’s decision, and they were taken into custody with handcuffing behind the back.

Mehmet Çolak, a preacher at the Liberation Church in Malatya (Meletî), Turkey, received death threats by a group identifying themselves as the Turkish Revenge Brigade. 

It is learnt that Gökhan Yıldız, who is a member of the Turkish national hearths, was the person who dismantled the signboard of HDP’s provincial office in Iğdır and threw it into the garbage. 

Following the visit of the US warship USS Mount Whitney to Istanbul on Aug. 18, a second American vessel’s arrival to the country has coincided with Russia’s intensified bombardment of Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

Boğaziçi University’s campus security evacuated students from their club rooms using brute force while riot police surrounded the university. The administration plans to use them as dorm rooms over the accommodation crisis.

Turkey Today – 18.08.2023

While the criminal complaint of Evrensel Newspaper reporter Volkan Pekal, who was beaten by the police during an anti-war demonstration organised by Adana HDP provincial organisation in the garden of their district office, has not been responded for 9 months, an investigation was opened against 44 people who were beaten. 

Yılmaz Özalp, who was taken to intensive care following a heart attack in Şakran Prison, remains in life-threatening condition. 

Nedim Öztürk has been on a hunger strike for 118 days due to the conditions at Sincan High-Security Prison No. 2, in Ankara, where he was transferred to just 11 days before his release. His demand is to be transferred to a prison with more normal conditions.

Sputnik Turkey journalists have launched a strike demanding improved wages and the reinstatement of 24 unionized journalist.

Turkey Today – 17.08.2023

The signboard of HDP provincial building was removed from its place and thrown into rubbish as a result of an attack by a person in Iğdır. 

Although 24 years have passed since the 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Turkey’s north-western Marmara region and killed at least 18,000 people, the traces of the earthquake have still not been erased. 

Journalist Mehmet Şah Oruç, who is being held in Diyarbakır High Security Closed Prison No 1, collapsed due to prison conditions. Oruç, whose fluid levels dropped, was taken back to prison after two days of treatment at the hospital.

The meeting request by Emine Şenyaşar who went to the Ministry of Justice in a wheelchair due to her illness was rejected. 

Fatma Bulut, who had been in custody in Hakkari for 3 days despite her health problems, was hospitalised.

Turkey Today – 16.08.2023

Kurdish politician Gültan Kışanak imprisoned in Kandıra prison faced ill-treatment during her travel to her sister’s funeral with prision guards. After the funeral she was taken to Elazığ prison to stay overnight without any belongings or medication. 

The Higher Education Council (YÖK) in Turkey has intervened in private universities, instructing them not to renew contracts with academics who express oppositional views in the media.

Iğdır University Rector Mehmet Hakkı Alma has paid a visit to the MHP’s Iğdır provincial head to congratulate him on his new appointment. 

The court released provisionally the director and model detained after a fashion shoot at mosque in Ankara. 

Turkey Today – 15.08.2023

Police conducted simultaneous raids on many houses in Hakkari’s Yüksekova and Çukurca districts. At least 30 individuals, including members of the Mothers for Peace, were detained during the raids. 

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu announced that he will run again for the local elections to be held on 31 March 2024. 

Journalist Barış Pehlivan has been re-arrested and taken to Marmara Open Prison today.  

Pro-government newspaper Yenişafak has targeted several doctors by publishing their photographs over their scientific article on gender dysphoria in children and teenagers.

Islamists and nationalists have called on the government to cancel a Christian religious ceremony planned to take place at Trabzon’s Sumela Monastery. 

A prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into a photoshoot held in Ankara’s Kocatepe Mosque over “insulting religious values.” The photoshoot was targeted by Islamists as they said the model wore an “inappropriate dress.”

Turkey Today – 14.08.2023

Following the air operation on the rural area of Söğütlü village in Tatvan, Bitlis, a raid was carried out by soldiers in the village, resulting in the detention of eight villagers. Two villagers are missing, one was tortured, as his photographs revealed.

The German Federation of Journalists (DJV) has issued a warning to journalists in Germany, advising them not to travel to Turkey for work or personal reasons after German MP Gökay Akbulut was detained at Antalya airport. 

Antep AKP Mayor Fatma Şahin has paid a visit to protesting workers in a textile factory and tried to convince them to end their resistance against the firm’s low wage raise policy. She blamed unstoppable inflation for the workers’ situation. 

An investigation has been launched into a sit-in held in Balıkesir’s Edremit district in support of the protests in Akbelen Forest. Those who staged the sit-in were summoned to testify at the police station.  

In the forested areas of Diyarbakır’s Lice district, a fire that has been ongoing for a few days has reignited due to a lack of proper cooling efforts. 

Turkey Weekly 7 – 13 August 2023

Turkey Today – 13.08.2023

Turkish fighter jets shelled the village of Derelok in Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s Duhok province early Sunday morning. 

AKP’s radical Islamist ally HÜDA-PAR chair Zekeriya Yapıcıoğlu has criticized President Erdoğan’s approval of Sweden’s bid to join NATO. “We will do our best to ensure that… Sweden’s NATO membership does not pass through the Parliament,” Yapıcıoğlu said. 

Felicity and Future parties are planning to form a political alliance for the 2024 local elections. Accordingly, the stronger party in an electoral district will be supported by the other party.

The gendarmerie have not allowed the villagers and activists to use their portable toilets during their protest in Akbelen Forest, who resist the cutting of trees for a coal mine in the southern province of Muğla. 

Turkey Today – 12.08.2023

Saturday Mothers were prevented again from gathering in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square. 20 people were taken into custody, including IHD Co-Chair Eren Keskin and other human rights advocates.

Yesterday at least 11 people were detained in house raids in Mersin. 

The indefinite hunger strike launched by Nedim Öztürk in Sincan Prison on 24 April with a request to be transferred to another prison, continues on its 111th day.

In a statement, opposition İYİ Party Spokesperson Kürşad Zorlu has refused government ally MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli’s call for forming an alliance together. “We invite nationalists, patriots and Turkey lovers to the İYİ Party,” Zorlu said.

Turkey Today – 11.08.2023

Today, there was another Turkish drone attack in Sulaymaniyah. 3 people were killed. 

Yesterday, a magnitude 5.3 earthquake jolted Malatya. 23 people were injured due to jumping from height, the health minister announced.

A mining company close to the government has begun cutting trees in a project that will affect an area as large as 685 football fields in Kaz Mountains, while a lawsuit against the project is pending. 

Journalist Melike Çapan canceled her art exhibition “We Will Meet Again: The Memory of Imbros 1964” after it was targeted by the city council. Çapan’s exhibition focuses on the Rum community (Greeks) living on Gökçeada island. 

President Erdoğan has appointed Tamer Karadağlı as the head of the Turkish State Theatres. Karadağlı is an actor that is known to be extremely rude towards female actresses. 

Turkey Today – 10.08.2023

In a Turkish drone strike on a vehicle in Sulaymaniyah / Kurdistan Region of Iraq one person was killed and another seriously injured. 

The Ministry of National Defense announced that six soldiers lost their lives in clashes with the PKK in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. 

The Bitlis 2nd Heavy Penal Court has accepted indictment against Kurdish journalist Mehmet Şah Oruç. The journalist is facing up to 22 years in prison on “terrorism-related” charges based on his news reports and social media posts. 

The governor’s ban of alcohol sales forced the organizers of the Bursa Music festival to cancel the event. 

Turkey Today – 09.08.2023

The countryside of Bilbês village in Beytüşşebap district of Şırnak was bombed by helicopters and warplanes. The curfew imposed by Şırnak Governorate on 29 July in and around the village continues.

In Elazığ prison, a group calling itself the ‘Deep State’ attacked detainees. 8 were injured, 1 of them seriously. 

Syrian President al-Assad has stated that he will not engage in a meeting with President Erdoğan based on the conditions set forth by the latter. The conditions include Turkish soldiers not leaving the Syrian territories.

Addressing the 14th Ambassadors’ Conference in Ankara, Erdoğan declares Turkey the guardian of Islam in the world. 

AKP’s radical Islamist ally HÜDA-PAR has targeted concerts once again, arguing that they have been pushing the youth to “subversion” and causing a “degradation” of moral values. 

The AKP and MHP rejected the proposal to discuss cutting of trees in Akbelen Forest for the expansion of the mine site in the Turkish Parliament. Protester villagers also came to the capital Ankara for the extraordinary parliamentary session.

The Aegean İzmir’s Bergama district municipality, run by the ruling AKP, will hold a tender for the removal of 283 trees from a forested land for a solar power plant to be established on it.

Turkey Today – 08.08.2023

The 28th hearing session of the 2nd session of the Kobani trial was held at the Ankara 22nd Heavy Penal Court in the Sincan Prison Campus. Speaking in today’s hearing, Bircan Yorulmaz, former member of the Central Executive Board of HDP, said “I am standing trial because I am a HDP member. The whole world knows that we are standing trial because we want a just and peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem.” 

Former HDP MP and Diyarbakır Mayor Gülten Kışanak who is imprisoned and standing trial in the Kobani case, lost her sister. She also lost her father and her brother while in prison. 

The Journalists’ Union of Turkey (TGS) protested against Russia-owned Sputnik, which fired 24 journalists following a decision by the union to go to strike at the agency.

London-based Quacquarelli Symonds (QS), one of the world’s leading higher education specialists, has released their global university rankings for the year. No university in Turkey is among the top 100 in the world. 

Turkey Today – 07.08.2023

A grain silos blast in Turkey’s Derince Port has injured at least 12 people. According to initial evaluations, the blast occurred due to wheat dust compression.

President Erdoğan has targeted activists and villagers in Akbelen Forest, who resist the cutting of trees for a coal mine. “We are not interested in environmentalist-looking marginals, we mind our business,”. 

An AKP led district municipality cancelled musician Gökçe’s concert in Afyon province due to “her support to LGBT.” The district mayor himself stalked the musician’s social media accounts to find relevant posts.

Turkey Weekly 6 August 2023

Turkey Today – 06.08.2023

Turkey carried out an airstrike on the countryside of Çinarto village in Çemçemal district in Sulaymaniyah’s countryside.

The Tabqa Water Department announced that 9 water supply stations have completely gone out of service due to the continued confinement of the Euphrates water by Turkey. 

2.5 million people will face danger of death in expected major Istanbul quake, veteran seismologist warns. 

Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek called government-run Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK) head Erhan Çetinkaya and asked him to report “real” inflation figures. 

Turkey Today – 05.08.2023

Despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling, Saturday Mothers were prevented again from gathering in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square. Many people, including IHD Chairperson Eren Keskin, were detained. 

Journalist Merdan Yanardağ, who was arrested for his words about the Imrali isolation, said: “How can it be a crime to demand that the state’s law of execution be applied fairly to everyone?” 

Turkish Airlines (THY) has dismissed its pilot who opposed the new regulation the company is preparing for pilots wanting to pray in the cockpit and for passengers in the aircraft cabin. 

Turkey Today – 04.08.2023

4 SDF fighters lost their lives in a Turkish drone attack in Syria’s Qamislo. 

The bodies of 7 people who lost their lives in the clashes in Şirnak countryside and were reported to be HPG members were brought to the hospital. 

İstanbul’s AKP led Eyüpsultan District Governor’s Office has banned a mobile exhibition organized by CHP, which focuses on recent price hikes. 

A prosecutor has demanded up to three years in prison for Hasan Sivri, one of the first journalists to inform the public about the destruction in Hatay after the Feb. 6 earthquakes, on the charge of “publicly disseminating misleading information.”

Turkey Today – 03.08.2023

The Directorate of Religious Affairs has applied to intervene in the Kobani case in which 108 politicians are standing trial, 18 of them arrested. The directorate requested that Demirtaş and his friends be sentenced. 

Imprisoned former HDP MP Sabahat Tuncel sent the Ministry of Justice the list of at least 14 women prisoners whose release from prison is prevented by the decisions of the prisons’ Administrative Observatory Committees.

A lawsuit has been filed against 6 journalists who met in Kadıköy on April 29 to protest the detention and arrest of Free Press employees.

Journalist Barış Pehlivan, released on probation due to the pandemic following his imprisonment for reporting on a Turkish intelligence officer’s funeral, faces his fifth incarceration after a new lawsuit over an article published in Cumhuriyet newspaper revoked his probation.

Vahdettin Erdemci, who is being held in Konya Ereğli High Security Prison, stated that he was threatened by the chief guard upon reporting the violations he got through to his family. 

Resul Baltacı, who has been imprisoned for 30 years, has been prevented from being released for 11 months on the grounds of disciplinary punishments lifted by court order. 

Turkey Today – 02.08.2023

The military offensive in Bitlis’s Hizan district continues. Although the ban officially ended in the area on July 29, it continues de facto. 

Turkish warplanes bombed the Gare region in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Court reinstates broadcast suspension on TELE1 TV over ‘PKK’ remarks. The outlet has been handed a seven-day blackout penalty. Its editor-in-chief has been arrested since late June for “terror propaganda”, as he mentioned the isolation of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. 

President Erdoğan has replaced 24 provincial police chiefs appointed during former interior minister’s term. 

Media watchdog RTÜK head Ebubekir Şahin has announced that they launched an investigation into Disney+ over the reportings that the platform will not stream its own series about the founder of the country, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Cihan Ülsen, the lawyer of ill prisoner Burhan Barut, who was subjected to “pig-tie” torture in Antalya Type S Closed Prison, stated that they filed a criminal complaint regarding the issue.

The release of Ahmet Zenger, a 30-year-old ill prisoner in Espiye Type L Prison, was postponed for the second time for 6 months because he did not accept the imposition of “regret”. 

Şenyaşar family was not taken to the Ministry of Justice building where they went to meet with the authorities. 

Turkish Red Crescent names former chief Kınık as ‘Goodness and Mercy Ambassador’. Kınık resigned from his post at Kızılay in May after the sale of tents to charity Ahbap after the earthquake. 

Turkey Today – 01.08.2023

There are allegations that soldiers have been deliberately starting forest fires on Mount Cudi in SE Turkey. A video shows the mountain engulfed in flames, as a soldier says, “mission accomplished.”

Izzettin Cin was detained in the house raids carried out by the special movement police in Şırnak’s Beytüşşebap district. It was stated that Cin’s son, for whom an arrest warrant was issued, was not detained because he was not at home. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appoints one woman and 19 men as new rectors to twenty universities. 

The release of Ramazan İldem, a 30-year prisoner held in Bafra Type T Closed Prison, has been delayed for 3 months.

The ban imposed hours before the start of the 2021 event organized by the Mezopotamya Cultural Center violated freedom of expression and freedom of science and arts, according to the court ruling.