September 2023

Turkey Weekly 25 Sep- 30 September 2023

Turkey Today – 30.09.2023

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation against Green Left Party MP Ömer Öcalan, who is also Abdullah Öcalan’s nephew, over his statements on the incommunicado detention.

The police prevented again the march of Saturday Mothers in Galatasaray Square and detained many people by using violence.

Ben Cardin, the new chair of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, stated that he intends to review Turkey’s $20 billion F-16 fighter jet deal. He also mentioned that there are various issues beyond Sweden’s NATO membership that would influence the decision to lift the long-standing hold imposed by his predecessor.

CHP’s Antalya Municipality cancelled 60-year-old Golden Orange Film Festival after te culture ministry’s pressures about a political documentry titled ”The Decree (Kanun Hükmü).” The government deemed the movie as ”terrorist propaganda.”

Turkey Today – 29.09.2023

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of Appeals approved the sentence given to 5 people, including Osman Kavala and Can Atalay, in the Gezi Park case, and decided to release Mücella Yapıcı and 2 people.

The National Security Council (NSC) convened its regular meeting in Beştepe. In the statement issued by the NSC General Secretariat, it was observed that the primary threat perception towards all of Turkey’s eastern neighbors was classified as “terrorism.”

The 8th hearing of the trial in which 17 women who participated in the 19th Feminist Night March were accused of “insulting the President” and “violating the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations No. 2911” took place in Istanbul. The court ruled for the acquittal of the 17 women on the grounds of “the absence of the legal elements of the crime.”.

Women detained in Sincan Prison Campus applied to the CPT regarding their rights violations and requested “take action”.

Selver Yıldırım, an ill prisoner held in Sincan Women’s Closed Prison, is at risk of losing her eyes because she is not treated.

It was learned that there is not a single Ezidi in the Kiwex village, where the Şırnak governor said: “they are returning to their villages”.

Yeni Yaşam newspaper employee Azime Bozkurt was detained in Tunceli.

Turkey Today – 28.09.2023

In the case where 4 HDP politicians, including HDP Bursa former Provincial Co-Chairs Aynur Yılmaz and Mehmet Akbaş and journalist Emrah Çaçan were tried again, they were sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison.

Mother Kumriye Tanboğa, who said that her seriously ill prisoner son İsmail Tanboğa in Diyarbakır prison has dropped to 30 kilos, made a call: “Hear his voice before it’s too late.”

Culture Ministry withdraws from Golden Orange Film Festival after documentary on dismissed civil servants re-included in programme. Several feature, documentary and short film directors have withdrawn from the festival after the film was removed from the programme.

An explosion occurred on the fifth floor of a building in the Şirinevler neighborhood of Bahçelievler district in Istanbul, resulting in at least 2 fatalities and 4 people injured, one of them severely. The explosion is believed to have been caused by a natural gas leak.

Turkey Today – 27.09.2023

This morning, Astay Muhammad, 55, a villager from Bokriskan, Pishdar district, was killed in a Turkish drone attack. Another civilian, Mirza Ibrahim, 60, was injured in the same incident.

Soldiers and tanks were shipped with armored vehicles to Hakkari’s Yüksekova district, located on the border of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

Şırnak Governorship announced that 14 regions were declared “Temporary Special Security Zones” for 15 days.

Former HDP MP Selma Irmak was sentenced to 4 years and 2 months in prison on allegations of “insulting the president” and “publicly humiliating the government”.

At least 2 people were detained in house raids in Mardin’s Kızıltepe district. 12 people were detained on the grounds of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” during house raids in Mersin.

The indictment prepared by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu contains charges that include communicating with her colleague journalists.

Turkey Today – 26.09.2023

The witness named with initials H.B.A., who was the sole reason for the detention of Selçuk Mızraklı, the Mayor of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, who has been in prison for four years, was revealed to be a police officer.

Kübra Çoban, who was struck by a bullet in the head during the post-presidential election celebrations in Urfa, passed away while receiving treatment at the hospital.

63-year-old Adle Samur, who was released after being detained for 7 months in Riha, said that she was subjected to strip search and violence.

Turkey refuses release of convict imprisoned for 30 years despite completion of sentence, citing ‘low life energy’.

Turkey Today – 25.09.2023

In the case related to the bomb attack that took place on November 13, 2022, in İstiklal Avenue in Istanbul’s Taksim, resulting in the deaths of 6 people and the injury of 99 others, three defendants were released in the first hearing of the case.

Journalist Oktay Candemir was summoned for questioning due to his post “I do not congratulate the national volleyball team”.

Socialist Youth Associations Federation Central Executive Board member Berfin Polat was arrested on the allegation of “being a member of a terrorist organisation”.

In Şırnak’s Bana village, which is under military blockade, citizens have been prevented from going to their vineyards and gardens for 11 days.

Diyarbakır’s Çınar District Governor launched an investigation against the district mufti for not accompanying him on a visit to a village even though he was on duty during friday prayers.

Turkey Weekly 19 – 22 September 2023

Turkey Today – 22.09.2023

Stating that High Security and Type S prisons are “isolation prisons”, İHD Amed Branch manager Yusuf Erdoğan said: “Building prisons is not a service.”

Visiting quake-hit provinces on the seventh month of the major earthquakes, the Green Left Party (YSP) delegation in Hatay pointed out that the province’s “deprivation of health services and education” forces people to migrate.

Actress Farah Zeynep Abdullah became the subject of a lawsuit once again regarding her tweet about former sergeant Musa Orhan who sexually assaulted a young Kurdish woman and caused her death. Abdullah faces up to 2 years and 4 months in prison.

Law Office of the Oppressed (EHB) published a post on its official social media account and announced that Hacer Elçin, Özgür Tosun, Anıl Kaplan, Hatice Aksu, Özcan Barçın and Arda Özdoğan were detained by the police during home raids in the morning, and a detention order was issued for their client Semiha Şahin.

Religious Affairs Directorate initiated a tender worth 23.2 million Turkish Liras ($118K) for the printing of “gold-gilded” Qurans. In defense, the Directorate stated that “there was no real gold in the content of the books.”

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has indicted Kurdish journalist Sedat Yılmaz, for “being a member of an illegal organization” over ‘lack of banking transactions,’.

Turkey Today – 21.09.2023

Some houses were raided early in the morning in Zorava District of Sur district of Amed. During the raid, which was carried out with a large number of armored vehicles and soldiers, citizens were not allowed to leave their homes, citing the curfew, and entry and exit to the neighborhood was prohibited.

Mehmet Yurtdaş, son of ill prisoner Ali Rıza Yurtdaş, said that his father was held in a cell and “repentance” was imposed. Yurtdaş was detained again in 2010 while he was serving as the provincial chairperson of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Tokat.

It was revealed that the decision to postpone the release of Sermin Demirdağ, a 30-year prisoner in Sincan Women’s Prison, for 6 months was taken before the Administrative and Observation Board meeting.

A Turkish defense ministry official told Reuters that Turkey is employing various methods, including military training and modernization efforts, to support Azerbaijan.

Prosecutors have rejected criminal complaints over the death threats against journalist İsmail Arı. Arı is being threatened with death following his reportings about the Menzil cult.

Turkey Today – 20.09.2023

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a written statement regarding the airstrike on Arbat Airport in Sulaymaniyah / Kurdistan Region of Iraq. While the responsibility for the attack was not directly claimed, the mention of Turkey’s “precautions” taken in Sulaymaniyah and the statement of how “effective” they were raised attention.

The defendant police officers did not attend the first hearing of the case filed against the torture of 14-year-old Y.D. in Licê. While Y.D. was describing police brutality, the defendants’ requests for arrest were rejected.

The objection to the release of 3 people, including a ranger, against whom an investigation was initiated on the grounds that they raped a woman in Mêrdîn, was rejected.

A military operation was launched in the rural area where the plateaus and pastures of Yüksekova’s Tiloran’a Jêr and Tiloran’a Jor villages are located. The road to the plateaus was blocked by armored vehicles.

A court ordered the arrest of a 17-year-old high school student over “making obscene gestures with a photograph of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk,” the founding father of Turkey.

Turkey Today – 19.09.2023

Iraqi Armed Forces Spokesperson Major-General Yahya Resul announced that a combat drone entering Iraqi airspace from the Turkish border had bombed Arbat Airport. Three members of the military unit CTG Kurdistan, affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) were killed and unverified reports suggest that members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were also targeted.

At least 12 people were detained in house raids in Hakkari and Antalya.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has called CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu “rotten” after the latter said that the Turkish military once “threw 15 villagers out of a helicopter”. “The rules of law and democracy should be fully implemented, this rotten person should be stripped of his seat as a member of parliament,” Bahçeli said.

The surroundings of Şırnak’s Bana village, which is under military blockade, have been bombed by helicopters since the morning hours.

Turkey Today – 18.09.2023

A fire broke out in the vineyards and gardens that were combed with heavy weapons in Şırnak’s Basa village, which is under military blockade.

The musical instrument sent to imprisoned journalist Fırat Can Arslan was not given due to the “possibility of organizational communication notes” despite the regulation.

During his visit to the US for the U.N. General Assembly, Turkish President Erdoğan extended an invitation to Tesla CEO Elon Musk to consider Turkey as a prime candidate for the location of Tesla’s forthcoming factory.

Turkey Weekly – 11 – 17 September 2023

Turkey Today – 17.09.2023

An air attack was carried out on Serdeşt Mountain in Shengal with an Armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle belonging to Turkey. It was stated that a vehicle was targeted in the attack.

A military operation was launched in the rural area of Daraqol neighborhood in Diyarbakır’s Lice district.

CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has stated that they could not “adequately explain how (they) would solve the problems of the people” during the election period as a reason for his defeat against President Erdoğan.

Turkey Today – 16.09.2023

President Erdoğan has mentioned that Ankara might consider “parting ways” with the European Union in responding to inquiries regarding the European Parliament report signaling the termination of Turkey’s accession to the EU process.

A proposal submitted in the Kurdish language by YSP MP Gülcan Kaçmaz Sayyiğit was rejected by the Turkish parliament. The motion, aimed at addressing barriers to education in Kurdish, was returned without even being registered.

Turkish police have prevented Saturday Mothers’ gathering in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square despite the Constitutional Court ruling for the 23rd time and detained at least 41 human rights defenders.

On the first anniversary of the murder of Mahsa Jîna Amini by the morality police in Iran, women organized a commemoration in Istanbul. Before the protest, which took place under police blockade, the police waited Iranian women for a while before letting them into the square.

Turkey Today – 15.09.2023

While entry and exit to Bana village in Şirnak, where the military blockade has been continuing for about two months, is prohibited, the villagers are not allowed to water their gardens and graze their animals.

Prisoners Ahmet Göksu and Nusret Kaya, who are held in Aksaray T Type Prison, said that they were not taken to the hospital and their medicines were given late.

With amendments made to its regulation, Diyanet (Directorate of Religious Affairs) will develop education programs for children aged 4-6 and carry out activities related to conversion to Islam both domestically and abroad.

CHP parliamentary group leader Özel announces candidacy for party leadership, criticizing Kılıçdaroğlu’s policies.

Turkey Today – 14.09.2023

The Biden administration imposed sanctions on five Turkish companies and a Turkish national, accusing them of helping Russia evade sanctions and supporting Moscow in its war against Ukraine.

The Ankara First Heavy Penal Court on Sept. 14 ruled that the trial of fugitive defendants of the Sivas Massacre Murat Sonkur, Eren Ceylan, and Murat Karataş to be dropped due to the statute of limitations.

In the case where Yeni Yaşam newspaper employee Rojin Altay was tried, she was sentenced to 1 year and 3 months in prison, citing social media posts.

Court of Cassation member Yüksel Kocaman, who was accused of receiving a villa and a car from arrested crime boss Ayhan Bora Kaplan, denied the allegations and claimed that former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu was being targeted with these “operations.”

Former MP Hüda Kaya,who the court sentenced to pay a fine of 35,000 lira to SADAT for a question she submitted, cites legislative immunity and says that such a decision should not exist in a state of law.

Turkey Today – 13.09.2023

14 regions in Şirnak were declared temporary special security zones and banned for 15 days.

The lawsuit to close the We Will Stop Femicide Platform association was rejected, and women in the courtroom chanted slogans of “We will stop femicide” following the decision.

Lawyer Sezin Uçar, who was beaten in custody, was accused of visiting her arrested client, reminding her client of his right to remain silent, and meeting with those with “criminal records”.

The release of seriously ill prisoner Mehmet Hüseyin Öz was postponed for the 4th time. Lawyer Bülent Duran stated that Öz sometimes fainted 7 times a day and that his life was at risk.

Şener Levent, the Editor-in-Chief of the Avrupa newspaper published in Cyprus, has been sentenced to 11 months and 20 days in prison for insulting the President of Turkey in his article titled “Kurds and Us.”

Handcuffed examination was imposed on journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu and some prisoners held in Sincan Women’s Prison.

Istanbul Municipality shared a video showing a pro-government TV channel sabotaging the city’s escalators in metro stations to depict the municipality as nonfunctional.

Turkey Today – 12.09.2023

President Erdoğan stated CHP MP Tanrıkulu “will be punished before the law for criticizing the most honorable and brave army in the world.” Tanrıkulu said the Turkish military once “threw 15 villagers out of a helicopter,” which was confirmed by the ECHR.

On retrial after his sentence was overturned by the Court of Cassation, imprisoned Diyarbakır Co-Mayor Mızraklı now faces new trial with new witness testimonies.

Stating that they have not been able to retrieve the body of his HPG brother Mercan Erkol, who lost her life in the Şenyayla region, for 6 years, Ercan Erkol said that his sister was not “orphan” and asked for the body to be given.

Mezopotamya Agency Reporter Bilal Güldem is facing harassment for sharing a video on X (Twitter) in which the Quranic Generation Platform in Batman was seen taking children collectively to prayer.

Turkish gendarmerie intervened in the protest of the villagers against the extension of the mine in Akbelen Forest and removed the tents in the area. While the villagers said that new trees would be cut down, the governorship denied these “allegations.”

Education Minister Yusuf Tekin has stated they will continue the practice of interviewing teacher candidates and argued that President Erdoğan “expressed his discomfort with the way the interviews were conducted.” Before the elections, Erdoğan promised to abolish the practice of interviewing civil servant candidates.

A court has acquitted Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu of charges of “publicly insulting a public official” without holding a hearing in a case regarding his remarks on Tuzla Mayor Şadi Yazıcı.

The sole jailed defendant has been released in the case concerning the forced marriage of a 6-year-old girl within a religious community. Community members had obtained a fake bone age report for the girl to legitimize the marriage.

Turkey Today – 11.09.2023

An investigation has been launched into CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu who said that the Turkish military once “threw 15 villagers out of a helicopter” and the incident was confirmed by the ECHR. Tanrıkulu’s remarks drew criticism with CHP Spokesperson Öztrak deeming it “unacceptable.”

Following the G-20 meeting, President Erdoğan expressed significant displeasure regarding the connection made by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration between the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Turkey and Turkey’s endorsement of Sweden’s NATO membership application.

Ill prisoner Şervan Sertkaya, who is being held in Kırşehir Type S Closed Prison, stated in a phone call with his family that he was not referred to the hospital despite vomiting blood.

Stating that the Administrative and Observation Boards forced the prisoners to express their thoughts, ÖHD Riha Branch Co-chair İbrahim Halil Öyke said that the releases were postponed for criminal act reasons.

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has confirmed the candidacy of the mayor of Ankara for next year’s local elections.

Turkey Weekly 4 – 9 September 2023

Turkey Today – 09.09.2023

Turkey’s jihadist proxy forces continue to attack the autonomous region of northern and eastern Syria. Villages in Minbic, Til Temir, Zirgan and Efrîn are affected.

Saturday Mothers were prevented again from gathering in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square. 20 people were detained.

An investigation has been launched against CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu following comments he made on a live television programme.

The Green Left Party (YSP) Women’s Assembly started its 2-day conference, where proposals will be prepared before the party’s grand congress to be held in October.

Turkey Today – 08.09.2023

Murat Dayan, the brother of Muhammet Cengiz Dayan, the alleged “ISIS suicide bombing commander”, stated that Dayan was acquitted and released from the trial in 2016. On 10 October 2015, 103 people were killed in a bomb attack organised by ISIS at Ankara Train Station.

Political prisoners Mizgin Kayıtbey, Lale Kabişen and Nazlıcan Barışer were beaten by male wardens in Patnos L Type Closed Prison.

Lawyers from the Union of Turkish Bar Associations and 55 bar associations demonstrate in front of the Constitutional Court for their colleague and MP Can Atalay, demanding implementation of the provisions of the Constitution and his immediate release.

Aksaray Governor Mehmet Ali Kumbuzoğlu has stated that “God wanted to take her with him” after the body of 3-month-old baby Asel was found dead, who was lost after a flood swept through the Central Anatolian province.

Top religious body Diyanet has filed a criminal complaint against the ruling AKP’s Central Decision and Executive Board member Metin Külünk. The move came after Külünk claimed that Diyanet head Ali Erbaş was aiding PKK-affiliated companies and recruiting “FETÖ” members.

Ali Pourasani, an Iranian theater player who had fled to Turkey following his detention in Iran during the mass protests over the killing of Jîna Mahsa.

Turkey Today – 07.09.2023

The European Commission and Turkey signed a contract providing 781 million euros from a EU fund for a social security network aimed at the most vulnerable refugees. This marks the largest EU contract ever signed between Ankara and Brussels for refugees.

The Ministry of Defense acknowledged the event on March 11 involving the torture of eight refugees in Hatay, resulting in the death of two of them, after they entered Turkey through the border, announced YSP Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, based on the response he has been given to the parliamentary question.

The co-mayors of HDP in Ağrı’s Patnos district, Müşerref Geçer and Emrah Kılıç, along with the Human Resources Manager of the municipality, Uğur Laçin, were released yesterday after three months of detention.

The former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has been sentenced to pay 40,000 lira in compensation to Kılıçdaroğlu in the defamation case.

Media watchdog RTÜK has decided that the promotion video of an anti-LGBTI+ rally, organized by Istanbul Family Foundation, will be broadcast with the label of “public service announcement” on television channels.

Turkey Today – 06.09.2023

President Erdoğan has argued that there are price gaps for the same products in different service providers, indicating that the cost of living crisis “is not economic but psychological.”

A court has sentenced a police officer to three years in prison over “death by negligence” for killing a man with an armored vehicle in Diyarbakır province in 2019. However, the court converted the officer’s sentence into a fine of 21,200 liras.

President Erdoğan has pardoned another perpetrator of the 1993 Sivas massacre. Erdoğan’s decision was published in the official gazette on Wednesday. Hayrettin Gül’s life sentence has been lifted due to “permanent illness”.

İYİ (Good) Party chair Meral Akşener has stated that they will field mayoral candidates in Istanbul and Ankara metropolitan municipalities and added that they take the risk of losing both municipalities to the ruling AKP.

Turkey Today – 05.09.2023

A lawsuit has been filed against women politicians Ayla Akat Ata, Ayşe Yağcı, Dilek Yağlı, Meryem Adıbelli, and Pervin Oduncu, who are currently detained in the Kobanî trial, on charges of “producing ethyl alcohol” requesting imprisonment of one to three years.

The Diyarbakır Bar Association applied to the Ministry of Justice to make amendments to the Forensic Medicine Institution Regulation to ensure that the remains of the bodies of those who have lost their lives in conflict will be delivered showing respect for the dead.

Although soldiers tortured villagers in Licê district of Amed and shared the video on virtual media, Minister of National Defence Yaşar Güler denied the allegations.

ESP Co-Chair Özlem Gümüştaş and lawyer Sezin Uçar were detained at the Istanbul Courthouse where they went to testify.

5 people were detained in house raids in Diyarbakır.

Kurdish author Abdulmenaf Osman was released from prison on Sunday after 30 years behind bars. Osmans’s lawyer, Halil Coşkun, says, “They told us that they would take him to the repatriation center in İzmir, but at night he was taken to Edirne.”

Turkey Today – 04.09.2023

Meeting with Russian President Putin in Sochi, President Erdoğan has stated that it would soon be possible to revive the grain deal.

The government-appointed trustee mayor of Cizre in Turkey has repurposed a historic cultural centre, originally used to preserve Kurdish oral storytelling, as a centre for the Turkish National Education Directorate.

The court referred to ‘neighborhood’ and lifted the restraining order in the case of the racial harassment and attack against the family of bianet editor Ruken Tuncel.

Yesterday five people were detained in house raids in İstanbul’s Bağcılar district.

Islamists and pro-government figures continue to target and attack one of the star players of the Turkish women’s volleyball team, Ebrar Karakurt, over her sexual identity.

Turkey weekly 28 Aug – 3 Sep 2023

Turkey Today – 03.09.2023

YSP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has questioned the high incidence of armoured vehicle accidents in Kurdish cities as a 12-year-old remains in hospital.

It is stated that village guard Seyhan Kaya, after beating 3 children between the ages of 11 and 15, shot at the house of the family with a long barreled gun.

Abdulmenaf Osman, released after spending 30 years and 6 months in prison, has been taken to a gendarme station for deportation to Syria, although his family lives in Turkey.

Hulki Güneş, who has been in prison for 32 years, is not being released on the grounds of “disciplinary” penalties that were lifted by a court decision.

Turkey Today – 02.09.2023

Turkish police have once again prevented Saturday Mothers’ vigil in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square and detained at least 32 human rights defenders.

President Erdoğan has stated that the ruling AKP “will restart initiatives” to prepare a new constitution with the opening of the Parliament in October.

Peace Mother Muhlise Karagüzel, who had three heart attacks in prison and was held alone, is not released despite the ATK’s report that she is 90 percent disabled and “cannot stay in prison”.

Turkey Today – 01.09.2023

The remains of HPG fighter Yılmaz Uzun who lost his life in an airstrike in Siirt in 2020 along with five others, were delivered to his family in a box.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met his Russian counterpart in Moskow. Both discussed the revival of the Ukraine grain corridor agreement. Erdoğan and Putin will meet on 4 September.

Two people were executed in an abandoned house in a village in Van province, which remained under curfew until night and under military siege until this afternoon.

Boğaziçi University Rectorate has initiated a disciplinary investigation against the faculty members who participated in the 15-minute silent protest of President Erdoğan’s appointment of Melih Bulu as rector.