November 2023

Turkey Today – 30.11.2023

The 7th hearing of the trail filed for the dismissal of the Central Council of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) members was held at Ankara. The court ordered the dismissal of the current council president and members.

Former Diyarbakır Mayor Selçuk Mızraklı from HDP, elected with half a million votes, was sentenced to nine years and four months in prison over terrorism charges in a retrial.

Drawing attention that the Tahir Elçi case was drifting towards impunity Batman Bar Association President Erkan Şenses said: “At the hearing on March 6, the 3 defendant police officers will most likely be acquitted.”

81-year-old Makbule Özer, who was arrested in Van on the allegation of “aiding the organization” and was released last year after her sentence was postponed for one year, will be held in prison again upon ATK’s report; “She may be held in prison”.

Turkey Today – 29.11.2023

The Human Rights Association (İHD) applied to the Ministry of Justice to send a delegation to İmralı Type F High Security Prison. 

In the case regarding the murder of Diyarbakır Bar Association President Tahir Elçi, the court rejected the requests of the lawyers and decided to notify all the documents in the file to the prosecutor’s office in order to prepare its opinion on the merits.

The second hearing of the case filed against Emine Şenyaşar, whose husband and two sons were murdered by the bodyguards and relatives of former AKP MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız was held today. The prosecutor demanded an imprisonment from 3 months to 2 years.

An İzmir court has ruled that calling then-Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu “criminal affairs minister” was within the scope of the right to freedom of expression. 

Turkey Today – 28.11.2023

At least 43 people were detained in house raids in Bitlis and Van. Many houses were also raided by the Aegean Association for Assistance with Families of Prisoners and Convicts (EGE-TUHAYDER) and Jin Art Huner (JINART) in the Konak district of Izmir. 

Diyarbakır Bar Association President Tahir Elçi, who was murdered in Diyarbakır on November 28, 2015, was commemorated at his grave. 

Five students in Eskişehir were arrested on charges of being members of an armed organization. The reason for the charge was their membership in pro-Kurdish youth groups. 

While 3 of the 42 people detained in Istanbul were arrested, 39 people were released on condition of judicial control.

MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli has once again targeted CHP chair Özgür Özel, this time for his remarks referring to the Kurdish issue in Turkey. Bahçeli said Özel’s “Everyone is equal in Turkey, but Kurds are less equal” remark was a “criminal offense.”

Turkey Today – 27.11.2023

The Ministry of Internal Affairs made a statement regarding the house raids and detentions made in many cities. In the statement, it was stated that 98 people were detained in house raids in 18 cities, and it was claimed that the operation was carried out against “those who make propaganda for the organization through social media and PKK/KCK members”.

Prisoners in Turkish prisons started a rotating hunger strike demanding “freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a solution to the Kurdish issue”.

14 regions in Şırnak were declared as “Temporary Special Security Zones”.

Hacı Boğatekin, a local journalist in Adıyaman, has been sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison for an article he penned in 2018 regarding bribery allegations within the judiciary. 

Turkey Weekly 13 – 18 November 2023

Turkey Today – 18.11.2023

Police intervened against the protestors, including HEDEP representatives, gathered in Turkey’s southern province of Mersin for the ‘FreedomMarch’ to demand the lifting of PKK leader AbdullahÖcalan’s isolation and the restoration of his freedom.

Defence Ministry’s 2024 budget, focusing on “defence and security”, has been approved by the parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee. Defence Minister Yaşar Güler announced plans to buy 40 Eurofighter Typhoon jets from the UK and Spain, while efforts to convince Germany are ongoing.

The grave of 12-year-old Kurdish boy Uğur Kaymaz and his father, victims of a 2004 police shooting, has been vandalised for the second time. 

Turkey Today – 17.11.2023

PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has not been heard from in İmralı Prison for 32 months, has been given a new 6-month ban on visit of a lawyer. The content of the decision was not given to lawyers for “security” reasons.

Ruling AKP and MHP MPs have voted down the opposition HEDEP’s parliamentary motion calling for an investigation into Hrant Dink’s murder.

Stating that they experienced injustice once again with the release of Ogün Samast, Rakel Dink said: “We know that those who ordered Dink’s death are walking among us. We have said since day one that darkness must be questioned.”

A court has blocked access to alternative websites Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish upon the request of the media watchdog RTÜK, after it failed to apply for a broadcast license amid censorship concerns. 

Poet-writer Fadıl Öztürk and his wife Berrin Bicek Öztürk were detained in İzmir this morning. 

Turkey Today – 16.11.2023

Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs met to discuss Sweden’s NATO membership bid on Nov. 16 and decided to have further talks before issuing a final decision.

HEDEP Spokesperson Doğan has criticized CHP leader Özel after the latter told Erdoğan that “it is much much more justifiable” to criticize Demirtaş’s unlawful imprisonment rather than “seeking help from Abdullah Öcalan, the murderer of 40,000 people.”

Ahmet Nail Şen, imprisoned in Bartın Closed Prison was prevented from having a phone conversation with his lawyer. The Constitutional Court concluded that the inmate’s right had been violated.

The trial of journalist Furkan Karabay’s case against him for “slander” and “insult” by President Erdoğan’s former lawyer İnal was held in İstanbul. Trial adjourned until February. 

Turkey Today – 15.11.2023

President Erdoğan declared Israel a “terror state” engaged in war crimes and violating international law in Gaza. He repeated his view that Hamas is not a terrorist organization but “a political party that won past elections.”

Ogün Samast, the man convicted of assassinating Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, has been released from prison after serving 16 years behind bars.  

Organized crime organization leader Alaattin Çakıcı published a letter on social media threatening HEDEP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu for criticizing MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli’s remarks about the crisis in the top judiciary. 

HEDEP MPs Pervin Buldan and Sırrı Süreyya Önder met with Turkish Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç regarding human rights violations in the country’s prisons. 

Turkey Today – 14.11.2023

MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli once again targeted the Constitutional Court and said: “The Constitutional Court is the pain of the legal order. It should either be closed or restructured.”

3 people were injured in a Turkish drone attack on a vehicle in Shengal.

Journalist Merdan Yanardağ was accused of insulting the president following a complaint filed by President Erdoğan. İn today’s hearing he was acquitted. 

The case filed against former Diyarbakır Bar Association President Mehmet Emin Aktar due to “targeting people who took part in the fight against terrorism” was heard in Diyarbakır. Aktar, citing a committee change, was excused from attending the hearing. The court accepted his excuse. Trial adjourned until February. 

CHP Istanbul branch started a sit-in protest in front of the Çağlayan Courthouse against the Court of Cassation’s refusal to comply with the Constitutional Court’s decision to release MP Can Atalay from prison. 

During the Ministry of Education budget discussions in the Commission, HEDEP MPs protested the lack of resources for Kurdish and other languages and the removal of lunch for students with banners. 

Turkey Today – 13.11.2023

“Why am I still in prison if my maximum detention period has expired?” asked Gültan Kışanak, the imprisoned former Diyarbakır Co-Mayor in the ongoing 40th hearing session of the Kobanî trial. 

19 AKP district municipalities in Istanbul have switched to the Turkish payment system TROY from international ones for their internal finances in a boycott effort against “Israel supporters.”

A group came to a Starbucks store in Kocaeli’s İzmit district on Nov. 12, and threw the drinks of the people while criticizing their purchase from the coffee chain, claiming the company supports Israel. A group attacked a Starbucks store in Istanbul province with rocks and broke the store windows.

The Confederation of Public Employees’ Trade Unions (KESK) and the Sanatça art group expressed their dismay over the prevention of a concert within the scope of the Cizre Culture and Art Festival by the district governor in Şırnak’s Cizre district. 

Turkey Weekly 6 – 12 November 2023

Turkey Today – 12.11.2023

In the elections held at the 6th Extraordinary Congress of Democratic Regions Party, Çiğdem Kılıçgün Uçar and Keskin Bayındır were elected as the new Co-Chairs.

Ayşe Tanhan, daughter of 68-year-old Cemal Tanhan, who was left in prison after suffering a stroke, said: “They cannot provide treatment because my father’s condition is serious. The doctor told us that he had a ten percent chance of survival.”

A Turkish drone attacked a regime position in the northern Aleppo countryside, severely leaving two soldiers injured.

Turkey Today – 11.11.2023

The Saturday Mothers held their 972nd vigil in Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square today, ending a five-and-a-half-year ban on their constitutionally guaranteed right to protest in the square. 

Mizgin Yalçın, a teacher of the Kurdish language based in Diyarbakır, received numerous insulting and threatening messages on social media after she shared a video in which she mentioned the Kurdish names of provinces.

Turkish Medical Associatio condemned Health Minister Fahrettin Koca’s insinuation about doctors leaving Turkey to earn more money during the Ministry Planning and Budgeting Commission meeting.

Turkey Today – 10.11.2023

Union of Bar Associations marched to the Court of Cassation after the top court of appeals had filed a criminal complaint against Constitutional Court justices. 

President Erdoğan has threw his support behind the Court of Cassation which refused to comply with the Constitutional Court’s ruling regarding the release of jailed MP Atalay. “The Constitutional Court cannot and should not underestimate” the Court of Cassation’s ruling, he said.

Çekdar Ödüngit, who is held in Patnos Type L Closed Prison, said that his wards are raided every day and their belongings are rendered unusable. 

It was stated that the release of 7 prisoners in Konya Ereğli High Security Prison was postponed for 6 months each on the grounds that they did not accept the imposition of “repentance”. 

President Erdoğan has urged “the Muslim world” to pressure Israel for peace in a private meeting with Iranian President İbrahim Reisi.

Media watchdog RTÜK once again imposed a 72-hour limit for the Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish to apply for a publication license for its alternative websites. 

Turkey Today – 09.11.2023

Turkey’s Court of Cassation refused to comply with the Constitutional Court’s jailed MP Atalay ruling and filed a criminal complaint against its justices.

The United States Mission in Turkey issued a safety alert for US citizens in Turkey, citing the ongoing possibility of demonstrations against US foreign policy and boycott calls against US-based businesses.

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said about the Saturday Mothers, who were detained for 29 consecutive weeks for their relatives who disappeared in custody, “What they are experiencing is victimization. We will find a solution as soon as possible.”

The case filed against journalist Barış Terkoğlu due to “insult” started in Istanbul. The journalist and his lawyer requested time for defense. The court accepted the request. Trial adjourned until February. 

The case that led to the arrest of journalist Barış Pehlivan on 15 August on probation was held in İstanbul. Trial adjourned until 16 November. 

Turkey Today – 08.11.2023

The Parliament Speaker stated that the parliament has decided to stop serving certain products in its restaurants due to their support for Israel. Sources reached by Reuters stated that these brands were Coca-Cola and Nestle.

Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk diagnosed with dementia was detained by the police citing an investigation dated 2012. 

A military operation has been launched in many areas in the countryside of Hakkari’s Yüksekova district. 

Left Party executives Buğra Aydoğan and Erdem Şimşek were detained on the grounds of social media posts. 

Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into Artvin’s Yusufeli District Governor Hacı Kerim Meral for not paying the bill at a restaurant because he “did not like” the food. 

The Constitutional Court rejected the application regarding the annulment of the “disinformation law” with a majority vote. 

Turkey Today – 07.11.2023

Former BDP Co-Chair Emine Ayna was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison on the charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization”. Ayna, who was detained in the Kobanê case, did not attend the hearing. 

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Supreme Court of Appeals, which submitted an opinion for the imprisoned MP Can Atalay, argued that Atalay could not benefit from the immunity clause. 

18 people were detained in house raids in Bingöl.

Journalist Semra Çelebi has been acquitted of the charge of “openly disrespecting the state’s sovereignty” due to a tweet about the 2020 Pride March.

Turkey Today – 06.11.2023

3 people were injured in the drone attack on a village of Ranya district in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.

A court released journalist Tolga Şardan from prison only five days after his arrest over reporting on juridical corruption and imposed an international travel ban on him.

A lawsuit was filed against MA reporter Ahmet Kanbal on the grounds of “terrorism propaganda”, citing a news story he posted. In the indictment, a photograph that was not posted was used as justification for the allegation.

The police temporarily detained the Kurdish Amedspor footballer’s mother for not standing during the Turkish national anthem. Amedspor stated that she had health problems and could not physically stand up. 

Turkey Weekly 1 – 5 November

Turkey Today – 05.11.2023

US forces have intercepted an unidentified drone near a base of the Global Coalition against ISIS in northeast Syria. 

CHP voted Özgür Özel as its new chair against current chair Kılıçdaroğlu following the latter’s general and presidential electoral defeat. Özel became the 8th leader of the CHP, ending Kılıçdaroğlu’s 13-year rule.

Journalist bodies have called for a vigil in front of the Constitutional Court on Nov. 8 when the top court will discuss the application for the annulment of the “disinformation law” adopted in December. 

Turkey Today – 04.11.2023

On the seventh anniversary of their imprisonment, international rights groups and the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers are calling for the immediate release of former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.

Families of PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan and other prisoners applied to Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to meet their relatives. 

Police again tried to prevent Saturday Mothers from gathering at Galatasaray Square. 

A court arrested an imam over “insulting Atatürk” after he said in a speech that “Islamic scholars were executed” and the religious values were targeted with the foundation of the Republic.

Turkey Today – 03.11.2023

Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç stated that the Court of Cassation is the final authority to review court decisions and argued that the Constitutional Court “changed the constitution” by overstepping its jurisdiction with its decision to release Atalay.

Drawing attention that the state of emergency has been in force in Colemêrg for 7 years, İHD Branch Co-chair Musa Bor said: “The entire population is under isolation due to the bans.”

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has initiated an investigation into Evrim Kepenek, the editor of women and LGBTI+ news at bianet for “public dissemination of misleading information”. 

Human Rights Watch has called on Turkey to release detained politicians Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.

Turkey Today – 02.11.2023

Hüda Kaya, former İstanbul HDP MP was detained at the airport 10 minutes before her flight was due to depart.

Over 60 MPs from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish HEDEP have called for an immediate end to the absolute incommunicado detention of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan. 

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into the daily BirGün over “disinformation” upon the complaint filed by the owner of Pasifik Construction, Fatih Erdoğan, whose wife is an AKP deputy. 

The retrial of the case involving the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink took place yesterday in Istanbul. The top Turkish appeal court had previously reviewed 62 defendants’ sentences and reversed some on the grounds that they were inadequate. 

Turkey Today – 01.11.2023

2 people, including a child, were injured in Turkey’s ongoing attacks on Northern and Eastern Syria.

Halk TV reporter Dinçer Gökçe was detained by the police. An investigation has been launched against the journalist for the crime of “publicly disseminating misleading information to the public”. 

T24 writer Tolga Şardan was detained within the scope of the investigation initiated by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. 

5 people, including children, were detained in the morning house raids in Şırnak’s Silopi district. 

In Diyarbakır, the Ministry of the Interior did not grant permission for an investigation regarding the criminal complaint made by the Diyarbakır Chamber of Architects at the end of 2021 concerning the trustees of district municipalities in connection with “profit-oriented unauthorized construction.”