January 2024

Turkey Weekly 29 – 31 January 2024

Turkey Today – 31.01.2024

Commenting on the US-Mexico border crisis in Texas, Turkish government ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has said “what comes around goes around” while deeming the U.S. “oppressor.”

Vefa Yılmaz, who was transferred to Kavak Type S Closed Prison, stated that he was beaten because he refused to be strip-searched. 

Stating that the revoking Can Atalay’s mandate was a “civilian coup”, his lawyer Kemal Aytaç said: “There is no despair, continue the struggle. We must take to the streets now. The democratic struggle is on the streets.”

Turkey Today – 30.01.2024

Five people, including Didar Gül, a member of the Social Freedom Party and the feminist group Mor Dayanışma, and Kerim Altınmakas, the İzmir Provincial Chair of the Socialist Party of the Oppressed, were detained this morning during raids on their homes.

The Canadian government has announced the removal of export restrictions imposed since 2020 on defense industry companies seeking to sell to Turkey. 

A photo sent to prisoner Murat Aslan in Izmir Kırıklar Prison was confiscated on the grounds that “There is no family member in the photo”. 

A company of Hasan Gürsoy, President Erdoğan’s high school classmate, was awarded a tender worth 218.5 million liras to renovate the Hagia Sophia. Under AKP rule, Gürsoy’s companies have reaped millions through renovating historical buildings.

Turkey Today – 29.01.2024The number of people detained within the scope of the investigation launched after the Santa Maria Church attack increased to 51. 

DEM Party announced its co-mayor candidates for the local elections with an event in Diyarbakır. 

DFG’s imprisoned co-chair Dicle Müftüoğlu, who announced that she went on hunger strike, said: “As a journalist whose professional activities are criminalized and imprisoned, I raise my voice against the silence.” 

Ali Manaz, a 30-year prisoner whose release was postponed for 6 months, is released from Tekirdağ Prison. 

Turkey Weekly 22 – 28.01.2024

Turkey Today – 28.01.2024

After the attack on the Santa Maria Church in the Sariyer district of Istanbul during the church service, one person was detained.  

The hunger strike in Turkish prisons demanding “Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan and a solution to the Kurdish issue” has entered its 63rd day. 

Turkey’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) has drawn the positions for ballot paper order for the upcoming local elections. The ruling AKP has taken the first position. 

IHD Mersin Branch President Gazi Inci said that at least 63 ill prisoners in the prisons in the Çukurova Region gave up their right to treatment due to ill-treatment.

JINNEWS Editor-in-Chief Safiye Alağaş was detained after her car was stopped while she was travelling from Siirt to Diyarbakır.

Turkey Today – 27.01.2024

The prison sentence of 2 years, 8 months and 15 days given to TTB President Şebnem Korur Fincancı on the charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” was approved. 

Human Rights Foundation TIHV Chair Metin Bakkalcı said: “In Imralı, a completely different execution system is being implemented and it must be abolished.”

Entrance to Gabar Mountain in Şırnak has been banned for another 15 days.

Detained MA Reporter Mahmut Altıntaş was attacked by 5 police officers while he was being referred to the courthouse. Altıntaş, whose lip burst, was taken to the hospital to get an assault report. 

Saturday Mothers gathered at Galatasaray Square in week 983 and asked about the perpetrators of Cemal Akar, who was tortured and murdered in custody 31 years ago.

Turkey Today – 26.01.2024

Canada and Turkey have struck a deal to resume Canadian drone parts exports, conditioned on Turkey’s increased transparency about their use. 

A lawsuit was filed against MA reporter Zeynep Durgut and 17 women who were subjected to police violence on the Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It was claimed that police violence was “measured and within the scope of authority”. 

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya “was heartbroken” to not be named as AKP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate, blaming his predecessor Süleyman Soylu for creating a negative image of him, Journalist Nuray Babacan reported.

Homeland Party (MP) has announced that they would field their own mayoral candidates in the upcoming local elections. 

Evrensel daily’s case against the Press Advertisement Institution’s (BİK) cancellation of the newspaper’s official announcement and advertising rights has been decided by the İstanbul 2nd Administrative Court. The court stated that “the dispatch of a total of 359 copies to various political parties and companies” was carried out, and therefore, the newspaper “did not meet the minimum actual sales requirement,” 

Turkey Today – 25.01.2024

Asrın Law Office lawyers met with the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and demanded the CPT to visit PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan. 

Journalist Sinan Aygül has been sentenced to two months and five days in prison for allegedly “insulting” his assailants. Aygül was attacked in 2023 in Bitlis by relatives of the district’s mayor.

In a new hate speech targeting the LGBTI+ community, the Turkish gov’t’s far-right ally YRP shared a campaign video for municipal elections, saying “If there is no morality, there is LGBT.” 

The court overseeing the Çorlu train crash trial refused the victims’ request to expand the case through an expert re-investigation. 

Turkey Today – 24.01.2024

An attack was carried out on an area in the east of Kobane with an Armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UCAV) belonging to Turkey.

The court rejected the arrest request for Muhammed Eren Sütçü, the defendant who attacked HDP Istanbul Bahçelievler district office with a knife and a gun, and adjourned the trial. 

The police chief of Lice, who allegedly tortured a 14-year-old boy in Lice and recorded it on his phone, did not submit the phone to the court despite a court order. Another court order was issued for the handing over of the phone. 

The trustee appointed as the Mayor of Amed Metropolitan Municipality started to demolish the Fabrika Neighborhood. The neighborhood is blockaded by the police. 

Turkey Today – 23.01.2024

A district governor’s office in Ağrı has banned staging the Kurdish play “Qral û Travis” (The King and Travis) at the Patnos Culture and Arts Center, claiming it found the play “inappropriate.” 

DEM Party Co-Chairperson Tuncer Bakırhan addressed the irregular voter registrations before the local elections. He said “We will file a criminal complaint against the 51 thousand illegal imaginary voters that will cause us to lose the election in many centers.”

MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli congratulated the district governor who attacked an imam in Diyarbakır. Bahçeli alleged that the imam deliberately skipped over the part that blessed Turkey’s dead soldiers in the Friday sermon. 

Released journalist Ferhat Çiftçi stated that the Administration and Observation Board in the prison acted as a “parallel court” and asked questions such as: “Do you love your wife or do you love the PKK?”

Three international pharmaceutical companies have begun withdrawing some of their medicines from the Turkish market over lira depreciation. 

Turkey Today – 22.01.2024

1330 lawyers from 35 bar associations applied to the Ministry of Justice against “the prohibition of lawyer visits to İmralı Prison”.  

Turkish drone attacked Miniq airfield in Shahba, wounding a Syrian soldier. 

3 people were released in the lawsuit filed against the bomb attack that took place on 13 November 2022 in Istiklal Street. 6 people were killed in the attack. A 2021 video of President Erdoğan has gone viral, in which he criticizes spending “hundreds of millions of dollars for a few minutes of touristic space travel”. Last week, Turkey’s first astronaut arrived at the International Space Station with a mission from Texas startup Axiom Space which charges its customers at least $55 million for each astronaut seat.

Turkey Weekly 15 – 21 January 2024

Turkey Today – 21.01.2024

Tahir Elçi Human Rights Foundation’s 2nd Human Rights and Freedom Award was given to Saturday Mothers at a ceremony held in Ankara. 

The hunger strike in prisons demanding “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a solution to the Kurdish issue” has entered its 56th day. 

AKP’s Ankara mayoral candidate and Keçiören Mayor Turgut Altınok argued that 73 percent of Ankara citizens could vote for him in the municipal elections according to the surveys.

Turkey Today – 20.01.2024

Calling for the release of 80-year-old prisoner Hanife Arslan, who cannot walk and needs urgent surgery, Human Rights Association IHD said: “Regret is being imposed for her release. Hanife Arslan must be released.”

President Erdoğan has said that former CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu was “scapegoated” and “pushed into isolation” in the congress so that the CHP could collaborate with DEM Party “controlled by the separatist (terrorist) organization.”

Chair of nationalist İYİ Party Meral Akşener drew criticism as she called the political murders of the past “courageous” while condemning the 2022 assassination of Sinan Ateş, the former head of the far-right nationalist Grey Wolves group.

11 political prisoners staying in Antalya Type S Closed Prison were sentenced to 11 days in solitary confinement each because the phrase “Mr. Öcalan” was included in the petitions they sent to the Justice Ministry to inform about the purposes of their their hunger strike.

The acquittal decision given to journalist Ayşe Kara in the case where she was tried for up to 15 years in prison on the charge of “membership in a terrorist organization” was overturned by the court of appeal. 

Turkey Today – 19.01.2024

Istanbul Governor decided to close the Osmanbey metro station in Şişli district before the commemoration program to be held on the 17th anniversary of the murder of Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. 

A military operation has been launched against rural neighborhoods in Diyarbakır’s Lice district. 

TIHV Wan Representative Sevim Çiçek said that in prisons where the law is put aside, the state approaches ill prisoners with a “practice of revenge”. 

ANKA News Editor-in-Chief Mansur Çelik has been sentenced to 6 months in prison for a news report on Justice Ministry Deputy Akın Gürlek. The court has suspended the sentence. 

Turkey Today – 18.01.2024

The court decided to continue the detention of Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) Co-chairman and MA editor Dicle Müftüoğlu. 

Police detained 22 people, including the deputy mayor, in a bribery operation against Istanbul’s main opposition CHP-led Büyükçekmece Municipality.

Top appeals court has reversed the life sentence given to Ferhat İnne for the deliberate 2020 murder of a woman in the Aegean province Manisa. The court ruled a reduced sentence was in order as İnne called the authorities and turned himself in.

Peace Mother Hanife Arslan, 78, faces imprisonment despite health issues, accused by Turkish authorities of orchestrating a PKK guerilla attack on Turkish soldiers in 2007.

Turkey Today – 17.01.2024

The police officer responsible for the death of 7-year-old Miraç Miroğlu in Şırnak due to an armored vehicle collision has been acquitted. 

Minister of National Defense Yaşar Güler and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hakan Fidan briefed the Parliament following the news of deaths of 21 soldiers within three weeks in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. 

“No prosecution” decisions were made regarding the criminal complaints filed against the handcuffed examination of journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu, who is imprisoned in Sincan Prison, and the harassment suffered by the prisoner Rihan Kavak Özbek. 

Turkey’s Medical Association revealed that deaths from unspecified “infection” in Istanbul surpassed the death toll at the height of the pandemic in 2021. Doctors call patients to caution and demand transparency from the Health Ministry.

Turkey Today – 16.01.2024

In nationwide raids in 28 provinces, 165 people were arrested today. The raids were mainly directed against the women’s and youth councils of the DEM party, the women’s movement and the Mothers of Peace.

President Erdoğan has requested government officials not to attend the 2024 Davos Summit of the World Economic Forum due to the organizers’ stance on Israel’s attacks against Gaza. 

MHP leader Bahçeli has again targeted Constitutional Court President Arslan for rulings that found rights violation in MP Can Atalay’s imprisonment. “You and those like you are in the cage of PKK law, we are after the law of existence and independence of the Republic of Turkey,” Bahçeli said.

Director Sibel Tekin, who was detained and arrested while filming the documentary ” “Life That Begins In The Dark” and then released after a lawsuit was filed against her, will be asked at National Security Organization (MİT) whether she “has a connection with the PKK.” 

Turkey Today – 15.01.2024

Justice Minister Yılmaz Tunç announced that a judicial investigation has been launched against Antalyaspor’s Israeli player Jehezkel, who was left out of the squad for showing the words “100 days 07.10” on the bandage on his wrist after scoring a goal and detained. 

It was started that a military operation was launched in Şırnak’s countryside.  

Emin Güler, a 94 percent disabled and seriously ill prisoner held in Urfa No. 2 Type T Closed Prison, was transferred to Erzincan Type L Closed Prison. 

In Menemen Prison, the open family visit was once again interrupted due to the arbitrary approach of the prison guards.

Detained EMEP Istanbul Provincial Chair Sema Barbaros was released after statement procedures. 

Turkey Weekly 8 – 14 January 2024

Turkey Today – 14.01.2024

Turkey continued its attacks on northern and eastern Syria, targeting infrastructure and civilian settlements. Two children and their mother were wounded, a power station and an animal farm were bombed. 

Government far-right ally Great Unity Party’s (BBP) chair Destici shared logos of 25 major and minor political parties including CHP and DEM Party and targeted them as “terrorism supporters” over the killing of nine Turkish soldiers.

The release of Rozerin Kurt, held in Sincan Women’s Prison, has been blocked for 14 months on the grounds of “not in good behavior” by the Administration and Observation Board. 

Stating that the main reason for the Imrali isolation is “the fear of Abdullah Öcalan’s ideas”, DEM Party Deputy Sinan Çiftyürek said: “The isolation must be abolished, Öcalan must speak.”

Turkey Today – 13.01.2024

Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan said that their rulings were “final and binding” and it was “not legitimate” to disobey them while commenting on top appeals court’s refusal to comply with their rulings regarding jailed TİP MP Atalay. 

After yesterday’s clashes in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq 113 people were detained in house raids in 32 cities. 

Turkey carried out air strikes on nearly 30 targets in northern Iraq and Syria overnight. 

Top officials met for a 45-minute emergency security meeting, chaired by President Erdoğan, following the deaths of nine Turkish soldiers in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Details of the discussions were not made public.

The Defense Ministry has issued a ban on the use of smartphones by soldiers in operational areas after images of the desecration of corpses were circulated on social media. 

DEM Party spokeswoman Ayşegül Doğan has addressed suspicious voter registrations in Şırnak and Iğdır ahead of local elections.

Turkey Today – 12.01.2024

It was stated that after the hunger strike started in Şakran Women’s Closed Prison, the pressure on the prisoners increased and even personal belongings were confiscated during the frequent ward searches. 

DEM Party Co-Chairs Tülay Hatimoğulları and Tuncer Bakırhan and CHP Chair Özgür Özel, who held a press conference after the meeting at CHP Headquarters, whose main agenda was the election, said that they talked about many issues, especially the election. 

President Erdoğan strongly criticized the U.S. and British airstrikes on Houthi targets in Yemen. He characterized the actions as a disproportionate use of force and accused the two nations of attempting to transform the Red Sea into a “sea of blood.”

Mehmet Sait Yıldırım, a 71-year-old inmate at İzmir Kırıklar F-Type Prison, has undergone angiography only to be returned to solitary confinement, where he has been held for three years. 

Hakkari’s former Co-Mayors, Dilek Hatipoğlu and Nurullah Çiftçi, who were arrested in 2015 and subsequently convicted under questionable legal proceedings, have been released after serving their full 9-year prison terms. 

Turkey Today – 11.01.2024

The hearing of the case filed against TTB Central Council President Prof. Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı on the allegation of “insult” due to her statements regarding the use of chemical weapons was postponed receiving the statements of the Ministry of Defense. 

The Parliament rejected the request for an investigation into the then Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu regarding the broken arm of Aydın Aydoğan due to police intervention during the Saturday Mothers’ protest.

A racist group from MHP attacked students once again at Ankara University. 

The trial of Yeni Yasam newspaper writer Ahmet Günes on the grounds of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” through six social media posts, was held in İstanbul. Günes was acquitted. 

Turkey Today – 10.01.2024

Parliament Speaker Kurtulmuş said on the issue of imprisoned Hatay MP Can Atalay: “The most correct way is to resolve this issue in harmony.” 

6 women journalists, who were tried for their protest against the operations against free press workers, explained the police violence they were subjected to and emphasized: “We will continue to defend Kurd journalists.”

AKP’s Eskişehir mayoral candidate Nebi Hatipoğlu has offered minimum wage salary to journalists “reporting in favor of the municipality” should he assume the office. Eskişehir Journalists Association deemed Hatipoğlu’s offer “bribery.”

The twin sisters who were trapped under the rubble for 4.5 hours after the Feb. 6 earthquakes were reportedly expelled from the school dormitory in Antalya province for sleeping in the same bed together, with the accusation of “being homosexual.”

Turkey Today – 09.01.2024

In the report prepared by the Hunger Strike Monitoring and Follow-up Coordination in Wan regarding 12 prisons, it was stated that the prisoners on hunger strike were exposed to many violations and a call was made to meet the demands. 

Lawyers of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan applied to the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for a meeting with their client. 

The prosecutor’s office, which decided not to prosecute the investigation initiated against journalist Ahmet Kanbal on the allegation of “terrorist organization propaganda” due to his publications in the earthquake region, decided to file a criminal complaint on the allegation of “spreading misleading information to the public”.

At the first hearing of the case filed against journalists Deniz Nazlım, Sibel Yükler and Yıldız Tar, it was stated that the police officers who intervened in the statement in the case were suspended during the Ayhan Bora Kaplan investigation. 

Turkey Today – 08.01.2024

Three people, including Democratic Regions Party Co-Chair Aziz Akdağ were arrested during police raids in Adıyaman. In the indictment prepared against the imprisoned Co-chair of the Avesta Language and Cultural Research Association, Ali Yalçınkaya, the acitivities of the assocation were shown as “terrorist organization activities”. 

Journalist Seyhan Avşar is under investigation for her reporting, in which she asserted that a drug trafficker had allegedly contacted the deputy justice minister before securing his release from prison. Today, the court imposed an international travel ban. 

Furkan Karabay, an editor at Gerçek Gündem arrested over his coverage of bribery allegarions in the judiciary news portal, has been released after an appeal by his lawyers. 

Incorporating the slogan of the Palestinian struggle, ‘from the river to the sea,’ in its local election song, the AKP government had previously acknowledged Jerusalem as the de facto capital of Israel. 

Turkey Weekly 1 – 7 January 2024

Turkey Today – 07.01.2024

Turkey attacked villages in the Sulaymaniyah and Belekayeti regions of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq with armed unmanned combat aerial vehicles. 

Yesterday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Istanbul. The counterparts talked about Sweden’s NATO accession process.

The hunger strike in Turkish prisons demanding freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question continues. 

AKP MP and former Urbanization Minister Murat Kurum has been named as his party’s Istanbul mayoral candidate for the upcoming local elections, President Erdoğan has announced. 

An appeals court has approved the acquittal of 78-year-old Hayriye Türkekul on trial for “insulting President Erdoğan” during a 2019 demonstration in Diyarbakır. The court ruled that Türkekul’s “curse” was not an insult.

Turkey Today – 06.01.2024

It was decided to continue the imprisonment of the politicians tried in the Kobanê Case. The court panel also rejected Selahattin Demirtaş’s demand for the speeches they made under the umbrella of the Parliament to be added to the file and for an expert report to be prepared regarding legislative irresponsibility.

The military blockade of Hespist village in the province of Şırnak has been lifted.

The Court of Cassation’s Chief Public Prosecutor Bekir Şahin has defended the reintroduction of the death penalty sentence in Turkey for femicides. 

Saturday Mothers took to Galatasaray Square for the 980th time and asked for the fate of the Güçlükonak Massacre, in which 11 detainees were shot and burnt in a minibus 28 years ago.

Turkey Today – 05.01.2024

3 people were detained in house raids in Diyarbakir’s Silvan district. 

Stating that 11 women prisoners in Sincan Prison were not given the right to conditional release, DEM Party Bitlis Deputy Semra Çağlar Gökalp submitted a parliamentary question to the Minister of Justice. 

AKP Spokesperson Ömer Çelik has stated that they were against caliphate and regime change following the discussions initiated after a university student punched a man for carrying the “Tawheed” (Tevhid) flag.

CHP will hold a rally in the capital Ankara on Jan. 14 after the Court of Cassation’s, top appeals court, second time refusal to comply with the Constitutional Court ruling on behalf of the release of jailed TİP deputy Can Atalay.

Turkey Today – 04.01.2024

The digests prepared to abolish the legislative immunity of 9 MPs from the DEM Party, CHP and TİP were submitted to the Speaker of the Parliament. 

Minister of Justice Yılmaz Tunç said regarding the Supreme Court of Appeals’ decision on Can Atalay “There is a finalised judgement given by the Supreme Court of Appeals. This final judgement is also on the agenda of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.”

Veteran seismologist Prof. Naci Görür has warned that the East Anatolian Fault could produce an earthquake with a magnitude above 7.0 at any moment. 

The release of Mustafa Mak, who is imprisoned in Urfa, was prevented for the 2nd time in 6 months on the grounds that the prisoner has “poor judgement and cognition”. 

The trial against Ramazan Yurttapan, Managing Editor of the magazine, editor Haydar Ergül and 3 writers of the thought and theory magazine Demokratik Modernite was postponed. 

Turkey Today – 03.01.2024

The Court of Cassation, in its new decision regarding TİP deputy Can Atalay, declared the second violation decision of the Constitutional Court “unlawful”. 

Prisoner Mehmet Ali Uğur who was arrested in Şirnak in 2007 for “being a member of a terrorist organization” was not provided with the necessary nutritional conditions despite his celiac disease. 

MA reporter Yalçın, whose court proceedings were completed, and the 9 people taken into custody with him were released. 

A court issued a stay of execution on the Boğaziçi University administration’s decision to ban 16 students from entering the campuses “on suspicion of protesting against the rectorate.”

Turkey Today – 02.01.2024

Journalist Hakan Yalçın, whose statement to the prosecutor’s office was completed, was referred to the court with a demand for arrest. 

Police detained 33 individuals on suspicion of espionage for Israel’s intelligence service Mossad. Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya announced. 

Of the 600 lawmakers elected in the May 2023 elections, 58 only spoke to take the oath of office in the Parliament. Among the deputies who did not speak at all in the general assembly or commissions, 46 of them were from the ruling AKP.

Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş’s father Tahir Demirtaş died at the age of 78. Jailed Demirtaş did not apply to attend his father’s funeral, saying he would not want anything from the government.

The individual who was shot by the police for failing to comply with a stop warning is under treatment at the hospital. Minister Yerlikaya announced that it was understood that the person was undergoing psychological treatment. 

Turkey Today – 01.01.2024

An attack was carried out with Turkish unmanned combat aerial vehicles on the town of Axceler in Çemçemal district of Sulaymaniyah. 

Two members of the DEM Party Youth Council were detained during the raids on some houses in Muş.

Yasin Yılmaz, who is held in Patnos Type L Closed Prison, said that an investigation has been launched against some prisoners due to the books confiscated during ward raids.

MA reporter Hakan Yalçın, whose statement procedures were completed at the police station in Malatya, is expected to be taken to the prosecutor’s office tomorrow.