February 2024

Turkey Weekly 26 February – 3 March 2024

Turkey Today – 03.03.2024

Final lists of political parties and independent candidates who can participate in local elections were announced by provincial and district election boards. 

The hunger strike of political prisoners in prisons demanding ‘Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question’ has reached its 98th day. 

Chamber of Geological Engineers Diyarbakır Branch called for a “Fault Law” against earthquake risk. 

Turkey Today – 03.03.2024

Ankara 9th Criminal Court of Peace canceled the content removal decision of the Turkish government for 45 tweets following the mining disaster in Erzincan province upon X’s application. 

CHP has met with the director of the state-run broadcaster TRT, Mehmet Zahid Sobacı, to discuss the disproportionate airtimes the channel allocates to the ruling AKP. Sobacı denied the party’s analysis and deemed it inaccurate.

Human Rights Association (İHD) has drawn attention to neglect in a container town built in Hatay for the refugee survivors of the Feb. 6 earthquakes after a nine-year-old Syrian child drowned in a rainwater well at the premises.

Speaking at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Maliki announced that Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas will visit Ankara on 5 March.

Turkey Today – 01.03.2024

The Constitutional Court has found that the denial of books to inmates, including politician Sebahat Tuncel, violated their “freedom of expression.” 

The delegation of the “International Delegation of Lawyers Against Isolation”, which is in Turkey visited Asrın Law Office representing PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan. 

Former Interior Minister Sadettin Tantan has testified as a witness in the “Return to Life Operation” case and denied responsibility for the disproportionate force used by the military. In 2000, 30 prisoners and two soldiers were killed during the simultaneous military operations in 20 prisons.

Association of Lawyers for Freedom (OHD) executive Necat Çiçek was detained during a house raid.

3 journalists detained in Wan were released after giving their statements to the prosecutor’s office. 

Turkey Today – 29.02.2024

A Turkish attack on a poultry farm in the northern Syrian region of Şehba has left one villager dead and a teenager seriously injured. Hundreds of chickens died.

A Turkish drone has bombed a car in the Yezidi settlement area of Şengal in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. According to initial reports, the driver was injured. 

A military operation has been initiated by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the rural area of Mount Bagok in the Nusaybin district of Mardin.

The third hearing of the trial against DFG co-chair and journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu on terror charges was held in Diyarbakır. The court decided for Müftüoğlu’s release and a travel ban. 

The trial of journalist Sedat Yılmaz on charges of “being a member of an illegal organization” based on his journalistic activities started in Diyarbakır. The court acquitted Sedat Yılmaz. 

Turkey Today – 28.02.2024

Turkey launched an air strikes on 4 vehicles in the Derik city of Northern and Eastern Syria.

3 prisoners who continued their hunger strike in 2 prisons were exiled to different prisons. It was stated that the release of Mehmet Darga, who has been prisoner for 32 years, was postponed and he was placed in solitary confinement.

12 women prisoners in Sincan Women’s Closed Prison pointed out that their treatment was prevented. 

A court sentenced Erdem Gül, journalist and mayor of Istanbul’s Adalar District Municipality, to five years in prison for “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization,” in the Syria-bound intel trucks case.

PIRHA Reporter Diren Keser was arrested after the sentence was finalized, citing his news and virtual media posts. 

Turkey Today – 27.02.2024

The first hearing of the case filed against 20 relatives of the disappeared due to “violating the Law No. 2911 on Meetings and Demonstrations” for the 950th week of the Saturday Mothers protest started in Istanbul. 

Journalists Arif Aslan and Oktay Candemir were detained during house raids in Ban. 

Academic Mühdan Sağlam, dismissed in 2017 from Ankara University by a statutory decree for signing the declaration titled “We Will Not Be a Party to This Crime,” and later reinstated by a court decision in 2023, has once again been dismissed following the decision of the appeals court. 

The trial of ETHA editor Nadiye Gürbüz on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” began in Istanbul. At the end of the trial, Nadiye Gürbüz was acquitted. 

The 9th hearing of the trial against journalist Deniz Yücel on charges of “insulting the president” and “insulting the state” was held in Istanbul. Trial adjourned until June. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports that Syrian refugees holding “temporary protection identity” in Turkey are being forcibly deported to areas controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham in Syria. 

Turkey Today – 26.02.2024

Speaking at an event held at Koç University, President of the Constitutional Court Zühtü Arslan stated, “A constitutional state accepts diversity of interpretation but does not allow interpretation to lead to chaos,” and “The authority to interpret the Constitution as final and binding belongs to the Constitutional Court.”

The Parliament will hold its last sitting week between Feb. 26 and March 1 before going into recess due to the upcoming local elections.

Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) has procured camera equipment worth over 40 million Turkish liras (one million dollars) for its media organization Diyanet TV. 

A cave-in took place at a mine in Elazığ, leading to the entrapment of four miners. They were successfully rescued from the site. The incident came just two weeks after the mining disaster in Erzincan province. 

Environmental organizations gathered today in many cities across Turkey to file a criminal complaint against those responsible for the tragedy at the İliç gold mine on February 13.

CHP Chair Özgür Özel was elected as the Vice President of the Socialist International at the Socialist International Council Meeting held in Madrid yesterday. 

Turkey Weekly 19 – 25 February 2024

Turkey Today – 25.02.2024

The U.S. administration imposed new trade restrictions on 16 entities from Turkey for supporting Russia’s war effort in Ukraine along with 77 entities from six other countries.

The hunger strike of political prisoners in prisons demanding the freedom of PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question has reached its 91st day.  

The release of Hakan Abi, a prisoner in Yozgat T Type Prison No 1, was prevented 5 times in 15 months on the grounds that he was “unrepentant”. 

DEM Party organized a “Freedom and Democracy” rally in Istanbul’s Esenyurt district with the participation of tens of thousands of people. 

Gizem Öztok Altınsaç, Chief Economist at TÜSİAD, said that the Turkish Central Bank’s inflation forecast would not be materialized because domestic demand has been still very strong. “Government has lost control over inflation,” she stated.

Turkey Today – 24.02.2024

The Presidential Communications Center (CİMER) has responded to a 2022 question by the daily BirGün about the number of planes and helicopters owned by the Presidency that it had “just the necessary number of vehicles.” 

The government’s far-right ally YRP leader Erbakan has revealed that they previously demanded two district municipalities in return for their support of AKP in Istanbul in municipal elections. The YRP named a mayoral candidate for Istanbul two weeks ago.

Former PM Tansu Çiller has endorsed ruling AKP’s Istanbul mayoral candidate Murat Kurum. Opponent Ekrem İmamoğlu of CHP said the endorsement was expected as Kurum had opened Çiller’s protected plot for construction as Urbanization Minister.

Turkey Today – 23.02.2024

Ali Erbaş, Turkey’s Religious Affairs Director, has urged the Muslim youth to “carry a deep hatred” against those who “betray their nation and government,” during an opening ceremony for a youth center. 

It was learned that pressure was put on the village guards in the villages of Şırnak to participate in the ongoing military operation in Zap.  

Şüheda Ronahi Çiftçi, executive of İHD Antalya branch, was detained after her visit to prisons in response to applications on rights violations in prisons. 

The Ankara Governor’s Office banned an LGBTI+ film festival scheduled to be held from Feb. 23 to 25. The governor justified the ban by claiming to protect “public order, public health and morals, and the rights and freedoms of others.”

In Diyarbakır, a local police department swapped their emblem bearing the abbreviation DEM to EGM to avoid political affiliation. 

Turkey Today – 22.02.2024

Sıdıka Erden, mother of ill prisoner Fikret Erden in Kırıkkale prison, said that her son was not given his medicines. 

The third hearing of the case filed against journalist Sofya Alağaş for “membership in a terrorist organization” due to her news reports, which led to her imprisonment for a year, was held in Diyarbakır. Trial adjourned until June. 

The trial against journalist Canan Coşkun, stemming from her article titled “They Sang a Folk Song, They Were Arrested,” published in Cumhuriyet on August 21, 2016, has been dropped.

Bingöl Governorate had canceled the Metin – Kemal Kahraman concert scheduled for February 21, International Mother Language Day. 

The police intervened on the second day of student protests at the public Istanbul University against the administration’s recent open-door policy. One student was taken to hospital after incurring injuries during the scuffle.

Turkey Today – 21.02.2024

The microphone of DEM Party deputy Beritan Güneş, who spoke in Kurdish at the General Assembly of the Parliament on World Mother Language Day, was turned off twice, and Parliament Speaker Celal Adan emphasized “one language”.

Prisoner Celal Inedi in Afyonkarahisar Type T Prison said: “Our radio is being interfered with because we listen to Kurdish. Our Kurdish letters are being confiscated.”

6 press professional organizations operating in Turkey called on international institutions for the release of prisoner journalist Dicle Müftüoğlu. 

A court has banned access to 143 news articles and social media posts about the fraud allegations against government-ally MHP deputy Levent Uysal upon his request.

Turkey Today – 20.02.2024

The police detained DEM Party Esenyurt District Organization co-chairs Bahar Karataş and Fatih Ergün and searched the party building. 

A court has released a detailed ruling on the Vartinis case saying that the burning of a Kurdish family of nine did not constitute a “crime against humanity.” The case was dropped in 2023 due to the statute of limitations.

The release of 3 prisoners from Sincan Women’s Prison was prevented on the grounds of “not being ready to integrate with society” and “not being well behaved”. 

Party flags hanging at DEM Party’s election office in Konya’s Kulu district were removed by two unidentified people.

DEM Party decided to enter the elections with its own candidates in the center and all districts of Izmir, Muğla and Balıkesir. 

Renowned Turkish lawyer Feyza Altun has been released under judicial control measures for ‘sharia’ remark. 

Turkey Today – 19.02.2024

Energy and natural Resources Minister Alparslan Bayraktar, along with Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya, provided an update on the current situation at the mining site in the İliç district of Erzincan. He said: “There is no threat to public health in water and soil.” 

Former Yeniakit newspaper columnist Abdurrahman Dilipak claimed that government knew about the 2016 coup attempt in detail four months before. 

The police detained lawyer Feyza Altun after she was targeted on social media for “insulting sharia law.” An Istanbul prosecutor launched an investigation against Altun for “inciting people to hatred and hostility.”The release of Soydan Akay, a seriously ill prisoner who spent 30 years in solitary cell for 5 years, was postponed for 6 months for the second time due to “not being well behaved”. 


Turkey Weekly 1 – 4 February 2024

Turkey Today – 04.02.2024

President Erdoğan addressed residents in the earthquake-hit Hatay province and urged them to vote for the ruling AKP’s mayoral candidate in the local elections if they wanted to “receive services” in the province. 

Muhammed Ayten, member of the DEM party council, has been arrested in Urfa for alleged membership of the PKK.

The hunger strike in prisons demanding “Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan and a solution to the Kurdish issue” has entered its 70th day. 

Government’s far-right ally YRP declared it would field its candidates for the mayoral race in the three metropolises Istanbul, Ankara, and İzmir. 

Turkey Today – 03.02.2024

DEM Party decided to nominate a candidate for Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality in the upcoming local elections.

President Erdoğan has appointed Central Bank Deputy Governor Fatih Karahan as the new Governor hours after Hafize Gaye Erkan’s resignation.

DEM Party member Celal Fırat reported the rights violations against prisoners in Marmara No. 2 Type L Prison and submitted it to the Presidency of the Parliamentary Human Rights Investigation Commission.

IHD Istanbul Branch President Gulseren Yoleri stated that they asked the CPT to visit Imralı, where multiple rights violations took place, and to take some coercive measures on the government. 

A lawsuit was filed against 71 people who protested in Kadıköy district last year regarding the international conspiracy launched against PKK Leader Abdullah Ocalan on October 9, 1998. 

Turkey Today – 02.02.2024

After the military operation launched in Bagok Mountain rural area in Mardin’s Nusaybin district, 5 rural neighborhoods were declared “Temporary Special Security Zones”.

A court acquitted Diyarbakır Bar Association board members who were on trial for making a press statement on the Armenian Genocide. The Bar Association had previously been acquitted in three previous cases on the same charges.

Numan Kurtulmuş speaks about the removal of Can Atalay’s parliamentary membership. Evaluating criticisms regarding the reading of the decision when he was absent, the Parliament Speaker said: “These visits were planned months ago”. 

Ramazan Yurttapan, Managing Editor of Demokratik Modernite Magazine, was sentenced to 1 year and 21 months in prison for “making propaganda for an illegal organisation”.

Turkey Today – 01.02.2024

Russian President Putin is scheduled to visit Turkey on Feb. 12 for a meeting with his counterpart Erdoğan. This visit marks his first trip to a NATO ally since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Turkey and Ukraine signed the “Turkish-Ukrainian Reconstruction Task Force” that will allow Turkish construction firms to take part in the reconstruction of Ukrainian infrastructure damaged amid Russia’s invasion. 

Kars Governorship issues a ban on demonstrations, marches, and open-air gatherings ahead of the “Freedom March” which is organized to demand the lifting of the isolation on PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in the İmralı Island prison.

A house damaged in the Feb. 6 earthquakes one year ago collapsed in Urfa province. Two people lost their lives, and eight people, including children, were injured.

Prisoner Ekrem Gün, who was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment, is threatened with death by a person named Ismet Ozdemir, who was brought to his adjacent cell and stated that he was a shooter.