Mai 2024

Turkey Weekly 27 – 31 May 2024

Turkey Today – 31.05.2024

The 13th hearing of the case against former HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, in which four separate files have been consolidated, was held in Mersin. Trial adjourned for the completion of the deficiencies.

Several local newspapers have blacked out their front pages in protest against the Turkish government’s public saving measures to curb official advertisements for local media, one of the main revenues of the local dailies. 

The Governor’s Office in Istanbul on May 31 announced public transit disruptions in the central Taksim neighborhood, in expectation of a commemorative protest organized for the 11th anniversary of the Gezi protests. 

The parliament passed a bill prohibiting military personnel from sharing any content that would expose their identities, duties, or assignments on social media. A provision banning media comments by retired military personnel was removed.

Turkey Today – 30.05.2024

Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmuş interpreted the phrase “Kurdish is reflected in the minutes as X language” in the proposal regarding the bans on Kurdish as a “personal opinion”. 

DEM Party Legal Commission Co-Speakers Sevda Çelik Özbingöl and Öztürk Türkdoğan applied to the Ministry of Justice to meet with PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has not been heard from for 39 months. 

In recently prepared two indictments regarding the Workers’ Day march in Istanbul, Turkish prosecutors have sought up to 567 years in prison in total for 42 arrested people. 

Environment, Urbanization, and Climate Change Minister Özhaseki has addressed mayors and urged building earthquake-resilient houses together “for God’s sake.”

Turkey Today – 29.05.2024

Police detained Ramazan Şimşek, the owner of the Kurdish language only Pine Café, in Diyarbakır after having raided the cafe. 

Judge Oktay Tabur, President of the Izmir Justice Commission, has been displaying 13 pistols & 7 long guns in the lounge next to his office in the courthouse. Judges, prosecutors, and Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) inspectors shared photos of themselves in front of the weapons on social media.

A court fined 75-year-old Hatice Kocalar, who has been resisting a thermal power plant project planned to be built on her land for “battering two company officials,” while resisting the continuation of construction despite court rulings. 

In his first live broadcast following the party congress defeat since November, Kılıçdaroğlu hasn’t closed the door for running for the party leadership again “if the delegates suggest” so. 

Turkey Today – 28.05.2024

The Ankara Bar Association has issued a statement opposing the government’s proposed “agents of influence” bill, part of an upcoming judicial reform package. This bill has raised concerns about its potential impact on press freedom and other fundamental rights. 

DEM MP Ceylan Akça-Cupolo has submitted a parliamentary inquiry to investigate the extensive damages caused by the 2016 expropriation decision in the city’s Sur district. 

The second hearing of the trial of journalist Pelin Özkaptan on charges of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” based on her social media posts was held in Istanbul. The court accepted the request for additional time. Trial adjourned until October. 

The second hearing of the non-pecuniary damage lawsuit filed against journalist Furkan Karabay by President Erdoğan’s former lawyer demanding 250,000 TL due to a social media post, was held in Istanbul. The court dismissed the case pointing to Istanbul Anadolu Civil Court of First Instance as the competent court. 

Turkey Today – 27.05.2024

A prisoner in the Iğdır S Type Closed Prison has suspiciously lost his life. The prison administration has announced that Ercan Çakar took his own life while the autopsy report shows signs of physical assault.The release of 30-year prisoner Şakir Akkurt held in Antalya prison was postponed for 6 months due to his refusal to accept the imposition of “regret”.

A recent revelation has linked the February landslide at a gold mine in İliç, Erzincan, which claimed the lives of nine workers, to the former Minister of Environment and Urbanization, Murat Kurum. 

The trial was filed against 24 people, including journalist Öznur Değer, who were detained during a demonstration was held in Ankara. Trial adjourned until June for the preparation of the final opinion. 

President Erdoğan has argued that the recently adopted fiscal policy will not add to inflationary pressure as the countrybegins to experience some disinflationary relief in the second half of the year.

Turkey Weekly 20-26 May 2024

Turkey Today – 26.05.2024

Many people, including children, were detained during house raids in Hakkari’s Gever district. 

An access ban was imposed on news reports on Nusaybin District Governor Ercan Kayabaşı’s death threat against journalist Ahmet Kanbal. 

72-year-old seriously ill prisoner Mehmet Emin Çam had a heart attack on 24 May in Beşiri T Type Prison. Çam, who is being treated in the intensive care unit, has a cyst in his kidney and a tumour in his brain. 

CHP chair Özgür Özel has demanded that President Erdoğan convince the 17.5 million people who voted for the CHP in the local elections as the first step for a new constitution.

Turkey Today – 25.05.2024

Today, Saturday Mothers gathered at Galatasaray Square in week 1000 to ask for the fate of their relatives who were disappeared and murdered in state custody and for the perpetrators to be put on trial. 

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan stated that they have initiated talks with the EU regarding visa facilitation, following a meeting with EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi in Ankara.

A court has arrested all 27 people detained with home raids for “attacking police officers” during the Workers’ Day march in Istanbul, bringing the total arrests for the protest to 72.

A court has arrested four in relation to the fatal landslide at the Çöpler Gold Mine in Erzincan after a new expert report included them among the 13 primary negligent parties for the disaster. 

Turkey Today – 24.05.2024

The government has submitted a bill to parliament to require military personnel who have left or retired from the armed forces to be authorized to make statements to the press.

It is claimed that Ergün Akdoğan, a prisoner of 27 years in Tekirdağ Prison, fell and had a brain haemorrhage. Akdoğan died after the surgery. 

39 New Zealand MPs wrote a letter to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, urging him not to hinder Saturday Mothers’ gatherings. The group will convene for the 1000th week to demand the fates of their forcefully disappeared relatives. 

The new curriculum prepared by the Ministry of Education was approved by the Turkis Education Board and Discipline. The curriculum will be submitted for approval by the Ministry of Education. 

Social media platform X has opened a local office in Turkey, becoming the last major platform to abide by the country’s legislature. The government pressured the platform demanding a local representative since 2020.

In the case former Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu called “the biggest drug operation in the history of the Republic” 72 of the 73 people on trial were acquitted. 

Turkey Today – 23.05.2024

Evaluating Erdoğan’s decision to give the President the authority to declare “war and mobilization”, DEM Party Group Deputy Chair Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit said: “Kurds, democrats and revolutionaries are being targeted.”

The third hearing of the trial against former Diyarbakır Bar Association President and human rights advocate Mehmet Emin Aktar, charged with “targeting individuals involved in counter-terrorism efforts,” was held in Diyarbakır. The court granted the prosecutor’s request for time. Trial adjourned until June. 

The first hearing of the trial where lawyer Şerzan Yelboğa is being prosecuted on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organization” due to his professional activities, based on the testimony of informant Ümit Akbıyık was held in  Diyarbakır. Yelboğa was acquitted. 

The third hearing of the trial in which journalist Gözde Bedeloğlu is being tried for “insulting a public official due to their duty” following a complaint by MHP Antep MP Sermet Atay was held in Istanbul. Trial adjourned until November. 

Turkey Today – 22.05.2024

DEM Party MPs marched from the Turkish parliament to the Justice Ministry to protest the prison sentences given to Kurdish politicians in the Kobanê case.

Süleyman Doğruöz, who participated in the attacks on leftist students at Ankara University with knives, cleavers, machetes and sticks in 2017, was appointed as a public prosecutor.

Authorities have arrested previous CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s former advisor Ramazan Kubat over allegedly helping suspect Serdar Sertçelik flee Turkey in the Ayhan Bora Kaplan case.

The Balıklı Rum Hospital has not been able to elect its foundation leaders since 1991. The high court has ruled that this violated organizational freedom. The Constitutional Court has ruled that this violated organizational freedom.

Turkey Today – 21.05.2024

President Erdoğan said that the harsh prison sentences the court has handed to Kurdish politicians in the Kobanê trials “put the minds overrun with grief for the last ten years at ease,” and that he would not condone any undue criticisms.

Abdullah Öcalan, who has not been heard from in İmralı Prison for 38 months, was given a new 6-month ban on lawyer visits. 

Dicle Electricity Distribution Company cut off the electricity of Mardin Metropolitan Municipality Water and Sewerage Administration, which the DEM Party won in the last local elections, citing debts from the trustee mayor period.

The first hearing of the trial against lawyer Necat Çiçek, who is charged with “membership in a terrorist organization” due to his professional activities, was held in Diyarbakır. The court decided to maintain the travel ban. Trial adjourned until October. 

At least 15 people were detained in house raids carried out on the occasion of May Day in Istanbul.

Mesopotamia Agency reporters Esra Solin Dal and Mehmet Aslan and journalist Erdoğan Alayumat were released. 

Turkey Today – 20.05.2024

The Kurdish Regional Security Council has captured high-level Islamic State official Socrates Khalil trying to enter Kurdistan with a forged passport, after spending five years in Turkey. 

82-year-old Makbule Özer, who was given a “she can stay in prison” report by the Forensic Medicine Institute (ATK) about a month ago in Van, was sent to Istanbul for ATK to prepare a new report after the public reactions.

DEM Party Deputy Meral Danış Beştaş announced that AKP threatened the mukhtars and villagers in Urfa’s Hilvan district, where the elections will be renewed, saying “If we do not win, we will cut off your water and electricity.”

Politicians, writers, journalists, artists and intellectuals published a declaration for the release of 48 people who were arrested for resisting the police barricade on May Day. 

Turkey Weekly 13 – 19 May 2024

Turkey Today – 19.05.2024

Faris Ibrahîm, 13, was killed, three children and a Syrian soldier were wounded in the yesterday’s attack of Turkey on northern and eastern Syria. 

The protest of political prisoners in prisons demanding freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question continues. 

4 youth detained in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district under police violence arrested on charges of “resisting the police”. 

The release of Naif İşçi, who was arrested at the age of 14 in Cizîr, was postponed for the 4th time due to his refusal to “repent”.

CHP held the “Great Education Rally” to address the problems of unappointed teachers and the new curriculum. 

Turkey Today – 18.05.2024

Statements regarding torture were not included in the indictment against DEM Party member Birindar Gezici, who was tortured with pliers at the police station where he was detained in Ağrı’s Doğubeyazıt district. 

18 of those detained in house raids in İzmir, Istanbul and Manisa were arrested. 

Defending the imposition of standing roll-calls against journalist Mehmet Aslan, the officer said, “You have to respect the flag we carry on our shoulders. That’s why you will stand up during the counts”. 

Saturday Mothers gathered at Galatasaray Square in week 999 to ask for the perpetrators of Mehmet Selim Örhan (46), Hasan Örhan (40) and Cezayir Örhan (17), who were detained and disappeared on 24 May 1994 in Diyarbakır.

Turkey Today – 17.05.2024

Minister of Justice Yılmaz Tunç said: “We will wait for the appeal and appeal processes” regarding the decisions of the Kobanê Case. 

The governors of 12 provinces including Diyarbakır, Mardin, Dersim, Bingöl, Bitlis, Kars, and İzmir banned all kinds of demonstrations, meetings, and protests following the announcement of the verdict in the Kobane Trial.  

The fourth hearing of a “defamation” lawsuit against journalist Barış Terkoğlu was held in İstanbul. The court ruled for the acquittal of Terkoğlu. 

President Erdoğan has pardoned seven generals convicted for their role in the “postmodern coup” of 1997, which ousted the Islamist Welfare (Refah) Party from power, citing their health issues and old ages.

President Erdoğan pardoned Hacı Sülük, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing two election officials from the Islamist opposition Felicity Party at the ballot box during the 2019 local elections.

Turkey Today – 16.05.2024

The police conducted house raids in Şırnak, Mardin, Mersin and Hakkari in the morning. At least 68 people were detained in the raids. 

Diyarbakır Governorate issued a ban on demonstrations and events for 4 days. 

Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip have come across Hamas documents according to which the militia wanted to open a secret military base in Turkey.

President Erdoğan has appointed Muhsin Şentürk, the judge who withdrew from the Court of Cassation presidential elections upon his advice, as the court’s chief public prosecutor. Şentürk infamously refused to comply with the Constitutional Court’s ruling to release Can Atalay. 

Turkey Today – 15.05.2024

The 83rd hearing of the ‘Kobani Trial,’ in which 108 people, including former HDP Co-Chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, are being tried, 18 of them detained, will be held tomorrow.

A court has refused Gezi prisoner Osman Kavala’s retrial application for the third time. A new panel of judges was appointed to the case in line with Kavala’s request. 

The Parliamentary Speaker’s Office did not put into action the motion, which demanded that education in the mother language be constitutionally guaranteed and that Kurdish be the language of education, on the grounds that it is “unconstitutional”. 

The police conducted a series of house raids in İstanbul and İzmir, resulting in the detention of at least 31 individuals. The raids are linked to protests that erupted following the non-issuance of an official mandate to Abdullah Zeydan, the elected co-mayor of Van Metropolitan Municipality. 

Turkey Today – 14.05.2024

Ömer Kerkez was elected as the president of Turkey’s Court of Cassation in the 37th round of elections. He won against the last president Mehmet Akarca after 50 days of the election process. 

The meetings held by political prisoners with their lawyers in Tokat Type T Closed Prison have been recorded for 3 years on the grounds that they “contain secret intelligence information”. 

The fourth hearing of the trial against Mezopotamya Agency reporter Mehmet Şah Oruç, charged with “membership of an organization” was held in Bitlis. The court ruled for the continuation of the travel ban. Trial adjourned until September. 

The second hearing of the trial against 10 individuals, including students and alumni, charged with “insulting the President” was held in Ankara. Trial adjourned until September for the completion of deficiencies.

Turkey Today – 13.05.2024

30 people were detained during house raids in Van. 

The Association of Lawyers for Freedom called for solidarity with the defendants in the Kobane trial on 16 May. 

The “Give voice to freedom” demonstration of prisoners’ relatives in front of Diyarbakır Campus Prison was prevented by the police.

Sick prisoner Dijwar Nesri Ismail has not been released for 3 years despite completing his execution period. 

Heavy rainfall caused flooding in Hatay. The container city where earthquake victims live was flooded. 

Turkey Weekly 6 – 12 May 2024

Turkey Today – 12.05.2024

President Erdoğan in a speech today “Netanyahu’s genocidal methods have reached a level that would make even Hitler envious.”

The General Directorate of Prisons and Detention Houses responded to the application regarding the “mouth search” practice imposed on prisoners, claiming that they were not authorised to do so and that the gendarmerie was responsible. 

Reber Soydan, a prisoner kept in a solitary confinement in Van F Type High Security Prison, died under suspicious circumstances. 

Political prisoners in Turkey continue their protest demanding freedom for PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and a political solution to the Kurdish question.

Turkey Today – 11.05.2024

Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality trustee spent 769 thousand Liras on appetizers under the name of “representation and entertainment expenses”. A total of 267 kilos of appetizers were purchased. 

Saturday Mothers gathered at Galatasaray Square in week 998 and asked for justice for Halil Alpsoy and Kasım Alpsoy who were detained by the police in 1994 and found dead some weeks later. 

The Justice Watch of Emine Şenyaşar whose husband and two sons were murdered by the bodyguards and relatives of former AKP deputy Ibrahim Halil continues on day 100 in front of the Justice Ministry. 

Mardin’s Nusaybin district former HDP co-mayor was released yesterday after 7 years in prison. 

Turkey Today – 10.05.2024

Ill prisoners in Kürkçüler Type F Closed Prison have not been able to receive treatment because they did not accept the imposition of “intraoral searches”. 

The Court of Cassation has overturned the prison sentence given to Sinan Aygül, the first journalist to be sentenced under the “offense of publicly disseminating misleading information,” also known as the “censorship law.”. 

DEM Party Spokesperson Ayşegül Doğan emphasized that the new constitution should be democratic and civil and said that the decision to be made in the Kobanê Case will be important at this point. 

Trade Minister Ömer Bolat has refuted the Israeli foreign minister’s statement that President Erdoğan eased the export ban imposed on Israel. 

The chair of the Parliamentary Commission on Digital Mediums from the ruling AKP, Hüseyin Yayman, has warned the social media platform X that it could face closure if it did not appoint a local representative. 

Turkey Today – 09.05.2024

Osman Kavala has demanded the retrial of the Gezi Park case in which he has received an aggravated life sentence. 

Yusuf S., a high school student in Diyarbakır, was sentenced to imprisonment for “insulting the president” on the grounds that he said “Dictator Erdoğan”. 

The trial in Diyarbakır against twenty Kurdish media professionals for alleged membership in a terrorist organization continued with the questioning of key witness Ümit Akbıyık. Trial adjourned until November.

The fourth hearing of the trial where journalists Elif Akgül and Haluk Kalafat are being tried on charges of “openly insulting the Turkish nation” due to their news about the Armenian genocide, was held in Istanbul. Trial adjourned to July. 

The first session of the trial opened against journalist Furkan Karabay on charges of “publicly insulting a public official due to their duty in a chain” upon the complaint of Istanbul Justice Commission President Bekir Altun, was held in Istanbul. The judge ruled for the acquittal of journalist Furkan Karabay.

Turkey Today – 08.05.2024

An armed assault last night targeted the office of DEM Party in Urfa’s Birecik district. The attack was carried out by the brother of the Birecik district mayor, who had resigned from DEM party following his election. 

CHP’s Diyarbakır MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu has stated that the Kobanê case was not a legal, but a political case; and former HDP co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ were political hostages of the government. 

The Turkish Parliament’s ad hoc commission on the İliç Gold Mine disaster arrived at the mine site three months after the accident. The committee observed and heard from experts regarding the malpractices that led to the collapse of the heap leach. 

The first hearing of the lawsuit filed against artist Pınar Aydınlar for “making illegal organization propaganda” was held in Tunceli. The court sentenced her to 1 year, 6 months and 22 days in prison. 

The 23rd hearing of the trial where journalist and writer Ercan Aktaş, on terrorism charges was held in İstanbul. Trial adjourned until October. 

Turkey Today – 07.05.2024

A new 3-month family visit ban was imposed on PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan, who has not been heard from for 38 months, on the grounds of “disciplinary punishment”.

Simultaneous police raids in the Urfa led to at least 14 detentions, including members and executives of DEM Party.

CHP chair Özgür Özel met with MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli after seven years in a closed meeting in the parliament.

Erdoğan stated that he welcomed Hamas’s decision to accept a ceasefire in Gaza, stating that this decision was in line with Ankara’s recommendation. He also expressed his hope that Israel would follow. 

The retrial of the case in which MA reporter Delal Akyüz is being prosecuted for the allegation of “knowingly and willingly aiding a terrorist organization,” was held in İzmir. Trial adjourned until November. 

Investigated over the documentary ‘Bakur’, filmmaker and cinematographer Koray Kesik has been released with an international travel ban. 

Turkey Today – 06.05.2024

The Supreme Election Council (YSK) announced the official results of the local elections upon the completion of the objections submitted by the political parties. Elections in three districts and four towns will be held again on June 2.

The newly elected DEM Party district municipality of Artuklu / Mardin, has identified around 100 “ghost” employees hired by the previous AKP administration who have not shown up for work since the new co-mayors took office. 

MA reporter Esra Solin Dal, charged with “membership in a terrorist organization”, has been placed in solitary confinement at the Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison in İstanbul. 

Journalists Derya Us and Nurcan Yalçın were detained during morning raids in Diyarbakır. A lawsuit was filed against lawyer Necat Çiçek on the charge of “providing legal services to those who are prosecuted for crimes related to the organization”, citing the allegations of confessor Ümit Akbıyık. 

Communication giant Turkcell has appointed Boğaziçi University rector Naci İnci to its executive board, which features former deputies of the ruling AKP. 

Turkey Weekly 1- 5 May 2024

Turkey Today – 05.05.2024

A second major raid takes place in Istanbul in connection with the protests on 1 May. Seventy people are apparently wanted and the police have smashed down flat doors.

38 people who were taken into custody in Istanbul on 1 May were sent to prison.

Reacting to the Ministry of Justice’s response that there is “no isolation”, PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s brother Mehmet Öcalan asked, “If there is no isolation and violation, why can’t we meet?”. 

Felicity Party chair Temel Karamollaoğlu has announced that he would step down from his position due to “health issues.” 

Turkey Today – 04.05.2024

Families of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan and three other prisoners under absolute isolation in İmralı applied for a meeting with their relatives. 

The fourth hearing of the case filed against Leyla Zana on the charge of “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” was held in Ankara. The prosecutor repeated his request for a prison sentence. Trial adjourned until July. 

Prosecutor’s statements were taken from 14 people who were taken into custody on Thursday within the scope of an investigation initiated by the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. 12 of the 14 people were released on judicial control, while Nesibe Akan and Mahmut Yıldırım were sent to prison.

A court has sentenced journalist Barış Terkoğlu to a 2 year prison sentence for “targeting individuals involved in counterterrorism efforts.” The charge concerned two news articles detailing the court rulings from then-judge and current deputy Justice Minister Akın Gürlek.

Turkey Today – 03.05.2024

The police have detained 29 people with early morning raids at their homes, for participating in the Workers’ Day march in Istanbul deemed “illegal” by the Istanbul Governor’s Office.

In Izmir, Koray Kesik, the art director of the documentary Bakur, was detained. Three houses were raided in the morning in Mardin’s Nusaybin district. One person was detained during the house raids. 

President Erdoğan, after his first one-on-one meeting with the CHP chair Özel in eight years, stated he would visit the CHP at the earliest opportunity, saying, “Turkey needs this.”

CHP deputies have walked from the Parliament to the Education Ministry to protest the latter’s new curriculum. The deputies said the new curriculum serves the AKP’s “own ideological obsessions.”

Turkey Today – 02.05.2024

A joint statement was made after Numan Kurtulmuş’s visit to the DEM Party. While Kurtulmuş stated that the demands were conveyed, DEM Party Co-Chair Tülay Hatimoğulları said that road cleaning is needed for the construction of a democratic Turkey. 

It was stated that a military operation was launched in the rural areas of Diyarbakır’s Lice, Kulp and Silvan districts. 

The third hearing of the trial against IHD Co-Chair Eren Keskin and IHD member Güllistan Yarkın was held in Istanbul. Both were acquitted as the elements of the crime did not exist.

The first hearing of the case filed against lawyer Özüm Vurgun due to “being an illegal organization member” ended in a verdict. The court ruled that the charges against Vurgun were not proven and acquitted her.

The 22nd hearing of the trial in which Mehmet Kamış, former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the closed Zaman newspaper, is being tried for “attempting to abolish or prevent the functioning of the Turkish Grand National Assembly,” was held in İstanbul. The court decided to extend Mehmet Kamış’s detention. Trial adjourned until July. 

Turkey Today – 01.05.2024

Police attacked protestors with pepper spray and plastic bullets, and detained at least 217 during Istanbul’s Workers’ Day celebrations.  

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said that Turkey would join in South Africa’s genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Hamas made a statement praising MHP President Devlet Bahçeli. 

Parliament Speaker Kurtulmuş has visited CHP leader Özel as part of the preparations for the new constitution by the government. After the visit, Özel said there was no need for a new constitution “when the constitution is not being respected.”

Emine Şenyaşar, who continued her protest in front of the Ministry of Justice for the 90th day, once again demanded that the records of the incident be revealed.