January 2021

Turkey Weekly 1 – 3 January 2021

Turkey Today – 03.01.2021 

According to Cumhuriyet newspaper, the AKP-MHP coalition is planning to cancel treasury grants, citing article 68 of the constitution (“Crimes by political parties may not be encouraged”). 
The right of assembly has been suspended in Van since 21 November 2016. The governor’s office has now extended the ban on assembly for another 15 days on the grounds that it is a measure to contain the virus. 

Detained journalist Ziya Ataman complains of symptoms of covid disease. He is being held in solitary confinement. There has been no adequate therapy so far. 
Covid-19: Turkey bans arrivals from UK after finding 15 cases of COVID-19 variant. 9,877 new infections and 193 deaths registered by Health Ministry in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 02.01.2021

Hasan Düdük, who is doing his military service in Mardin, escaped from his brigade because of torture. He stated that cigarettes were stubbed out on his body. 

The local municipality of Artuklu district in Mardin has renewed the signs with the village names. The letters X,W,Q, which exist in Kurdish but not in Turkish, were removed.

Ankara appointed trustee on yesterday’s dismissal of 84 workers of Diyarbakır Municipality’s Health Department: They were seasonal workers. 
Covid-19: Turkish President Erdoğan on Saturday said that the Turkish-developed COVID-19 vaccine would be introduced by April. Health Ministry reported 11,180 new infections and 202 deaths. 

Turkey Today – 01.01.2021

While ECtHR ruled for the immediate release of former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, the Ankara chief public prosecutor’s office prepared an indictment against him and 107 others as part of the 2014 Kobane protests investigation.
Diyabakır NGO Representatives: Human rights violations & clampdown on freedom of expression continued in 2020

▶️ anti-democratic nature of government’s trusteeship policy

▶️ difficulty of vulnerable children in accessing education 

▶️ investigations ag doctors in medical chambers
In an attack by soldiers on a group of youths in the Derecik district of Hakkari, Reşit Ekinci suffered a head injury. The youths were on their way to a picnic on a hill.
The governor’s office in Şırnak has declared 15 districts as temporary security areas and imposed entry and exit bans.

Three Kurds, including two from Kobane, were arrested in Adana for “membership in the organisation” charges.
Turkish police have detained a group of women for throwing purple paint at the Ankara provincial building of the ruling AKP in protest of the killing of four women on the same day. The women were beaten by police when they were getting detained. 

2.500 prisoners in 100 different prisons continue hunger strike against the aggravated isolation imposed on Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan on its 36th day. 
Despite the pandemic-related ban on dismissals, the Ankara-appointed trustee dismissed 84 employees of the Amed Health Department.

Covid-19: 212 people have died of the virus and 12,203 new infections were registered in the last 24 hours. 

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Turkey Weekly 4 – 21 January 2021

Turkey Today – 10.01.2021

The Van Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has summoned the co-chairs of the Democratic Regions Party DBP Gülderen Varli and Çetin Uyar for interrogation over a demonstration.
As part of the investigation into the demonstration in Van, journalist Ruşen Takva was summoned for interrogation.

Political prisoners Yakup Vadi and Rıdvan Ünal, who were imprisoned in Düzce, were not released on 21 December 2020 despite the expiry of their 8-year prison sentence. They were asked to make use of the collaboration law.
Hunger strike in Turkish prisons against solitary confinement of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan enters day 45. 
Covid-19: 9,138 new cases and 176 death registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 09.01.2021

After the newspapers Yeni Yasam and Xwebûn, the detainees in Van prison are also denied the newspaper Evrensel.

7 years ago today, three Kurdish politicians were assasinated in Paris by Turkish Intelligence Organisation (MIT). The murderer has died in the meantime, but the perpetrators continue to govern and act, in and outside Turkey. 

Explaining what they had been through during the time they were detained by the police, one of the Boğaziçi University students, Ferhat Ergen said he was constantly subjected to violence while a LGBTI individual Havin said she was threatened with rape. Students had protested the appointment of a rector by President Erdoğan. 

Police broke Deniz Baran Erbudak’s leg, one of the 43 students taken into custody during Boğaziçi University protests. Erbudak said: “They kept trampling me after they broke my leg.”.
Thousands of people have been detained or deported at airports by Turkish authorities because of their social media posts.

One soldier was killed and three injured in military clashes in Diyarbakir’s Lice district.
Turkey issued new navigational telexes (NAVTEX) on Thursday reserving parts of the northern and eastern Aegean for military exercises next week, according to the advisories posted on the Office of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography website.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 9,537 new infections and 181 deaths. 

Turkey Today – 08.01.2021

The Ankara 22nd Heavy Penal Court accepted the indictment into the 2014 “Kobanê protests”. 108 people, among them HDP former Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, face aggravated life sentence. The incidents claimed more than 40 lives in the eastern and southeastern provinces. 

President Erdoğan has for the first time commented on the Boğaziçi University protests, claiming that “terrorists” have been involved in them. Erdoğan has also referred to CHP’s Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu as a “DHKP-C militant,” after she threw her support behind the students. Kaftancıoğlu was also attacked by Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. 

10 students of Middle East Technical University (ÖDTÜ) have been detained in Ankara for protesting the appointment of a president to Boğaziçi University by President Erdoğan. 

Mesopotamia News Agency reporter Mehmet Aslan, detained on Jan. 5, was taken into prison after interrogation.

The IFJ Global demands the immediate release of three women journalists who were arrested while following a protest against Kurdish student Gülistan Doku’s disappearance.


25 years ago today, journalist Metin Göktepe was taken into custody and beaten to death by police officers. Journalists are still in danger/prison in Turkey.


The World Organisation against torture & the International Federation for Human Rights condemn the re-arrest of lawyer Aytaç Ünsal who has been released after more than 200 days in hunger strike for a fair trial.


36 bar association heads have released a joint statement, saying  “anti-democratic implementation in rector appointments” needs to abolished, and universities should be allowed to choose their own rectors. 
Covid-19: 186 people have died of the virus and 11,479 new infections were registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 07.01.2021

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu justifies violence against Boğaziçi University protestors, accuses them of links to ‘terror groups’. 
Police will be able to use military gear in public incidents. The legislation comes mere days after police officers battered and teargassed students in Istanbul for protesting President Erdoğan’s appointment of a rector to Boğaziçi University.

In Hrant Dink murder case, Trabzon gendarmerie intelligence officer of the time Veysal Şahin has been detained in Adana province. 

Fourth hearing of the trial where journo Ayten Akgün faces “insulting the President” charges based on four tweets she had posted in 2018 was held at today. Court sentenced her to 11 months and 20 days in prison. The sentence is suspended. 
Prosecutors have opened an investigation against a correspondent and a news manager for Deutsche Welle’s Turkish service because of a report about a Turkey-based bank’s activities revealed in the FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) files, which were leaked from the US Treasury in September.

Amid debates on Turkey’s possible withdrawal from İstanbul Convention, Amnesty International has sent a copy of the convention, as a new year present, to 671 institutions and persons, including ministries and MPs.

Covid-19: 12,171 new infections and 194 death were registered in the last 24 hours. HDP group chairpersons have introduced a draft amendment to law to make the Covid vaccination available to all free of charge.

Turkey Today – 06.01.2021 

Hrant Dink murder case: The court has ruled that two gendarmerie intelligence officers shall be arrested as there is evidence showing that they knew about the murder of the late journalist beforehand.
14 more people have been detained for protesting the appointment of a president to Boğaziçi University, bringing the total number to 36. İstanbul Gouverneur’s office has announced that demonstrations in Beşiktaş and Sarıyer have been banned. 
HDP Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu stated that the Boğaziçi University students who were detained by the police for protesting the appointment of a rector have been subjected to strip search.

IHD Co-Chair Eren Keskin announced that she was not allowed to see the Boğaziçi University students held under custody in İstanbul Security Directorate. 

Second hearing of the trial where Oda TV Ankara News Director Muyesser Yildiz & Tele1 Ankara representative Ismail Dükel are accused of “military espionage” was held at Ankara 26th High Criminal Court today. It is learned that a second indictment is drafted for “obtaining documents for the purpose of political espionage” chargesand merged with the ongoing case. Trial adjourned until Feb 5, 2021 for additional defenses to be prepared.
The Global Network for Press Freedom urges Turkey to withdraw 21k TL fine against Evrensel newspaper. 

The Committee to Protect calls Turkish authorities ✅ for the immediate release of journalist Mehmet Aslan✅ to refrain from arresting members of the press in relation to vague and unspecified investigations https://cpj.org/2021/01/turkish-police-arrest-mezopotamya-news-agency-journalist-mehmet-aslan/amp/?p=75913&__twitter_impression=true

Bianet Male Violence Monitoring Report December 2020

▶️ 24 women killed

▶️ 61 women subjected to violence

▶️ 8 children abused

▶️ 4 women raped

▶️ 43 women forced to sex work
HDP MP Gergerlioglu submitted a Parliamentary question regarding the report of UN Syria Commission documenting war crimes & rights violations in Syria. The MP’s question has been returned to him because it had “personal opinions”.

HDP MP Murat Sarisac presented a series of parliamentary questions urging the foundation of a parliamentary committee to investigate the Kurdish literary works that have gone missing from libraries in the country since the foundation of the Turkish Republic.

CHP İstanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu faces up to 10 years in prison for tweets about Erdoğan aide’s house. 

Covid-19: Health Ministry has said that the distribution of China’s Sinovac COVID-19 will begin in Turkey if the vaccine is found to be safe following a series of tests which will last at least 14 days. Health Ministry reported 191 death and 13,830 new infections in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 05.01.2021

Further motions to lift the immunity of Kocaeli HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, Urfa HDP MPs Ömer Öcalan & Nusrettin Maçin, and Diyarbakır HDP MP Remziye Tosun were submitted to the Turkish Parliament.
Kars Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued an indictment against dismissed Co-Mayor of Kars Şevin Alaca, who has been arrested since October 8. In the indictment, the system of co-chairpersonship is described as “against the regulations” and cited as criminal evidence.

Mesopotamia News Agency reporter Mehmet Aslan is taken under police custody after police raided his home in Istanbul. It is reported that the journalist is detained as part of an investigation launched by the Antalya Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

Hakkari HDP Co-Mayor Cihan Karaman who was replaced with a trustee appointed by the Ministry of Interior was released at the third hearing against him.

17 students have been detained for protesting the new president appointed to Boğaziçi University by President Erdoğan.

Ruling AKP spokesperson Ömer Çelik has denied rector Melih Bulu’s appointment to Boğaziçi University was a blow against academic freedom, saying, “There is no shame in having a political identity in democracies.”
Rezan Epözdemir, the attorney of the Gültekin family, has indicated that the court board is trying to reduce the sentence of the defendant due to unjust provocation and demanded recusal. The next hearing will be held in February. Pınar Gültekin (27), a student of Muğla University, was found dead on July 21, 2020, five days after she had got missing.
After Yusuf Aydemir, the paternal uncle of 4-year-old Leyla Aydemir, was released from prison, both the Public Prosecutor and the attorneys of the Teacher Saadet’s Association for Struggle Against Child Abuse (UCİM) appealed against the ruling of release of the court. Both objections have been rejected.

F. Merz, one of the contenders to succeed Merkel as leader of Germany’s Christian Democratic Union has said that he doesn’t see #Turkey joining the EU in long-term. He instead suggested that post-Brexit trade deal between UK & EU could set a precedent for EU –  Turkey partnership.

Covid-19: According to a chart prepared by Total Analysis research company, Turkey ranks 97th among 100 countries in COVID-19 transparency. 194 people have died of the virus and 14,494 new infections were registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 04.01.2021

The trial against Selahattin Demirtaş for insulting President Erdoğan and then Prime Minister Davutoglu was adjourned until March 2021.

Turkey’s Ministry of Trade has imposed a fine of over 20 thousand lira to Evrensel newspaper over its 25th anniversary video broadcast on TELE1 channel and featuring a girl who is holding a scarf in yellow, green and red.

Istanbul police attacked and tear-gassed Boğaziçi University students for protesting and condemning the appointment of long term AKP member Melih Bulu as rector by President Erdoğan. 

Amid harsh criticisms of students & faculty members, Prof. Bulu has welcomed his appointment in a statement on social media: “We are all in the same boat”. Long term AKP member Bulu was appointed as rector to the Boğaziçi University by President Erdoğan.

Bedriye Arzuman, mother of Hamza Arzuman who has not been able to visit her son in prison in Gümüşhane Type E Prison for the last two years said: “My only wish is that my son to get out of there and brought to a closer prison. I can’t travel that far.” Arzuman was arrested during the curfews in 2015 in the Silopi district of Şırnak and was sentenced to 36 years in prison.
2020 Report by the Tigris-Euphrates Journalists’ Association

▶️ 79 journalists were detained

▶️ 24 journalists were arrested

▶️ 43 journalists were sentenced to over 150 years in prison
Turkey’s LGBT+ community has suffered verbal and physical attacks in every month of 2020, with the perpetrators ranging from top government officials to public servants.

The Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services has declared a children’s book featuring a “rainbow” story a “harmful publication”. The book will now be sold in an opaque envelope or package and only to those aged 18 and older.
Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 13,695 new cases and 197 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

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Turkey Weekly 11 – 17 January 2021

Turkey Today – 17.01.2021 

The Turkish Justice Ministry has set up a courthouse at Istanbul Airport as part of its planned judicial reforms. “Our judges and prosecutors are at service 24/7,” Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said.

A Syrian refugee family was attacked by neighbours in Izmir. Two people were injured, one of them seriously. He is in intensive care with a brain haemorrhage and skull fractures. 

Students announced that their protest will continue against the appointment of a rector to Boğaziçi University by President Erdoğan. 
Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 6,436 new infections and 165 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 16.01.2021

Despite a forensic medical report, sick prisoner Ahmet Silik, 76, is not released. 
Under the pretext of a pandemic, the prisoner Resul Kocatürk is denied urgently needed medical examinations. 

Kasım Dayangaç, 65, was arrested on suspicion of membership in a terrorist organisation. One son was killed, one had to flee after a long period of imprisonment and one has been missing for years. 

The hunger strike prioners started against the isolation on PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan continues on its 51th day.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 7,550 new infections and 168 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 15.01.2021

Fourth hearing of the trial where Progressive Journalists’ Association’s (ÇGD) Mediterranean Region head and Körfez newspaper’s Managing Editor Engin Korkmaz  faces “insulting the President” charges was held in Antalya. Prosecution stated that President Erdoğan’s lawyers were not informed of the case, requested them to be notified. Court decided to notify Erdoğan’s (who appears as a victim) lawyers of the case in order for them to attend the next hearing, adjourned the trial until June.
Turkey has snubbed a request by the United Nations for more information into the murder of Syrian-American journalist Halla Barakat and her mother, Orouba Barakat. 

A 15-year-old child who was held in police custody in the district Cizîr of province Şirnex was forced by Turkish police to sing the Turkish national anthem all the day long.

Convicted of “insulting the President” in May 2017, lawyer and Human Rights Association (İHD) Co-Chair Eren Keskin was also faced with a “disciplinary investigation” by the İstanbul Bar Association. Keskin has been given a reprimand.

An opposition politician from former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s Future Party was battered in Ankara, hours before a journalist from nationalist Yeniçağ daily was attacked as he climbed into his car. Future Party deputy chair Selçuk Özdağ survived the battery, while Orhan Uğuroğlu inflicted small injuries. Greece is pushing to return 1,450 people living in island camps to Turkey and demanding that the EU and its border agency Frontex help it police a deal for failed asylum seekers.↪ Deals are not a lasting solution to the refugee crisis. Peace-building measures are needed.
Covid-19: 520,00 healthcare workers have received their first dose of the Chinese jab, Coronavac in Turkey so far, Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca reported on his twitter account. 8,314 new infections and 169 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 14.01.2021

48 people, including Socialist Party of the Oppressed Co-Chair Özlem Gümüştaş, Etha reporter Pınar Gayıp and HDP PM member Sıtkı Güngör , were detained. 
Police raided Etkin Haber’s Istanbul bureau and reporter Pınar Gayıp’s house last night. It is reported that journalist Gayıp is detained and hard drives are confiscated, other digital materials were also damaged by the police. 

Fifth hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia News Agency reporter Ruken Demir faces “membership in a terrorist org.” charges based on phone conversations with her news sources resumed in İzmir. 

A lawsuit was filed against Ferhat Çelik, the Managing Editor of Mesopotamia News Agency, on grounds of the news article, titled “Insects are put into the food of prisoners in Bayburt”.

9th hearing of the trial where former Gelî Kurdistan TV cameraman Rojhat Doğru faces “disrupting the unity and integrity of the state,” “membership in a terrorist organization,” and “terror propaganda” charges was held in Diyarbakır. Court adjourned the trial until March 2021 to make the necessary arrangements in order to make sure two witnesses will be able to provide statements in the next hearing.

Trial of seven defendants whose files were separated at the end of the Gezi Trial, resumed at İstanbul 30th HCC today. Exiled journo #CanDündar is among the defendants who all live abroad, and face various charges including “attempting to overthrow the gov‘t.” Court rules to wait for the execution of the arrest warrants and adjourns the hearing until April. 
Mehmet Emin Aktar, the former President of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison for allegedly “being a member of a terrorist organization”.

Erdoğan accuses social media companies of ‘digital dictatorship,’ says Turkey will not bow to their pressures.
Interview by @t24comtr with European Parliament’s Turkey Rapporteur Nacho Sanchez Amor on EU – Turkey relations in the context of recent statements made by President Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu https://t24.com.tr/amp/haber/ap-turkiye-raportoru-amor-t-24-e-konustu-turkiye-gercekten-ab-ye-uye-olmak-istiyor-mu-artik-ask-mektuplari-degil-somut-gercekler-istiyoruz,925968?__twitter_impression=true
Human Rights Watch report on Turkey:

▶️ The assault on human rights & the rule of law presided over by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continued during the Covid-19 pandemic

▶️ Opposition parties remain sidelined under Turkey’s presidential system (1/2)

▶️ Executive interference in the judiciary and in prosecutorial decisions 
▶️ The government has reshaped public and state institutions to remove checks on power and to ensure benefits for its own supporters
▶️ Systematic practice of detaining, prosecuting, and convicting. https://m.bianet.org/english/human-rights/237533-hrw-report-on-violations-of-rights-in-turkey-in-2020

Covid-19: The Turkish Health Ministry started administering the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine Coronavac to healthcare workers. Health Ministry reported 8,962 new infections and 170 death in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 13.01.2021

The military blockade in Lice placed after a clash with the soldiers took place on January 9 continues.

Ankara police attacked action for Deniz Baran Erbudak, whose leg was broken during the Boğaziçi University protests. 5 students were detained in the crackdown.

An investigation was launched against Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) Co-Chair Dicle Müftüoğlu with the accusation of ‘propagandizing a terrorist organization’ regarding news articles she shared on social media. 
A lawsuit has been filed against journalist Melis Alphan on the grounds that she posted a photo from the Newroz celebrations in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır in 2015. She faces up to 7 years, 6 months in prison.

2nd hearing of the trial where journo Can Atakli is charged with “publicly degrading a section of the public” due to his criticism of teachers wearing headscarves being role models to youth resumed in İstanbul. Court ruled to send the case-file over to the prosecution’s office for the final opinion as to the acusations to be drafted. The court gave the prosecution time until the next hearing to complete the opinion. Trial adjourned until May.
The Ombudsman Institution of Turkey has concluded that the freedom of assembly and expression of bar association chairs was violated when they were prevented from marching to the capital city of Ankara against the bill of multiple bar associations. 

Ministry of Interior announced that the ISIS member who supplied the explosives of the Suruç and Sultanahmet massacres was arrested. 

CHP Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu sues Erdoğan and Soylu for 1 million liras after being targeted with ‘terror’ accusations. 

Austria has expelled a Turkish defector who in September claimed that he was ordered to kill Kurdish politician Berivan Aslan by the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT). He should have been brought to justice and the background investigated.
Reporting that at least 30 prisoners caught coronavirus in Karabük Type T Closed Prison in the last 2 months, political prisoner Ahmet Bayrna said the prison administration did not take any measures regarding the pandemic.

Covid-19: The coronavirus death toll since the outbreak of the pandemic in Turkey is four times higher than the official figure, according to the results of a study by the New York-based Columbia Data Analytics. The current figures for the last 24 hours have not yet been published. 

Turkey Today – 12.01.2021

Having announced that he was thrown from a helicopter in Turkey’s eastern province of Van and subjected to torture, Osman Şiban has been taken into custody in a house raid in Mersin province. As it was documented with a medical report that he was not in a state to go from Mersin to Van, he has been released.

According to S&D Vice-Chair Kati Piri the group decided to move forward with an urgency resolution on the case of Selahattin Demirtas for EP plenary next week. “Turkey must respect and implement judgments made by European Court on Human Rights.”
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has demanded that the chief public prosecutor’s office at the Court of Cassation launch a lawsuit for the closure of Peoples’ Democratic Party HDP.

Fırat Dari was given a disciplinary penalty and deprived of his right to phone calls with his family for a month on grounds that he spoke to his mother in Kurdish. The prison administration claimed that Dari was speaking in codes. 

19th hearing of the trial where Demokratik Ulus newspaper’s former Managing Editor Arafat Dayan faces “terror propaganda” charges was held in İstanbul today. The court decided to have the case-file sent over to the Prosecutor’s Office for the final opinion as to the accusations to be drafted. Trial adjourned until April.

Second hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet Managing Editor Olcay Büyüktaş and former reporter Alican Uludağ face “publishing the identity of an informant on anti-terrorist duty and identifying them as a target” charges was held in İstanbul. Uludağ refused to have the sentence suspended if convicted. The court decided to wait for Ankara 4th High Criminal Court to respond to their request to have a copy of the indictment of the Ankara train station bombing court case. Trial adjourned until March.

5th hearing of the trial where Gerger Fırat newspaper News Manager Özgür Boğatekin faces “terror propaganda” and “disclosing the identity of state officials on anti-terror duty” charges for a Facebook post from 2017 was held in Adıyaman. Court sentences Boğatekin to 1 year 6 months and 22 days in prison. 
President and ruling AKP Chair Erdoğan has filed a suit for damages against main opposition CHP Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, demanding 1 million lira because Kılıçdaroğlu called him “the so-called President”. 
Covid-19: Erdoğan says Turkey will begin coronavirus vaccinations this week. 9,809 new infections and 171 deaths registered by Health Ministry in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 11.01.2021

Treated for cancer and arrested for over four years, ill prisoner Hadi Yalçın has lost his life in Edirne prison. The requests for release of the ill prisoner were rejected.

7th hearing of the trial where four Middle East Technical University students face “insulting the president” charges for the banner they carried during the commencement ceremony resumed at Ankara 11th Criminal Court. Verdict announced: Court acquits METU students of all charges. 
Gendarmerie raided many houses in the Xelîla Neighborhood of Mardin’s Dargeçit district early this morning. 5 people were detained. 
Third trustee appointed to Diyarbakir’s Silvan district municipality by Interior Ministry in the last 10 months. HDP Co-Mayor Naşide Toprak was replaced by a trustee on 24 March 2020. 
BİA Media Monitor Oct-Dez 2020

▶️ 187 journalists lost their jobs

▶️ 8 journalists were detained

▶️ 179 journalists are facing prison sentence

▶️ 485 articles were censoredhttps://m.bianet.org/english/media/237323-they-say-reform-to-europe-stifle-the-media

On January 10 Working Journalists Day in Turkey, President Erdoğan released a statement expressing Turkey’s determination to “not give up press freedom.” However Turkey ranks 154th among 180 countries in the RSF (Reporter Without Boarders) World Press Freedom Index.
Covid-19: Health Ministry registered 10,220 new cases and 174 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

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Turkey Weekly 18 – 24 January 2021

Turkey Today – 24.01.2021 

A group of Boğaziçi University graduates placed handcuffs on Brooklyn Bridge to reenact Turkish police’s move to handcuff the university’s gates during students’ protests against Erdoğan-appointed rector Melih Bulu.

İsmail Tanboğa, a 22-year-old seriously ill prisoner in Iskenderun T Type Closed Prison, is losing weight every day (38 kilos now) Tanboğa’s family asked him to be released for treatment.

Hunger strike in Turkish prisons against solitary confinement of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan entered day 59. 
Journalist Uğur Mumcu was killed by a bomb placed in his car 28 years ago today. Nearly 3 decades later his murder remains unsolved and not one perpetrator has been brought to justice. 
BİA Media Monitoring Report 2020 

▶️ 48 journalists detained in 2020, 430 journalists in 5 years

▶️ 18 journalists attacked in 2020, 139 journalists in 5 yearshttps://m.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/237966-our-jaw-has-dropped-in-the-face-of-this-media-freedom

Covid-19: 5,277 new infections and 140 deaths were registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 23.01.2021

Free Women’s Movement (TJA) activist was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison for “being a member of a terrorist organization” for her activities within the TJA. 

Mehmet Siraç Aslan (22) remains in Aksaray T Type Closed Prison despite having served his sentence. Aslan was charged with “being a member of a terrorist organization” and should have been released in October 2020.

An Istanbul court ordered the release of a former gendarmerie intelligence officer in the Hrant Dink murder case. Volkan Şahin was earlier in January arrested for failing to alert his superiors when he had prior knowledge of preparations for the attack. 

The family of Gökhan Güneş, who has been missing since around noon on Wednesday, has alleged that he was abducted by police officers in İstanbul’s Başakşehir district, where he works as an electrician. The family reportedly managed to acquire footage showing Gökhan’s abduction from a security camera near the construction site where he worked. The video footage was handed over to a prosecutor. 

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 5,856 new infections and 144 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 22.01.2021

The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation against Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) İstanbul MP Erol Katırcıoğlu on charge of “propagandizing for a terrorist organization.”. The reason for the investigation is that, leaving the party building, Katırcıoğlu gave a victory sign while passing by the mothers who were protesting in front of the HDP Office in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern province of Diyarbakır, saying that their children were abducted and taken to the mountain by Kurdistan Workers’ Party. 

Trial where former Jiyan Haber editor Sonya Bayık faces “defying the Law on Assemblies & Demonstrations” was held at Batman 1st Criminal Court of First Instance Bayık is accused of following a press conference against Hasankeyf historical site’s destruction. The court decided to write to Hasankeyf District Governship to inquire the reason for banning the concerned press statement and examine the video footage taken during the press statement on the destruction of Hasankeyf historical site. Trial adjourned until May.
Trial where journalist İdris Yayla faces “defying the Law on Assemblies & Demonstrations” charges for following a press conference organized against state-appointed mayors in Batman in 2016 resumed at Batman 1st Criminal Court of First Instance. Journalist İdris Yayla did not attend today’s hearing. The trial where 28 individuals including Kurdish politician Sebahat Tuncel are indicted will resume on Apr 2, 2021. 

The first hearing against Zeynel Abidin Bulut who attended the commemoration of Journalist Mazlum Erenci who lost his life in Dersim in 2011 was held in Diyarbakır. Bulut and his attorney Resul Tamur was present at the hearing. Bulut was given 10 months of prison sentence.

İstanbul Regional Court’s 3rd Penal Chamber overturns the acquittal of 9 defendants in the Gezi Trial. The appellate court stated that evidence against 9 defendants including Osman Kavala wasn’t evaluated thoroughly, decided to send the file to the local court for re-trial.

Covid-19: 5,967 new infections and 149 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 21.01.2021

European Parliament plenary session on Human rights situation in Turkey, notably the case of Selahattin Demirtaş and other prisoners of conscience held today.

Quotes from Greens/EFA President Ska Keller and EP-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Chair Sergey Lagodinsky https://www.greens-efa.eu/en/article/press/prisoners-of-conscience-in-turkey/


Statement by Sergey Lagodinsky after the meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the occasion of Minister’s visit to Brussels  https://www.europarl.europa.eu/delegations/en/d-tr/documents/communiques

S&D MEP Evin Incir in today’s plenary session on human rights situation in Turkey and the case of Selahattin Demirtaş: “It is enough with love letters, it is time for action, it is time for democracy.” Ms Incir called the HR to put the issue on the agenda of Council of Europe’s Minister Committee. 

Vice-Chair of S&D KatiPiri in the plenary session on human rights situation in Turkey, notably the case of Selahattin Demirtaş and other prisoners of conscience: What is his crime? To represent the voiceless people. We have to put the case of Selahattin Demirtaş and Osman Kavala on the top. It is useless to talk, if there is no action. 

Turkey Rapporteur of EP Nacho Sánchez Amor in the plenary debate on human rights situation in Turkey, notably the case of Selahattin Demirtaş and other prisoners of conscience “We don’t want declarations. We want actions.”
In EP plenary session on human rights in Turkey MEP François Alfonsi refers to the ruling of the Belgian Court of Cassation that the PKK is not a terrorist organisation but a party to an armed conflict.Two women members of the Adana Women’s Council affiliated to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform were fined 24,000 lira for hanging photos of women killed by men on a bus stop and Atatürk Park on December 31, 2020. 

HDP Bitlis Provincial Co-chair Rumet Dursun who made a statement regarding the arrest of DTK Co-Chair Leyla Güven was sued with a request of a two year prison sentence for ‘praising the crime and the criminal’.

The trial where Mikail Tunç Demir & Ferhat Duman, distributors for Azadiya Welat & Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspapers, face “terror propaganda” and “aiding a terror org.” charges resumed at Van today. They face the charges based on news reports published in 2018. 

Journalist Yılmaz Özdil from the Sözcü daily has been indicted on charges of insulting the Turkish Parliament because he used lowercase letters in his abbreviation of parliament’s name in one of his articles. 

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 6,289 new infections and 153 deaths. 

Turkey Today – 20.01.2021

On Thursday 21 January, the European Parliament will debate and vote a resolution on “human rights situation in Turkey, notably the case of Selahattin Dermitas and other prisoners of conscience”.

Free Web Turkey report on Internet censorship:
▶️ At least 1,910 URLs were blocked in a year
▶️ 870 of these URLs contained news
▶️ 42 percent of the blocked news were related to Erdoğan, his family or the mayors and officials of the AKP

https://m.bianet.org/english/media/237871-42-percent-of-blocked-news-related-to-akp-pro-government-peopleFirst hearing of the trial where Yeni Yaşam newspaper reporter Hatice Şahin faces “membership in a terrorist organization” was held at Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court today. Indictment lists the journo’s Diyarbakır-İstanbul flights & conversations with news sources as evidence. Court decided to hear secret and open witnesses in the next hearing, gave journalist Hatice Şahin and her lawyer 10 days to present the questions they request the court to ask the secret witnesses. Trial adjourned until March.
Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Hazal Ocak and its publisher Alev Coşkun are to appear before the Anadolu 14th Civil Court of First Instance today for the trial where they’re sued by Mehmet Cengiz with a request of 1 million Turkish liras. Cengiz Conglomerate’s Mehmet Cengiz requests reparations for Hazal Ocak’s news story published on 6 October 2019 titled “Luxury fixture with a view of the Bosphorus,” claiming that the news story is inaccurate and that “his reputation was tarnished.” 

A Turkish court has issued an arrest warrant for journalist Cengiz Çandar in order for his testimony to be taken in a case concerning a tweet he had posted on May 30, 2017. Çandar, who currently resides in Sweden, faces the charge of “praising crime and criminal” for a tweet about Ayşe Deniz Karacagil, who was killed by ISIS while fighting in Syria’s Raqqa.

Covid-19: 6,435 new infections and 159 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 19.01.201

Turkey has banned ads on Twitter, Periscope and Pinterest for failing to appoint a legal representative in the country. 
The Governor’s Office of Van has announced that the ban on events and demonstrations, which has been in effect in Turkey’s eastern province for 1,519 days, will remain in force for another 15 days as of January 19.

It was learned that at least 35 people were detained in house raids carried out by soldiers in Lice and rural neighborhoods of Lice.

Trial where Kurdish newspaper Xwebun columnist and Kurdish linguist Mehmet Şahin faces “founding and managing a terrorist organization” charges for his activities within Democratic Society Congress (DTK) resumed at Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court. 
Trial where Evrensel newspaper former Managing Editor Cem Şimşek faces “insulting the president” charges for a news story on German cartoonists who drew Erdoğan resumed in İstanbul. Court decided to send the case-file over to the prosecutor’s office for the final opinion as to the accusations to be drafted. Trial adjourned until April.

4th hearing of the trial where journo Hakan Aygun faces “publicly degrading religious values of a section of the public” charges for a tweet criticizing gov’t for demanding donations to combat Covud-19 was held in Bodrum. The court decided to request Bodrum Gendarmerie and Bodrum Police Force in writing to investigate whether Aygün’s concerned social media post had disrupted public order and safety at the time. Trial is adjourned until March.

Erzurum-Horasan District Security Directorate summoned ill prisoner Necmettin Aydın, HDP Provincial Organization Director, who has been quarantined 3 times in the last 2 months for a statement. Aydın was not released despite having a cerebellum herniation and 44 percent invalidity report. Court decided to sent the case-file over to the Forensic Medicine Institute in order to determine whether tape recordings presented as evidence in the indictment definitely belong to Şahin. Trial adjourned until May.

Erdoğan “We are laying groundwork for historic transformation outside our borders”↪ Erdoğan & AKP-MHP government have shown themselves to be a threat not only toTurkish citizens but also to neighboring states & broader region, acting as major destabilizing force in various countries
Covid-19: The figures for the last 24 hours have not yet been published.

Turkey Today – 18.01.2021

Detained as part of the operations against the Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP), five people have been arrested, five people have been placed under house arrest and 37 people have been released on probation. 
While the military operation launched on January 9 in the rural areas of Diyarbakır, Lice continues, 8 people detained during the raids on villages were arrested.

Some 300,000 individual petitions about human rights violations were made to Turkey’s Constitutional Court since the personal application process was launched in 2012.

CHP İstanbul MP @MSTanrikulu has released his “Report on Violations of Rights in 2020”: 

▶️ 3,362 people’s right to life was violated

▶️ 87 journalists were behind bars as of December 

▶️ Trustees were appointed to one CHP, 48 HDP municipalities 
Prosecutors in Ankara are preparing filings for the lift of the immunity of nine deputies from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including the party’s co-leader Pervin Buldan, over the “Kobanê protests” in 2014.
‘Kurdish education’ campaign to be launched on International Mother Language Day, Feb 21., by Kurdish Language and Culture Network in Turkey. 
Doves are being projected onto the former building of the weekly Agos, where Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered by an ultra nationalist in 2007, to commemorate him. 

Covid-19: Minister of National Education Selçuk has announced that #Turkey is planning to reopen schools on February 15. 5,862 new infections and 164 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

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Turkey Weekly 25 – 31 January 2021

HDP İstanbul-Esenyurt Co-Chair Ercan Sağlam was sent to prison after his hearing. Co-Chair Dilan Kılıç was released. 
Former President of Turkish National Assembly Cemil Çiçek said that the decision of the ECtHR to release former HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş had to be followed. 
Firazpir Özbay, who has been in solitary confinement in Nefsehir prison for 3 years, has reported psychological and physical torture to his family. In particular, he says, his food is spat on. 
Hunger strike in Turkish prisons against solitary confinement of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan entered day 66. 
According to her attorney Free Women’s Movement TJA Spokesperson Ayşe Gökkan 

▶️ was arrested 83 times

▶️ 215 proceedings were initiated 

▶️ 600 court hearings were held
Access to Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu’s tweet calling LGBT individuals ‘perverted’ banned in France.
Covid-19: Turkey has ranked 74th in Lowy Institute’s COVID Performance Index, which looked into how countries managed the pandemic following their hundredth confirmed case until Jan. 9. 6,562 new infections and 128 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 30.01.2021

Police have detained four Boğaziçi University students in Turkey as protests have continued over the appointment of Melih Bulu as rector of the university by President Erdoğan. 
Hakkari governorship in Turkey’s Southeast extended the ban on concerts, festivals and the distribution of leaflets in the city for an additional fifteen days.
İyi Party Chair Akşener: I expect early elections on 21 June.
Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 6,871 new infections and 129 deaths. 

Turkey Today – 29.01.2021 

The parliamentary question regarding maltreatment & isolation in prisons tabled by HDP MP Ayşe Acar Başaran was answered by the Ministry of Justice. The ministry claimed that there is no isolation in high security & closed prisons. This contradicts the findings of the CoE’s CPT reports.
According to its 2020 Annual Report, Turkey tops ECtHR list in freedom of expression violations and is ranked 2nd in overall violation judgements.


Villa-type houses built in place of demolished historical houses in Diyarbakir’s Sur district have been put on sale for prices ranging between 600,000 liras and 1 million liras. In 2015 Sur was destroyed while being under a Turkish army imposed curfew, the longest in history. 
Special operations police carried out simultaneous house raids in Van province early this morning. According to reports, at least six people were taken into custody in the operation. 
Trial where eight Van TV staffers face “terrorist propaganda” charges for various news bulletins broadcast by the TV channel between February – May 2016  resumed in Van. Verdict: Court acquits Serdar Altan, Gülsün Altan, Kadir Cesur and Sibel Eres; dismisses the case on behalf of Koçali Özipek, Nedim Dalga and Gürcan Bardakçı. Anchor Nahide Aslan is sentenced to 1 year and 6 months for “terror propaganda” charges, sentence is suspended. 
Trial where Mesopotamia Agency reporters İdris Sayılğan and Naci Kaya are accused of “trespassing a military zone” resumed today at Edirne 8th Criminal Court of First Instance. Hearing was adjourned until April 14.
Covid-19: According to Turkish Medical Association one out of every seven primary care physicians had COVID-19 in Turkey. Health Ministry reported 6,192 new infections and 131 deaths. 

Turkey Today – 28.01.2021

Free Women’s Movement TJA Spokesperson Ayşe Gökkan, who was taken into custody following an arrest warrant issued against her, has been arrested by the court.
Mesopotamia Agency Reporter Zeynep Durgut was detained by the gendarmerie in the district center while she went to the Güçlükonak district of Sirnak on October 8, 2020 to follow on a story. Subsequently, the investigation launched against Durgut on the charge of “illegally seizing or disseminating personal data” resulted in non-prosecution.
Mesopotamia Agency reporter Mehmet Aslan, who was arrested for his journalistic activities, stated that he was subjected to a strip search entering the prison.
Second hearing of the trial where journalist and author Faik Bulut faces “founding and managing a terrorist organization” charges is held in Diyarbakır.  He faces this charge for attending workshops organized by the Democratic Society Congress . Last hearing, the prosecutor demanded up to 15 years in prison. Bulut is acquitted of all charges. 
Lawyers have filed a criminal complaint against the officials of the police directorate in the southeastern Antep province who had previous knowledge of one of the suspects in the 2015 Ankara bombing case.
After three of its five members were replaced, the Court of Cassation 12th Chamber has overturned its own decision in the case of the 2014 mine explosion in Soma, Manisa, which claimed the lives of 301 coal mine workers and injured hundreds, reducing the sentences of three company executives. 
Recognized as “one of the first 10 war robots in Turkey” by TÜBİTAK, the prototype of an armed uncrewed ground vehicle is on display in Urfa Game Museum. Karaköprü Mayor Metin Baydilli from ruling AKP said that is on display to “set children visiting the museum an example”.
Selahattin Demirtaş’s lawyer Masuni Karaman asked Stefan Talmon, who represented Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights, on Twitter for his opinion on his client’s statement that the ruling was not binding. The answer: he was blocked. 
Covid-19: 7,279 new infections and 129 deaths were registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 27.01.2021

Peoples’ Democratic Congres (HDK) Spokesperson Sedat Şenoğlu was released from prison at the first hearing of the case in which he was remanded.
Zeynep Ölbesi, an activist of the Free Women’s Movement (TJA) has been taken into custody in Istanbul after having had her apartment stormed by the police this morning. The hearing of the case filed against Free Women’s Movement (TJA) Spokesperson Ayşe Gökkan with the allegation of “being an organization leader and a member of a terrorist organization” was held at the Diyarbakır 9th High Criminal Court. A decision of arrest was made.
Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said that the ministry will file a criminal complaint against CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for throwing his support behind former CHP MP Berhan Şimşek, who called governors and districts “militants” while criticizing the ruling AKP’s policies.
7th hearing of the trial where HDP Diyarbakır Branch’s Press Consultant Vedat Dağ faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terror propaganda” charges resumed in Diyarbakır. Court decides to wait for the report on digital materials to be received and accepts complainant Celil Bagdaş’s request to intervene in the case based on the possibility that he might be affected by the crime. Trial adjourned until April 2021.
Homes of Alevi families in western Turkey’s Yalova province were marked with red crosses. The hate crime of marking Alevi homes has been a common practice over the decades, and across different parts of Turkey.
Gökhan Güneş, kidnapped and detained for 5 days by alleged police officers, held a press conference at the Istanbul Branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD).  He said, “I was beaten while I was naked and threatened with rape.”
The CoE Anti-torture Committee CPT visited Turkey from 11-25 January to examine treatment of persons detained by the police and in prisons, including Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan and others prisoners in İmralı. https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/-/council-of-europe-anti-torture-committee-visits-turk-3
Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 7,489 new infections and 132 deaths. 

Turkey Today – 26.01.2021

Gökhan Güneş, who was kidnapped by alleged police officers in İstanbul last week, was released in the morning.
Statement by Nacho Sánchez Amor, EP Turkey Rapporteur, on Gökhan Güneş: Relieved to know Gökhan Güneş has been released & is back to his family. He’s been disappeared for 6 days, raising much concern in Turkey & abroad, also due to lack of reaction of authorities. The conditions of this apparent enforced disappearance should be fully investigated.
The application of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan’s attorneys to visit their client in İmralı prison was rejected again. Ocalan was last allowed to see his lawyers in August 2019, after an 8-year hiatus. 
Sevim Akdağ, a member of HDP Central Executive Committee was detained in Diyarbakir’s Kayapınar district.
A military operation was launched in the villages of Varto district of Muş with the participation of a large number of soldiers.
Cumhuriyet newspaper reporter Hazal Ocak and its publisher Alev Coşkun are to appear before the Anadolu 14th Civil Court of First Instance today for the trial where they’re sued by Mehmet Cengiz with a request of 1 million Turkish liras. Cengiz Conglomerate’s Mehmet Cengiz requests reparations for Hazal Ocak’s news story published on 6 October 2019 titled “Luxury fixture with a view of the Bosphorus,” claiming that the news story is inaccurate and that “his reputation was tarnished.”
Council of Europe to Turkey: “Judgements of the European Court of Human Rights are not kind requests, but binding legal requirements”
Osman Kavala’s attorneys released a statement after two court decisions against him: “The common point of all verdicts about him is that these verdicts were given despite the ECtHR & the Committee of Ministers decision & by ‘disregarding’ these institutions & decisions,”.
Covid-19: 7,103 new infections and 134 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 25.01.2021

According to attorney Mahsuni Karaman HDP former Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş has made an individual application to the Constitutional Court, demanding that the judgement of “right violation” and “immediate release” of the ECtHR Grand Chamber be implemented.
Standing trial for “insulting the President” over his 11 comics, Sefer Selvi, a cartoonist for Evrensel newspaper, has been acquitted. 
Fifth hearing of the trial where journalist Durket Süren faces “aiding and abetting a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges based on her social media posts, phone recordings, and TV programs resumed in Diyarbakır. Long-awaited analysis report on journalist Süren’s confiscated digital materials has still not been prepared by the Diyarbakır Criminal Police Lab. The court decided to wait for the report to be received, adjourned the trial until April.
The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) said that it fined Halk TV channel because there is an environment where “media can cause the collapse of the government,” according to court minutes revealed by an independent lawmaker.
The gendermerie, carrying out a military operation in Lice since January 9, has jailed at least 27 people so far.
British MP Feryal Clark has called for urgent action over the disappearance of Gökhan Güneş who has been missing since last week. 
Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 5,642 new infections and 137 deaths in the last 24 hours.

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