February 2021

Turkey Weekly 22 – 28 February 2021

Turkey Today – 28 February 2021

Three people including HDP Nusaybin Co-Chair Hevidar Dinç were detained in home raids in Mardin’s Kiziltepe and Nusaybin districts. Abdullah İdiğ, a member of the HDP party council, was also arrested during the raids.
An İstanbul court has accepted the indictment of student Beyza Buldağ for expressing support for protests sparked by the appointment of a pro-government rector to Boğaziçi University. The indictment accuses Buldağ of “inciting hatred and enmity in the public” and “provoking criminal activity” due to 20 posts shared by the Boğaziçi Solidarity Twitter account that she allegedly managed.

Hunger strike in Turkish prisons against solitary confinement of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan entered day 94. 
On Feb 28, 2015, the “Dolmabahçe Agreement” was declared in İstanbul. The agreement was a ten-point plan negotiated between Abdullah Öcalan & Turkish state for a resolution 2 Kurdish question. HDP calls for a return to the will for a solution expressed at that time.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 8,424 new infections and 66 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 27 February 2021

Many people, including HDP Kayapınar District Co-chair Hanım Altındağ, were detained in home raids in Diyarbakır early this morning.
Association for Solidarity with Families Who Lost Their Relatives in the Cradle of Civilizations in Diyarbakır was searched eight hours by the police. 

The Saturday Mothers came together in the 831st week to ask those responsible for the death of Cüneyt Aydınlar. Aydınlar disappeared after detention by the police 27 years ago. 

Despite a forensic medical report, prisoner Serdal Yıldırım, who is in a wheelchair due to paralysis after a car accident, is not released from prison. Now the lawyers have turned to the Constitutional Court.

HDP, represented by Co-Chair Mithat Sancar, Foreign Affairs Spokespersons Feleknas Uca & parliamentary group’s Vice-Chair Saruhan Oluç Oluc,  and Greens/EFA, among them Sergey Lagodinsky & Co-Chair Evelyne Huytebroeck, had an online meeting about the crackdown on the party in Turkey. 

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 9,193 new infections and 71 deaths. 

Turkey Today – 26 February 2021

Turkish court again rejects request to arrest former sergeant Musa Orhan who is standing trial for sexually assaulting an 18-year-old woman and causing her death by driving her to suicide. 
The Istanbul 15th Heavy Penal Court has rejected main opposition CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu’s appeal against a newly prepared proposal seeking to lift his immunity from prosecution. 

Mehmet Sayit Demir, a former administrator of the HDP in Diyarbakır was sentenced to 6 years and 8 months in prison on two separate charges.

An investigation was initiated upon the complaint made to the Presidential Notification Center about the news articles of Mesopotamia Agency on January 27 with the titles ‘Isolation was protested in Sur’ and ‘109 months passed since Roboski Massacre’. The Managing Editor of our Agency, Ferhat Çelik went to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to give his statement regarding the complaint.

Trial where 38 people including mamy journalists are accused of sharing “false and deceptive info” to affect the markets for their reporting resumed in İstanbul. Court ruled to wait for the expert report which will evaluate whether each defendant had made material benefit per Capital Markets Law art. 107 with their reporting & social media posts. Demands of the defense will be reviewed after the report. Trial adjourned until June. 

Covid-19: “Turkey doesn’t think about a complete lockdown right now,” says Health Minister Koca. 9,250 new infections and 74 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 25 February 2021

The application of Kurdish political Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s lawyers to meet with their clients was rejected again.

Constitutional Court has rejected arrested lawyer Aytaç Ünsal’s application, indicating that “he has access to his right to healthcare”. Aytaç Ünsal had been on a death fast for his right to a fair trial for 215 days. 

Fifth hearing of the trial where journalist Rustem Batum faces “insulting the President” and “inciting the public to hatred” charges for 20 tweets he had posted between 2016 – 2018 was held in İstanbul. Court ruled to for the execution of the arrest warrant. Trial adjourned until May. 

The chief public prosecutor’s office has given a decision of non-prosecution for journalist Oktay Candemir, who was facing an investigation over a tweet criticizing the TV series about the Ottoman times. 

Turkish Parliament has received a total of 33 summaries of proceedings seeking to have legislative immunity lifted for 25 opposition lawmakers. The proposals target three CHP MPs, 20 HDP MPs, one DP MP, and one DBP MP.

According to a report of Human Rights Foundation, at least 800 people demonstrating against the appointment of a pro-government rector to Boğaziçi University were subjected to ill-treatment by police officers who carried out their detention in 38 provinces.
German MP Gökay Akbulut has again been threatened with death. The sender again signed the threatening message with JITEM, the informal secret service of Turkish military police which is responsible for at least four-fifths of the unsolved murders.

Covid-19: Drawing criticism after attending a crowded funeral at the weekend, Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has apologized to people, saying, “I couldn’t foresee that social distance would disappear”. Health Ministry reported 9,572 new infections and 73 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 24 February 2021

First hearing of the trial where journalist Hakkı Boltan faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges based on evidence relating him to Democratic Society Congress was held in Diyarbakır.  Hakkı Boltan is acquitted.

19th hearing of the trial where Özgür Gündem columnists and executives Reyhan Çapan and Hüseyin Aykol face “terror propaganda,” & “praising a crime” charges for news stories on self-governance from 2016 was held in İstanbul. The court ruled to wait for the execution of arrest warrants issued for defendants Kemal Yakut and Hasan Başak for their initial testimonies to be taken. Trial adjourned until June.
Trial where journalist Erhan Akbaş faces “membership in a terrorist org” charges resumed at Van 7th High Criminal Court today. Akbaş is charged for municipal work he conducted while he had a seat at the Erciş Municipality Council. The journalist is acquitted. 

Taken into custody over his social media message about ruling AKP’s Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Özlem Zengin, lawyer Mert Yaşar has been arrested on charge of “insulting the President”. 

Turkey’s top court has deemed Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun’s authorities on state-run Anadolu Agency “unconstitutional.”

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 9,561 new infections and 72 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 23 February 2021

Statement by spokesperson for the external affairs of the EU @ExtSpoxEU on the ongoing actions against the members of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) 

The Party of European Socialists rejects the attacks on its associate member party Halklarin Demokratik Partisi – People’s Democratic Party (HDP) – by Turkish authorities.

Ramazan Akbaşlı, who has been held in Van F-Type Closed Prison on the allegation of “being a member of a terrorist organization” since 19 November 2020 and who was to be released today, has tried to commit suicide. 

Trial where journalist Aburrrahman Gök faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terror propaganda” charges was held in Diyarbakır. Gök faces up to 20 years in prison for his conversations with news sources and the content of his reporting. Court lifted his international travel ban and decided to hear a secret witness in between hearings. Trial adjourned until June 3, 2021.
Fourth hearing of the trial where journos Ali Açar, Canan Coşkun and Can Uğur face “disclosing or publishing the identities of state officials on anti-terror duty and/or identifying them as targets” charge was held in İstanbul. Court decided to wait for the response to the letter sent to the riot police unit inquiring the ID no. of the police officer who is the alleged victim of the crime. Trial adjourned until June 8, 2021.

Turkish journalist Murat Ağırel receives threats after revealing corruption by former Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek.
Trial where exiled artist Ferhat Tunç faces “insulting the President” charges for ten tweets he had posted in 2016 resumed in İstanbul. Tunç’s lawyer and the prosecution demanded the case-file to be completed. Court ruled to wait for the execution of the arrest warrant issued against Tunç, adjourned the trial until September.
Sixth hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia News Agency reporter Ruken Demir faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges based on phone conversations with her news sources resumed in İzmir. Court lifts judicial control measures issued against Ruken Demir, rules for the continuation of the international travel ban. Court also rules to return the journalists’ confiscated digital materials which have already been duplicated. Trial adjourned until June.

Two students have been placed under house arrest, bringing the total number of people given a house arrest over Boğaziçi protests to 26. 
The Association for Support of Women Candidates (KA.DER) has released its report on women’s representation in the media⚠️ Only 582 of the 6,114 guests were women. ⚠️ All guests were men in 77 percent of the programs.https://m.bianet.org/english/women/239790-report-no-women-guests-appeared-on-77-percent-of-discussion-programs-in-six-months

Yesterday, HDP MP & Foreign Affairs Committee spokesperson Feleknas Uca & Human Rights Association (IHD) Co-chair Öztürk Türkdoğan joined the meeting of 🇩🇪-🇹🇷 Parliamentary Group of the Bundestag: There is cross-party solidarity with HDP MPs & human rights defenders like Eren Keskin.

Covid-19: 9,107 new infections and 74 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 22 February 2021

Two students were taken into custody for participating in the Boğaziçi University protests.

PEN Turkey grants Duygu Asena Women’s Rights Award to Prof. Ayşe Buğra. The writers’ association has said that it has awarded Buğra because of her reactions after being targeted by the president over the Boğaziçi University protests.

“Where is this camera footage that you talked about?”: Targeted by Interior Minister Soylu, HDP MP Dilan Dirayet Taşdemir, now investigated over his remarks, has announced that she will file a criminal complaint. 

Dismissed Co-Mayor of Diyarbakir’s Sur district has been sentenced to seven years and six months on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization”. 
Call of HDP to the international community regarding the political lynching against the partyhttps://www.hdp.org.tr/en/hdp-under-even-more-political-pressure/15094/

The Left Co-chair Martin Schirdewan: EU must condemn Erdogan’s relentless assault on HDP parliamentarians https://www.guengl.eu/eu-must-condemn-erdogans-relentless-assault-on-hdp-parliamentarians/

AKP deputy leader Mehmet Özhaseki and pro-government journalist Nedim Şener have insulted six million HDP voters, with the latter saying that those who vote for the HDP are bullets in the PKK’s weapons.

AKP Deputy Chairwoman Özlem Zengin said regarding human rights violations in prisons, that women get pregnant upon orders from various organizations in the face of criticism on babies growing up in jails. 

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 8,104 new infections and 78 deaths. 

Turkey Today – 21 February 2021

Turkey launches probe into HDP MP Dilan Dirayet Taşdemir following Interior Minister Soylu’s claim that she visited PKK base in Gara. Taşdemir denied the accusations.

Court in Urfa sends 10 people detained in house raids on February 11 to prison.

Hunger strike in Turkish prisons against solitary confinement of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan enters day 87.

Turkish folk singer Selda Bağcan recounts being strip searched in prison.

HDP MP Muazzez Orhan has put a question to the President of Turkish Parliament to find out what has happened to the questions of the 27th parliamentary term. Out of 38999, 12627 have remained unanswered.

On February 21 International Mother Language Day, the Network for Monitoring, Documenting and Reporting on Language Rights (DHİBRA) has declared its requests in 19 mother languages of Turkey:
“Language rights are an integral part of human rights!”

President Erdoğan has made a claim regarding the attack on U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, saying that the leading figures of the attack are linked to the YPG.

Covid-19: 6,546 new infections and 77 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 20 February 2021

HDP MP Feleknas Uca had put a question to Vice-President Fuat Oktay in January regarding the Kurdish politicians murdered in Paris in 2013. In his answer, Oktay referred to the Ministry of Justice as the responsible authority.

HDP in Batman wanted to put up posters of their “Justice for All” campaign. The governor’s office refused on the grounds that the posters were provocative. The posters read “Justice for all. Long live International Mother Language Day”.

The Güroymak/Bitlis city councillor arrested on 9 February was conditionally released. He was arrested after an appeal by the public prosecutor.

Human Rights Association İstanbul branch demanded the release of seriously ill political prisoner Kerim Altınmakas. He had a heart attack before his arrest in January. The coronary arteries are 80% constricted. A heart attack can happen again at any time.

AKP MP Özlem Zengin denies strip search reports: Honorable woman wouldn’t wait 1 year to report.

Covid-19: Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said: “Normalisation will start from 1 March.” Health Ministry reported 7,857 new infections and 80 deaths.

Turkey Today – 19 February 2021

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that the summaries prepared against 9 deputies, including Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Pervin Buldan, were sent to the Ministry of Justice on the grounds of the Kobanê protests.

The prison sentence given to HDP Kocaeli MP Gergerlioğlu was upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeals. HDP Kocaeli MP Gergerlioğlu was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison on the allegation of “propagandandizing a terrorist organization”.

Mehmet Selim Kılıç, former HDP chairperson in Dargeçit district of Mardin province, was remanded in custody on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.” The charges against him date back to his general political activities seven years ago.

The application filed by Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan’s attorneys to Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to meet with their client in Imralı has been rejected.

Pointing out to the different agenda of Turkey in the region, International Coalition former Spokesperson Colonel Myles Caggins said the ongoing operations in Kurdistan distract from the war with ISIS.

Former head of General Staff’s intelligence department, Ismail Pekin, demanded targeted liquidations of KCK leaders in a TV broadcast: “They also have their elements in Europe. We have to do something in this direction in Europe. I mean, it was already done once in Paris …”

Covid-19: 7,419 new infections and 82 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 18 February 2021

The ban on demonstrations in Van was extended by the governor’s office for another two weeks.

Eleventh hearing of the trial where Etkin haber editor İsminaz Temel and reporter Havva Cuştan face “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges was held in İstanbul. Court rules to keep international travel bans of journalists in place, adjourns the trial until May.

Trial where journalist Rustem Batum faces “insulting the President” charges resumed in İstanbul. Court gave lawyers time to present Batum’s address. When the address is presented, court will draft letters rogatory to receive the journo’s defense from abroad. The arrest warrant remains in place in the meantime. Trial adjourned until June.

Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has condemned the killing of 13 prisoners of war during a military offensive of Turkish Armed Forces in northern Iraq. “What’s essential is to establish peace by opposing guns, violence and war under all circumstances,” Demirtaş said.

Some 328 NGOs have signed a petition against the closure of the LGBTI+ Studies Club in Boğaziçi University and the police violence during the protests that have been going on at the school since early January.

Covid-19: In response to a Parliamentary question, Turkey’s Health Minister has announced that 2,412 physicians resigned in 6 months amid pandemic. According to Health Ministry more than 5 million people received COVID-19 vaccine. 7,241 new infections and 83 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 17 February 2021

Interior Minister Soylu targets the HDP and Human Rights Association (İHD) over the killing of Turkey’s 13 prisoners of war in Gare. He blames Defense Minister Hulusi Akar for failed rescue operation in Iraq.

A video released by HDP has revealed that its lawmakers have brought the issue of 13 prisoners of war who were recently killed during Turkish airstrikes in northern Iraq to the public agenda at least seven times since December 2015.

Open Letter to President Erdogan in solidarity with human rights defender & HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, signed by many politicians, academics, writers & human rights organisations

MHP Chair Devlet Bahçeli, an ally of the government says the Constitutional Court should dissolve itself and the HDP should be closed.

Statement by Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Foreign Affairs Spokespersons Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy on wave of arrests against their members & officials

Boğaziçi University protests against the appointed rector continue at minus 6 degrees: “Today marks the 44th day of our resistance. Our struggle will continue until all trustees, primarily Melih Bulu, leave”.

Trial where 10 former Board Members and former chair of Diyarbakır Bar Association face insulting the Turkish state & inciting the public to hatred charges for official 24 April Armenian Genocide Remembrance day statements from 2017 and 2018 resumed in Diyarbakır. Court gave lawyers time to prepare their statements. Trial adjourned until June.

Fourth hearing of the trial where local newspaper Gerger Fırat’s News Manager & a columnist are accused of “slander” for reporting on an alleged torture by the gendarmerie was held at Gerger Criminal Court of First Instance. Two witnesses testified during this hearing. Court ruled to complete the documents in the case-file, ruled to ask Kahta military office about the complainant’s personnel info in writing. Trial adjourned until April.

Trial where 8 people including journalist Kenan Kırkaya faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges based on his journalistic activities resumed in Ankara. Defendants continued to present their final defense statements. Trial adjourned until May.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 7,325 new infections and 86 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 16 February 2021

Taken into custody in Kars and Iğdır on February 12, three people, including Kars Provincial Co-Chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Sevda Subaşı, have been arrested.

Political prisoners in Düzce Type T Closed Prison stated that they were subjected to raids and investigations against them arbitrarily.

Studying in the capital city of Ankara, a group of women wanted to stage a protest against the planned establishment of “women’s universities” in Turkey. Several women have been detained.

The Trade Ministry has filed a lawsuit demanding the dissolution of Anadolu Kültür, a cultural institution founded and headed by Osman Kavala.

HDP MP Gergerlioğlu, against whom an investigation was started on grounds that he criticized the operation of Turkish Armed Forces against Gare, underlined that he was recieving threats and said: “We are trying to defend everyone’s rights regardless of who they are.”

Trial where Turkish Medical Association Chair Prof. Korur-Fincancı is accused of insulting Erdoğan based on a tweet she had posted during Gezi Protests in 2013 while he was the PM was held in İstanbul. Court sentenced her to a judiciary fine of 7080 TRY.

Trial where 22 journalists who were taken into custody while the police was raiding the 22 Özgür Gündem office in June 2016 are tried on charges of “resisting a public official” resumed at İstanbul 5th Criminal Court of the First Instance today. Court ruled to wait for the arrest warrants ruled against 4 journalists to be executed. Trial adjourned until April.

Trial where since shuttered Diyarbakır-based Özgür Gün TV’s former staffer Barış Barıştıran faces “terror propaganda” charges for live broadcasting DTK’s General Assembly in March 2016 resumed in Diyarbakır. The prosecutor demanded Barış Barıştıran to be sentenced for “terror propaganda” charges in the final opinion as to the accusations. Court gave Barıştıran and his lawyer time to prepare their final defense statements, adjourned the trial until March.

Second hearing of the re-trial where Azadiya Welat newspaper’s former Managing Editor İsmail Çoban faces “terror propaganda” charges resumed in Diyarbakır. Çoban is behind bars due to another file against him. The prosecutor demanded İsmail Çoban to be sentenced for “terror propaganda” charges in the final opinion as to the accusations. Court gave Çoban and his lawyer time to prepare their final defense statements, adjourned the trial until May.

Covid-19: 7,906 new infections and 90 death were registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 15 February 2021

Turkey’s Ministry of Interior has announced that 718 people, including HDP provincial and district co-chairs, have been taken into custody in “terror operations” in 40 of 81 provinces across the country.

Özgür Gündem main trial resumed at İstanbul 23rd High Criminal Court today. The case continues for newspaper’s executives Zana Bilir Kaya, İnan Kızılkaya, Kemal Sancılı & Eren Keskin, whose files were separated in February 2020. Court sentenced Kemal Sancılı, İnan KizilkayaI & Eren Keskin to 6 yrs and 3 mo in prison for “membership in a terrorist organization.” Zana Bilir Kaya is sentenced to 1 yr & 13 mo. Co-Chair of IHD Eren Keskin on today’s court ruling: I have been in the human rights movement for 30 years. I have often been in court, in prison for my opinions. But for the first time I was sentenced for membership of an armed organisation. 6 yrs 3 mths. I am not going anywhere. I am here.

Statement by HDP on the incident in Gare where 13 prisoners of war were killed during an air strike by the Turkish Armed Forces as part of military operation Eagle Claw 2

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned the US Ambassador to Turkey David Satterfield to the Ministry following the US statement on the incidents in Gare.

Asrin Law Office released a statement on the 22 anniversary of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan’s abduction refering to the ongoing isolation which was also reported by CPT several times.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 7,945 new infections and 91 deaths.

Turkey Weekly 1 – 7 February 2021

Turkey Today – 7 February 2021

Four more people have been arrested, two people have been placed under house arrest over Boğaziçi University protest in Kadıköy/İstanbul.

The hunger strike prioners started against the isolation on Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan continues on day 72.

A Turkish prosecutor in Ankara has ruled non-suit for two suspects linked to a neo-nationalist movement, who are accused of attacking Future Party’s Selçuk Özdağ.

Turkey launched military operations in Ömeryan/Mardin. Curfews have been imposed in many areas.

HDP Youth Council member Muhammed Ünal was arrested over his social media posts.

Peoples’ Democratic Party to start its “Justice for everyone” campaign tomorrow.

Five years have passed since 177 people were killed in the Cizre district of Şırnak while taking shelter in the basements of houses under fire.

Covid-19: 6,670 new infections and 112 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 6 February 2021

Turkish prosecutors have sought up to eight years in jail for former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş over charges of “insulting” and “threatening” former Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman. Next trial will be held in April.

Amid protests against the appointment of Melih Bulu as a rector to Boğaziçi University, rectors were appointed to 11 other Universities by Erdoğan.

Faculty of Law and Faculty of Communications were opened in Boğaziçi University while students continue to protest appointed rector Melih Bulu.

President Erdoğan has said “We will show nor mercy” for Boğaziçi protesters and accused Osman Kavala’s spouse, a professor at the university, of provoking unrest.

Twitter has restriced two more tweets by Minister of Interior Soylu against Boğaziçi University protesters and LGBTI+s.

An investment programme for 2021 envisages the construction of 39 more prisons in Turkey.
Turkey does not need new prisons. It needs democratic processes that lead to the release of political prisoners.

Covid-19: According to figures published by Health Ministry Turkey’s southeastern, Kurdish-majority provinces have the lowest vaccination rates. While the average in Turkey is 4%, Diyarbakır, Şırnak, Ağrı and other provinces have only 1-2%. Health Ministry reported 7,897 new infections and 108 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 5 February 2021

Today Osman Kavala appeared before court as part of his trial where he faces “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” & “espionage” charges. Court decided to merge the case with recently overturned Gezi trial, ruled for the continuation of his detention.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation against Independent İstanbul MP Ahmet Şık over his statements amid the Boğaziçi University protests. The politician is now facing the charge of “publicly provoking to commit crimes.”

PEN Norway has analyzed the indictment of Özgür Gündem trial issued against Reyhan Çapan, Hüseyin Aykol and Eren Keskin: “The indictment does not entirely meet international nor national standards.”

Third hearing of the trial where Oda TV Ankara News Director Muyesser Yildiz & Tele1comtr Ankara representative Ismail Dükel are accused of “military espionage” was held at Ankara 26th High Criminal Court. Court gave the defense attorneys time to prepare final defense statements, adjourned trial until March.

Osman Güdü from the KRT TV channel was attacked when he left his office in Kartal district on the Anatolian side of İstanbul. Güdü was hospitalized after the incident, nine stitches were put in his head.

Reporters Rojin Altay (Mesopotamia NewsAgency) and Taylan Öztaş (Özgur Gelecek) detained while covering demonstration in Istanbul, Altay was later released.

Detained over the Boğaziçi University protest in İstanbul’s Kadıköy, 23 people were referred to court. While two people have been arrested, 14 have been placed under house arrest and seven have been released with an international travel ban.

Prisoner Sedat Karak in Maraş Türkoğlu L Type Closed Prison told that he and four of his friends were tortured by the guards and that they had fractures in their hands, feet and heads.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 7,901 new cases and 110 deaths.

Turkey Today – 4 February 2021

The UN Human Rights Office calls for immediate release of students arrested for protests against the appointment of a rector to Boğaziçi University by President Erdoğan.

Statement by lead spokesperson for the external affairs of the EU on the detentions of students and developments around Boğaziçi university

The chairs of 35 bar associations have released a joint statement about the police violence against Boğaziçi University students: “We demand an end to all types of pressure on citizens who use their democratic rights that do not constitute a crime.”

5 more students were taken into custody on grounds that they participated in the demo in Kadıköy staged in solidarity with the Boğaziçi University students. Making a statement on the subject, İstanbul Governorate said 5 people were detained and there was warrants against 3 more.

A citizens house was raided by the police who hung a banner on their window in solidarity with the Boğaziçi University students that reads, “Boğaziçi under siege”.

Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has said that Turkish authorities’ refusal to release him despite the ECHR ruling constitutes a “crime of coup.”

Covid-19: Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced that the country detected two cases of the South African variant of the coronavirus and one case of the Brazilian variant. 7,909 new infections and 113 death were registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 3 February 2021

Detained for the second time for joining the protests against the appointed rector of Boğaziçi University, 10 people have been placed under house arrest.

Regarding the Boğaziçi protests Soylu has argued that it is “fascistic approach” to say “You have appointed a trustee rector”. He has argued that 79 of the detained were “members of terrorist organizations.

HDP officials Sevim Akdağ and Hülya Ertaş who were taken into custody during an operation against the HDP Youth Council have been sent to prison.

Seven out of 10 people who were taken into custody in the Van-based police operations carried out on 28 January have been sent to prison, three were released on the condition of judicial control.

Re-trial of Turkish Medical Association Chair Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Reporters Without Borders Turkey representative Erol Önderoğlu and academic Ahmet Nesin for participating in the “Editors-in-Chief On Watch” campaign launched in solidarity with Özgür Gündem newspaper was held at İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court. Court rules to abide by the decision to overturn the acquittals, decides to seek Istanbul 23th High Criminal Court’s permission to merge the case with Özgür Gündem main trial and to notify witness Inan Kizilkaya for him to be heard next hearing. Trial adjourned until May.

Evrensel columnist Ceren Sözeri’s trial where she’s sued for 200k TRY by Turkuvaz Media for a column from April 2019 titled “Who made AKP lose votes” resumed before the İstanbul 2nd Commercial Court of First Instance. Court ruled to add heirs of recently deceased Evrensel propriator to the case and notify them of the case by sending a formal invite including petitions of both parties. The heirs will be given a chance to respond and defend themselves. Trial adjourned until July.

Second hearing of the trial where journalist Alican Uludağ uludag faces “identifying state officials on anti-terror duty as targets” charges for a tweet where he criticized Ankara Chief Prosecutor Yüksel Kocaman was held in Ankara. Court sentenced him to 10 months. The sentence is suspended.

According to HRW Turkish authorities and Turkey-backed rebel group Syrian National Army illegally transported at least 63 Syrian nationals (Kurds & Arabs) to Turkey in 2019 for prosecution on charges that could lead to life sentences.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 8,102 new infections and 117 deaths.

Turkey Today – 2 February 2021

A summary of proceedings seeking to have legislative immunity lifted for Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Dilan Dirayet Taşdemir because of supporting another HDP deputy’s hunger strike has been submitted to the parliament.

Trial where Medya Koridoru Editor-in-Chief Canan Kaya is sued by Demirören Media Conglomerate with a request for reparations resumes at Bakırköy 6th Civil Court of First Instance today. Kaya and 5 other company representatives are sued for a news report. Court rules to complete the documents still missing from the case-file and adjourns the trial until April.

The investigation against Mesopotamia News Agency reporter Mehmet Aslan, who has been detained since January 9, 2021 due to his journalistic activities, has been completed. The prosecutor who accused the reporter of ‘being a member of a terrorist organization’, claimed in the indictment that he was making news that provocate the masses.

Mesopotamia News Agency’s Managing Editor Ferhat Çelik was acquitted at the first hearing against him on grounds of an article titled ‘Bugs are fed to the prisoners in Bayburt’.

Detained by the police during their protests against the appointed rector at and outside the South Campus of Boğaziçi University, over 100 students have been released from detention after giving their statements.

Ankara police battered and detained a group of students protesting in support of Boğaziçi University’s resistance against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s rector appointment. Six students were reportedly detained, while one student got a broken tooth during the clashes.

Ruling AKP Chair and President Erdoğan says that if the party can reach consensus with the MHP, its ally in the People’s Alliance, an action can be taken to draft a new constitution for Turkey.

Covid-19: 7,795 new infections and 120 were registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 1 February 2021

Prisoner Şahin Gegez who was sentenced to 12 years of prison sentence back in 2012 for ‘being a member of a terrorist organization’ and whose sentence is finished, is not being released due to being sent to solitary confinement for disciplinary punishment.

Trial where journalist İdris Sayılğan faces “terrorist propaganda” charges resumed at Muş 2nd High Criminal Court today. Journalist Sayılğan, whom MLSA represents in court, faces the charge for seven photos he had posted on Facebook between Aug 2015 – March 2016. Court sentenced him to 4 years in prison.

Former mayor of Ankara Melih Gökçek threatens news anchor, journalist Nevsim Mengu on social media.

Former HDP PM Member Erol Çİftçi was forced to be an anonymous witness to testify against his friends he was detained with. Refusing the proposal, Çiftçi was threatened by the police.

Three MPs have resigned from the main opposition CHP to join a splinter movement led by Muharrem İnce, the party’s presidential candidate in the 2018 elections.

The accusations against a group of Boğaziçi University students were changed during their detention in order to pave the way for their arrest. The students, who were initially detained over “insulting religious values,” were accused of “inciting the public to hatred & enmity”.

MEPs Kati Piri, Sergey Lagodinsky, Nacho Sánchez Amor, Niyazi Kizilyurek, Michael Gahler & Hilde Vautmans, representing all big groups in the EP, call on EU governments to use all means to ensure Turkey’s compliance with ECtHR ruling to immediately release Selahattin Demirtas.

The ECtHR has asked Turkey to submit its defense regarding why former HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş is imprisoned in the case related to the 2014 Kobane protests.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 7,719 infections and 124 deaths in the last 24 hours.

EU Turkey Civic Commission
Twitter: @EUTCC1
Facebook: Eu Turkey Civic Commission


Turkey Weekly 8 – 14 February 2021

Turkey Today – 14 February 2021

Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar announced the conclusion of the military operation in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Turkish Armed Forces hit a camp where prisoners of war, incl 2 MIT directors, 9 police officers and soldiers, were kept. 13 of them were killed in the attacks.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor has opened investigations against HDP MPs Hüda Kaya and Ömer FarukGergerlioğlu. In tweets, they had expressed regret over the deaths of 13 soldiers and police officers and pointed out that the camp had been bombed by the Turkish army.

In Batman, police detained 7 people, among them Bekirhan Municipality Co-chair Gülistan Sönük and HDP Provincial Organization executive Murat Kılıç.

In Van, 27 people were taken into custody during police raids.

Nine women have been detained in house raids in Aydın province. The detained women are active members of the HDP.

Hakkari Governorship extended the ban on action and activities in the city for another 15 days.

Hunger strike in Turkish prisons against solitary confinement of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan enters day 80.

Turkish hacker group Anka Neferler Tim: “We blocked access to the homepage of Kati Piri, who is campaigning for the provocateurs of Boğaziçi and the terrorist Selo, and her party PvdA.”

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 6,287 new infections and 94 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 13 February 2021

Police battered and detained demonstrators in the western province of Bursa for protesting the president’s appointment of a party member as rector to Boğaziçi University.

The co-chair of the HDP Human Rights Commission said that at least 143 people, mostly youths, were arrested in police raids in İstanbul, Adana, Bursa, Kocaeli and Antep over the past two days.

Turkey’s military operations in the Gare mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan continue. Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and high-ranking generals visited Şırnak to be briefed on the offensive.

Relatives of soldiers captured by the PKK call for an end of the military offensive Turkish Armed Forces started in Kurdistan Iraq last week. The camp where PKK holds the soldiers was hit by the Turkish Army within the scope of the operation.

The Saturday Mothers came together in the 829th week to ask those responsible for the death of Ridvan Karakoç. Karakoç had been tortured to death in police custody 26 years ago.

The seriously ill 62 year old prisoner Ali Tetik, who has been imprisoned in Şakran for 6 years, is not released despite all demands. The necessary treatment is not carried out.

Covid-19: It could take up to two years for Turkey to vaccinate 60 million people at this rate, the Turkish Medical Association said. 7,706 new infections and 93 death were registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 12 February 2021

HDP Kars Provincial Co-chair Sevda Subaşı has been detained.

13 people were detained in home raids against HDP members in Kocaeli, including Youth Council members and former provincial administrators of the party.

Beyza Buldağ has been remanded in custody for allegedly running a Twitter account and creating a group on WhatsApp supporting the Boğaziçi protests. Court rejects appeal against student’s arrest.

Taha Hülagü, a university rector’s son, was appointed to the Presidency’s public diplomacy agency shortly after he graduated from university. A court has blocked access to reports about him Turkey.

The Human Rights Association has released its 2020 report on rights violations in Kurdish-majority regions
▶️ 100+ people subjected to torture & maltreatment
▶️ 16 civilians lost their lives in the conflict
▶️ Right to assembly often restricted

PACE co-rapporteurs for monitoring of Turkey Tom Hammarberg & John Howell
▶️ welcomed yesterday’s return of CHP MP @EnisBerberoglu1 to Parliament
▶️ refer to binding judgments of ECtHR, notably calling for the release of HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and philanthropist Osman Kavala

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 7,763 new infections and 97 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 11 February 2021

A group of academics from İstanbul University wanted to make a press statement in support of Boğaziçi University protests, but the police prevented them. So, the academics read it out while walking.

According to attorneys police threatened families of Boğaziçi University protesters with “ruining their children’s future”.

The trial where journalist Arif Aslan faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges resumed in Van. Aslan was arrested as a terror suspect on 30 March 2017 while shooting near the Van Municipality building for news. Court gave Aslan and his lawyer time to present their final defense statements, adjourned the trial until March.

Trial where journalist Melike Aydın faces “membership in a terror org” charges based on her phone convo’s with news sources and a book confiscated from her home titled “Color Purple of Kurdish Politics” was held in İzmir. Court adjourned the trial until June.

Thirteenth hearing of the trial where 27 defendants including journalist and translator Meşale Tolu faces “membership in a terrorist organization” and “terrorist propaganda” charges was held in Istanbul. Trial adjourned until September. Verdict is expected to be announced then.

Trial where Etkin Haber editor Semiha Şahin and reporter Pinar Gayip face “membership in a terrorist org.” and “propaganda” charges resumed in İstanbul. Hearing could not be heard due to two different panels of judges that are assigned to 23th High Criminal Court merging into one. Trial adjourned until April.

In a military operation launched by the Turkish Armed Forces, commando captain Burak Coşkun and sergeant major Harun Turhan have lost their lives and four soldiers have been wounded in northern Iraq.

US Department of State calls on Turkey to immediately release Osman Kavala from detention.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry slams US statement on Osman Kavala, calling for his immediate release: “Turkey is a state of law. No state or person can give orders to Turkish courts about judicial proceedings”.

50+ senators have written a letter to President Biden. They call for pressure on Turkey regarding human rights and appoint to President Erdoğan’s increasingly aggressive foreign policy.

Covid-19: “We aim to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the population.” Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said. 7,590 new infections and 94 death were registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 10 February 2021

An Istanbul court has ruled to release HDP İstanbul Provincial Co-chair Elif Bulut on parole, with an additional travel ban against her leaving the district she lives in.

Noting that democratic right to protest was exercised at Boğaziçi University, ruling AKP’s Spokesperson Çelik says that “what happened afterwards does not fall within the scope of democratic protest”.

Ege University Journalism 4th grade student Acıdere, who was detained while following the news during the protests at Boğaziçi University, was released with the judicial measure of house arrest.

Journalist Dindar Karataş was released at his first hearing, after being imprisoned for over two months on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization.”

Turkish Armed Forces started a new military offensive against Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Turkish airstrikes targeted some villages.
The offensive is a clear violation of international law & must be stopped immediately. The international community must take a clear position.

Human Rights School prepared a report, part of project by 🇪🇺 Instrument for Democracy & Human Rights & Capacity Building Association, reg pressure on academics in #Turkey
📌 Academic staff became an instrument of pressure in itself
📌 Academics censor their own course materials

ECtHR: Lawyer Ramazan Demir’s freedom to receive information violated while in pre-trial detention in 2016 on terrorism charges, when he was refused access to websites of ECHR & Turkey’s constitutional court & official gazette to use as resources for his & his clients’ defence. Demir represents several Kurdish politicians, including former Co-Chair of HDP Selahattin Demirtaş.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 8,642 new infections and 95 new deaths.

Turkey Today – 9 February 2021

HDP Bitlis Güroymak Municipality Council member Ekrem Yalçın was detained during a police raid on his home.

Trial where journalist Hatice Kamer faces “terror propaganda” charges for posting photos from HDP assemblies and press releases she followed as a reporter 5 years ago on her Twitter account was held in Diyarbakır. Journalist Hatice Kamer is acquitted. Kamer was previously acquitted in this case but an appellate court has recently overturned the decision. The prosecutor presented the final opinion today, demanded Kamer to be acquitted of all charges.

Trial where journo Caner Taşpınar is accused of insulting former Speaker of the Parliament İsmail Kahraman and AKP MP Ali İhsan Arslan in his book “Son-in-law: Fethullahists’ Fathers in Law from AKP” was held in İstanbul. Court accepted complainants’ request to intervene in the case since they might be affected by the alleged crime. Court rules to send the case-file over to the prosecutor for the final opinion to be drafted. Trial adjourned until July 1, 2021.

First hearing of the trial where imprisoned journalist Dindar Karataş faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges for his phone convo’s with colleagues and news sources was held in Erzurum. Court rules for his release. Karataş has been in detention for the past 76 days. Trial adjourned until May 27, 2021.

Evrensel newspaper columnist Ayşen Şahin was detained after her article calling on president to resign. She was reportedly accused of inciting public to hatred over social media posts. She has been released after giving her statement at the İstanbul Security Directorate.

Mısra Öz-Sel, who lost her nine-year-old son in the 2018 train derailment in Tekirdağ, has been sentenced to pay a fine for calling the judges who tried the case regarding the incident “three wise monkeys”.

Covid-19: 8,109 new infections and 98 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 8 February 2021

The court has given its ruling in the trial over the killing of two people in İstanbul’s Gazi Neighborhood. Police officers who opened fire on a vehicle and caused the death of two people “because they disobeyed the stop warning” will pay 24,300 lira.

Amid Boğaziçi protests the Sub-Governor’s Office of Kartal has banned all protest demonstrations and marches in the district for seven days.

Taken into custody for allegedly administering the “Boğaziçi Solidarity” Twitter account, Beyza Buldağ has been arrested for “provoking the public to hatred, enmity and hostility” and “provoking to commit crimes.”

Turkish authorities have inspected 1,264 social media accounts over the past week and detained 39 users for allegedly “conducting terror propaganda,” according to a statement released by the Interior Ministry.

Ibrahim Bilmez, attorney of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan, points out that isolation in Imrlai deepened after the report CPT released in August. The CPT had come to the conclusion that “all prisoners were being held in solitary confinement for most of the time”.

The prosecutor’s office has pronounced its opinion as to the second ruling of right violation given for dismissed CHP MP Berberoğlu. The office has requested that the court accept the request for retrial and halt the proceedings in the retrial.

Today, Peoples’ Democratic Party launched its fourth-month campaign entitled “Justice for all”. Details of the campaign shared by Co-Chairs Pervin Buldan & Mithat Sancar.

Women’s Human Rights – New Solutions (KİH-YÇ) Association published a report entitled “Being a Woman During the Pandemic”
▶️ Difficulties in accessing healthcare services during the pandemic.
▶️ They have become poorer.
▶️ Violence inside the houses is still going on.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 8,103 new infections and 103 deaths in the last 24 hours.