March 2021

Turkey Today – 31 March 2021

HDP MP Gergerlioğlu has been stripped of his mandate as a member of parliament has ended his Justice Watch at HDP headquarters. 

The Constitutional Court has rejected an application demanding the annulment of the revocation of the parliamentary status of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu of the HDP due to lack of jurisdiction.

After the Constitutional Court has returned the indictment of the closure case filed against the HDP due to procedural deficiencies, MHP leader Bahçeli demands the closure of the court.

The Education and Science Laborers’ Union (Eğitim-Sen) has appealed to the Council of State and filed an annulment action against Turkey’s withdrawal from İstanbul Convention by a Presidential decision.

Court sentences Nagehan Alçı to a judicial fine of 7080 TRY for “publicly insulting a public official due to their duty.” Alçı was accused of insulting former Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court judge Hakan Yalçınkaya in her column from June 15, 2018.
Free Women’s Movement TJA Spokesperson Ayşe Gökkan was not allowed to plead in Kurdish at court. Gökkan protested the court decision that she can’t plead in Kurdish except for the first and the last hearings.

TJA activist Gülcihan Şimşek was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months in prison over press releases and events she had attended.

Philippe Dam, Europe & Central Asia Division of Human Rights Watch: The bolder Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gets, the quieter the European Union.

US Department of State has released its 2020 country report on human rights practices in Turkey:

Covid-19: In response to a question regarding the “jam-packed” AKP congresses amid the pandemic, Turkey’s Health Minister Koca has said, “I am of the opinion that keeping this issue on the agenda doesn’t help anyone.” Health Ministry reported 39,302 new infections and 152 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 30 March 2021

Within the scope of the investigation carried out by the Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against the Çukurova Federation of Prisoner’ Families Legal and Solidarity Associations (TUHAD-FED), many addresses were raided by the police. 9 people were detained during the raids. 

Emine and Ferit Şenyaşar, who were detained in front of the Urfa Courthouse on the 22nd day of their search for justice, were released.

Attorneys of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan applied to Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to meet with their clients.

Painted in rainbow colors by students, the stairs at METU campus in Ankara have been painted in gray by university administration. 
Final declaration of HDP Party Assembly meeting on 28-29 March- The people hold on to their own political will & future.- This is not a simple dissolution case but a sweeping operation to nullify the forces of democracy.

Covid-19: Fifty-eight of the 81 provinces of Turkey have been classified as “very high risk zones” due to the increase in Covid cases. The Ministry of Health has not yet published the figures.

Turkey Today – 29 March 2021

Speaking before the Party Assembly meeting, HDP Co-Chair Sancar said, “HDP is a strong line of thought. For this reason, they cannot close the HDP. The effort to close it is just an open confession of the fact that their own power is coming to an end.”

Lawyers from the Diyarbakır Bar Association have applied to Turkey’s Ministry of Interior and requested that Kurdish be added to the Women’s Emergency Support (KADES) application. 
After a newspaper targeted its elective course on gender equality, the University of Health Sciences in İstanbul has launched an inquiry into the course. 

Academics from Boğaziçi University applied to the council of state for the annulment of the Presidential Decree which enabled for the establishment of law and communication faculties at the university after Melih Bulu was appointed as the rector to Boğaziçi University.

Women’s branch of CHP has applied to the Council of State, demanding the annulment of the presidential decision withdrawing Turkey from the İstanbul Convention on combatting violence against women.
Next week Tuesday April 6 President of European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Comission von der Leyen will travel to Turkey for a meeting with president Erdogan. 

Covid-19: According to İstanbul Medical Chamber Secretary General Prof. Küçükosmanoğlu pandemic units in İstanbul hospitals are full, new ones are opened. Health Ministry reported 32,404 new infections and 154 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Weekly 22 – 28 March 2021

Turkey Today – 28 March 2021

Hunger strike in Turkish prisons against solitary confinement of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan enters day 122.

The human rights association IHD has once again drawn attention to the precarious situation in prisons regarding sick prisoners.

10 kolber (cross-boarder labor) were arrested by Turkish soldiers at the Turkish-Iranian border. They were taken out of the region by helicopter. Their current whereabouts are unknown.

Covid-19: The Ministry of Health has not yet published the figures.

Turkey Today – 27 March 2021

Erdoğan on withdrawal from İstanbul Convention “The Istanbul Convention withdrawal is entirely legal, the opposition doesn’t know the job. We made our call, we left the convention as we entered it. We let them know of our decision, so it’s a done deal”.

Over 40 Boğaziçi students detained for protesting former pride flag detentions.

Women celebrating March 8 in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) party building in Osmaniye were fined for not following the “physical distance” rules.

Stating that the phone call with Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan was a provocation, HDP Urfa Deputy Ömer Öcalan said: “It made us more concerned. We can’t obtain any information on the life and health conditions of Mr. Öcalan.”

Several Turkish prisoners have reported that they were suffering from scabies and that the jail administrations were not replying to their demands to be properly treated.

Covid-19: 30,021 new infections and 151 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 26 March 2021

The 131st hearing was held today in the trial of public officials over the assasination of journalist Hrant Dink. 37 defendants have been acquitted and 26 have been convicted. Four have been given a life sentence and two an aggravated life sentence.

HDP has filed a criminal complaint against the public prosecutor who gave the instruction for detaining HDP’s dismissed Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu at the Parliament during his justice watch.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced that the ministry had launched an investigation into Bilecik CHP Mayor Semih Şahin over a poster defending the İstanbul Convention which the municipality placed on billboards throughout the province.

Following the police attack against the students of Boğaziçi University, Artı Gerçek reporter Yağmur Kaya was detained.

19 people were sentenced to a total of 7 years 9 months of prison sentence for attending October 10 memorial for those who lost their lives at the bomb attack by ISIS on October 10, 2015 in Ankara Station Square.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 29,081 new infections and 153 deaths.

Turkey Today – 25 March 2021

Trial where 46 defendants, who were detained at the 700th week meeting of Saturday Mothers are facing charges of “resisting the police” began in İstanbul. Human Rights Association Co-Chair lawyer Öztürk Türkdoğan requested the immediate acquittal of defendants; the judge has rejected the request. Trial adjourned until July.

Joint statement by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Front Line Defenders on today’s trial against Saturday Mothers

Asrin Law Office stated that there had been a brief phone conversation between Abdullah Öcalan, who is being held in solitary confinement since 1999, and his brother. However, this was interrupted after a very short time. Information on his state of health could not be obtained.

Staging a sit-in protest for justice in front of Urfa Courthouse, Emine Şenyaşar and Ferit Şenyaşar have been detained again.

Four students were detained at the gates of Boğaziçi University for carrying pride flags on March 25, when they had gathered to voice their support for a student who was facing disciplinary action for the same reason.

MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli has accused a German Left Party lawmaker of being “a certified enemy of Turkishness and Turkey” after she referred to the MHP as a “fascist” party.

The Constitutional Court will examine the law suit to ban HDP for the 1st time on March 31.
▶️ completely banning HDP political
▶️ ban requests against some 600 names for 5 yrs
▶️ deprivation of treasury aid
▶️ cessation of membership registration to the party

Covid-19: “442 teachers and 324 students have been infected with in a week,” says Education Union Chair Prof. Kurul. The Ministry of Health has not yet published the current figures.

Turkey Today – 24 March 2021

The minister of family, labor and social services has defended İstanbul Convention exit saying violence is caused by alcohol.

Statement by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, the Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and other UN and regional human rights experts on withdraw from the Istanbul Convention.

The Court of Cassation’s chief public prosecutor has demanded that Canan Kaftancıoğlu, head of CHP’s Istanbul branch, be sentenced to eight years and two months in prison over her old tweets.

The trial where journalist Buse Soğütlü is accused of “disclosing the identity of a public official on anti-terrorist duty, identifying them as a target” for a tweet does not resume today, next hearing will be held on April 14, 2021 in İstanbul.

First hearing of the trial where journo Perihan Kaya faces “terror propaganda” & “membership in a terrorist organization” charges based on her social media posts, phone convo’s and secret witness testimonies was held in Diyarbakır. Court sentences journalist Perihan Kaya to 1 year and 3 months in prison. Her sentence is not deferred based on the fact that Kaya committed a similar offense in the past.

Ahead of tomorrow’s European Council meeting, The Global Network for Press Freedom calls on EU leaders Charles Michel, Ursula von der Leyen, Josep Borrell to insist on improved press freedom record in Turkey as condition for improvement in relations.

Statement by the EP Standing Rapporteur for Turkey Nacho Sánchez Amor and the Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Sergey Lagodinsky, ahead of the European Council meeting.

Statement by HRW on latest developments in Turkey on the occasion of European Council’s meeting

Constitutional Court has concluded that the administrative court’s dismissal of the suit for damages filed by the family of Demir, who was shot to death during Kobanê protests, violated the right to a fair trial.

Boğaziçi University Rectorate has launched an investigation against a student for opening an LGBTI+ flag at campus during protests.

Covid-19: 29,762 new infections and 146 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 23 March 2021

The “Justice Watch” launched by the HDP in the Parliament will continue at the party’s Headquarters.

HDP applied to the Constitutional Court (AYM) for the nullification of the decision to strip Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu of his status as an MP.

“I won’t turn myself in, they can come and take me by force,” says HDP’s Gergerlioğlu, stripped of his MP status.

HDP MP Feleknas Uca sent a memo to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe’s Equality and Prevention of Discrimination Commission and informed them about the withdrawal of Turkey from the İstanbul Convention.

Press briefing notes on Turkey by spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Commissioner

Foreign Affairs Council: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the press conference

Three suspects have been taken into custody over the attack on journalist Levent Gültekin, who was assaulted by around 25 people.

Hüseyin Gör from Hatay, who was on trial for “insulting” Presidential Communication Director Fahrettin Altun, was sentenced to 8 months and 25 days in prison without trial.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 26,182 new infections and 138 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 22 March 2021

Children and Women First Association filed an annulment case at the Council of State against the Presidential Decree that withdrew from the Istanbul Convention.

In a statement about Turkey’s withdrawal from Istanbul Convention, Presidential Communications Directorate argues that it was “hijacked by a group of people attempting to normalize homosexuality”.

Council of Europe leaders react to Turkey’s announced withdrawal from the İstanbul Convention.

HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who was stripped of from his status as a member of the parliament recieved a notification informing him that he must ‘surrender’ in 10 days to serve his 2 years 6 months prison sentence.

After allegations that Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan had died, his family and lawyers made a third application to the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, demanding an “urgent meeting”.

The sit in launched by the Şenyaşar Family in front of the Urfa Courthouse is on its 14th day. Mother Şenyaşar said: “I want those who murdered my children to be arrested. I will not leave here even if I was killed.” Emine Şenyaşar’s husband Hacı Esevt Şenyaşar and two sons Celal and Adil Şenyaşar was murdered by the bodyguards and relatives of an AKP MP.

Seven people, four arrested, face up to 11 years in prison for protesting the appointed rector of Boğaziçi in Kadıköy; the students of the university will boycott the classes for 6 days for their 6 arrested friends.

The closure case against the HDP “aims to make the AKP win the election,” says HDP’s jailed former Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, answering the questions of bianet: “A way out will be found in any case”

Covid-19: 22,216 new infections and 117 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Weekly 15 – 21 March 2021

Turkey Today – 21 March 2021

Staging a sit in at the parliament after he was stripped of from his status as an MP, HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was detained at parliament by the police while he was going to the bathroom early this morning. 

HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who was detained at the parliament early in the morning, was released.
Hundreds of thousands celebrated Newroz in Turkey today. Central topics were the solitary confinement on Abdullah Öcalan, the withdrawal of Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu’s mandate as a member of parliament and the banning of the HDP.
4 years ago, 23-year-old Kemal Kurkut was shot dead by police during Newroz celebration in Diyarbakır. While the perpetrators are at large, @arahmangok, the journalist who photographed the crime faces 20 years in prison.

The hunger strike prisoners started against the isolation on Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan continues on day 115. 

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has ordered four provincial borders to be changed in two presidential decrees. 

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was detained by police a day after MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli said, “This filthy individual needs to be removed from parliament urgently.”

Statement by HDP’s Women Assembly on the withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention

Statement by U.S. President Biden on Turkey’s Withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention

Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell on Turkey’s withdrawal of the Istanbul Convention

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 20,428 new infections and 102 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 20 March 2021

A new chapter of “Human Rights Action Plan”: With a Presidential decree issued by ruling AKP Chair & President Eroğan and published in the Official Gazette, Turkey has withdrawn its signature from the Convention on Preventing & Combating Violence Against Women & Domestic Violence

Women in many cities protest against the withdrawal from the İstanbul Convention by presidential decree.

The Turkish Interior Minister has defended the exit from the Istanbul Convention: “We will become a role model worldwide”.

Council of Europe Secretary General responds to Turkey‘s announced withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention.

Taken into custody yesterday, Human Rights Association Co-Chair Öztürk Türkdoğan has been released on probation. 
Scores of people including Kurdish writer Adil Başaran and HDP Provincial Deputy Co-Chair Ahmet Eken was detained in an operation early this morning.
Government takes over Gezi Park from İstanbul Municipality, hands it over to “non-existent” foundation. 

Erdoğan ousts Central Bank governor after unexpected rate hike. 

Covid-19: 21,061 new infections and 95 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 19 March 2021

Constitutional Court President Zühtü Arslan appointed a reporter in the case filed with the request of the closure of the HDP. 

In operations targeting the HDP in İstanbul, Ankara, Eskişehir and Adana provinces, several party executives have been taken into custody. 

Urgent Appeal: Co-Chairperson Öztürk Türkdoğan should immediately be released.

Applying to the CPT, Asrın Law Office invited CPT urgently to duty regarding the allegations about the health and security of their client PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 21,030 new infections and 87 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 18 March 2021

In the indictment regarding the application for closure of the HDP to the Constitutional Court, a political ban for 5 years was requested against 687 people including HDP Co-Chairs Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar. 
Amid criticisms about the closure case against the HDP and Gergerlioğlu’s expulsion from Parliament, the Foreign Ministry urges everyone to “respect the legal proceedings carried out by independent courts”. 

The indictment on the HDP ban demands a ban on political activity for 687 politicians. After the military coup in 1980, 242 bans were imposed. 
Statement by HDP Co-Chairs Pervin Buldan & Mithat Sancar on closure case against HDP

Statement by HDP Foreign Affairs Spokespersons Feleknas Uca & Hişyar Özsoy on revocation of MP Gergerlioğlu’s parliamentary membership

Statement by U.S. Department of State on revocation of MP Gergerlioğlu and closure case against HDP

Joint Statement by the HR/VP Josep Borrell & Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi on latest actions regarding the HDP

Statement by Socialist and Democrats Group in the European Parliament on the new crackdown on the HDP, following the news that Turkey’s Court of Cassation prosecutor has filed an indictment seeking the dissolution of HDP, the third-largest party in Turkey’s parliament
Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan’s family, lawyers and guardian made a third application to the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, demanding an “urgent meeting”. 

Trial where journalist Arif Aslan faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges resumed in Van. Aslan is accused of shooting a video near the Van Municipality building in March 2017 for a news report. Court acquits the journalist.  

Trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Hazal Ocak, Managing Editor Olcay Büyüktaş, editor İpek Özbey & photojournalist Vedat Arık are accused of “identifying state officials on anti-terror duty as targets” & “violation of privacy” was held in İstanbul. Court accepted Fahrettin Altun’s request to intervene in the case and ruled to send the case-file over to the prosecutor’s office for the final opinion as to the accusations to be prepared. Trial adjourned until June. 
Human Rights Association published “2020 Women’s Rights Report”▶️ at least 1,075 subjected to economic, physical, psychological, sexual violence, harassment or threat▶️ at least 41 were driven to suicide▶️ at least 178 were suspiciously found dead.

Covid-19: 20,049 new infections and 81 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 17 March 2021

The chief prosecutor’s office of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has asked country’s top court to shut down Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). 

HDP Kocaeli MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his status as member of parliament.

7 Boğaziçi University students appeared before the court for “provoking the public to hatred” charges. Students are charged for a work of art included in an on-campus exhibition. 2 students are in pre-trial detention, 2 are in house arrest. The indictment claims that the rainbow flag represents “images relating to homosexuality and other sexual orientations, which are strictly forbidden by the Islamic religious doctrine.” Furthermore, the Shahmaran image is claimed to contradict monotheist principles. 

Journalist Ali Ergin Demirhan, the editorial board member and editor of news website, has been sentenced to pay a judicial fine of 7 thousand lira on charge “insulting the President.” 

The Governor’s Office of Turkey’s eastern province of Hakkari has banned events and demonstrations such as protest marches, sit-ins, press statements and opening stands for a period of 15 days, which also covers Newroz to be celebrated on March 21, 2021.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 18,912 new infections and 73 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 16 March 2021

There has been no response yet to the urgent application of the lawyers of PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan to the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Justice. 

The main trial of jailed former HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş continues at the Ankara 19th Heavy Penal Court. Demirtaş stated: “You interfered with Turkey’s will. You political spokespersons Erdoğan, Bahçeli and Soylu say and you do what is required.”

Trial where journalists Aziz Oruç and Ersin Çaksu face denigrating the Turkish nation charges for news reports published in Özgürlükçü Demokrasi in 21 Oct – 1 Nov 2016 was held in İstanbul. The court decided to wait for the execution of the arrest warrant in the name of journalist Ersin Çaksu and adjourned the hearing until July.

23rd hearing of the trial where since shuttered Dicle News Agency’s (DİHA) former reporter Engin Eren faces “membership in a terrorist organization” charges resumed in Batman. A new prosecutor was temporarily appointed to the case today, requested extra time to prepare the final opinion as to the accusations. The court accepted this request and adjourned the trial until June. 

Eighth hearing of the 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 court ruled for the acquittal of journalist and sentenced the other defendant, Mustafa Çukur, to 1 year 6 months and 22 days in prison. Çukur’s sentence was deferred. 

5th hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Seyhan Avşar & Sözcü Managing Editor Necdet Önemli face “disclosing the ID of a public officer on anti-terror duty” charges for a story published in March 2019 was held in İstanbul. Court acquits journalists on the grounds that the elements of the crime have not been constituted. 
Third hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet Managing Editor Olcay Büyüktaş and former reporter Alican Uludag face “publishing the identity of an informant on anti-terrorist duty and identifying them as a target” charges was held in İstanbul. The court stated that Ankara 4th High Criminal Court had sent a copy of the indictment of the Ankara train station bombing court case between hearings. The Istanbul court decided to examine the case until the next hearing, adjourns the trial until June. 

Covid-19: 16,749 new infections and 71 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 15 March 2021

Asrın Law Office made a written statement reg allegations about life of PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan shared on social media accounts yesterday and applied for urgent visit. The last visit was in August 2017, first and last phone call in April 2020. His family is also denied visits.

Speaking about the allegations on the social media regarding PKK Leader Abdullah Öcalan, his brother Mehmet Öcalan said they were not able to see him for a year now and added: “We are concerned. THe government is responsible.”

Losing her husband Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and her sons Adil and Celal Şenyaşar in the attack carried out by AKP MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız’s bodyguards and relatives, Emine Şenyaşar has been staging a sit in in front of the Urfa Courthouse for the last 7 days. She was taken into custody by the police today at noon and taken to Urfa Security Directorate on charge of ‘insulting a public official’. Emine Şenyaşar was released after giving her statement to the police. 

AKP Group Deputy Chair Zengin has argued that “the practice of strip search does not mean that it is a subject of human rights violation,” adding that “she doesn’t say there is no such search in Turkey at all”. 
Covid-19: Schools have been quarantined in Turkey in a week, shows a recent report on face-to-face education amid Covid pandemic. Health Ministry reported 15,503 infections and 63 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Weekly 8 – 14 March 2021

Turkey Today – 14 March 2021

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor has launched an investigation against HDP MP Berdan Öztürk for alleged terrorist propaganda.

Hunger strike in Turkish prisons against solitary confinement of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan enters day 108.

In a joint statement, 14 bar associations from south-eastern Turkey have demanded that the hunger strikers’ demands be met.

The Bolu F-type Prison in Turkey has banned prisoners from reading the Xwebûn newspaper because Kurdish was deemed a “foreign language”.

This weekend first Newroz fires lit in various cities of Turkey.

Emine Şenyaşar launched sit-in in front of the courthouse in Urfa 5 days ago demanding justice after the triple murder of her husband Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar and her sons Adil and Celal Şenyaşar by the bodyguards and relatives of AKP Deputy İbrahim Halil Yıldız.

European Parliament @Europarl_EN resolution on the Syrian conflict
▶️ Calls on Turkey to withdraw its troops from Northern Syria which it is illegally occupying outside of any UN mandate
▶️ Condemns Turkey’s illegal transfers of Kurdish Syrians from occupied Northern Syria to Turkey for detention & prosecution in violation of Turkey’s international obligations under Geneva Conventions
▶️ Urges that all Syrian detainees who have been transferred to Turkey be immediately repatriated to the occupied territories in Syria
▶️ Is worried that Turkey’s ongoing displacements could amount to ethnic cleansing against the Syrian Kurdish population
▶️ Stresses that Turkey’s intervention has weakened international efforts against ISIL/Daesh
▶️ Firmly condemns Turkey’s use of Syrian mercenaries in conflicts in Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, in violation of international law

Covid-19: 13,378 new infections and 68 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 13 March 2021

The Turkish army has launched an offensive in Lice. Helicopters are also being used.

The house of Turgut İncel, CHP chairman of the Hazro district of Diyarbakır, was raided by the police last night. According to the CHP Diyarbakır chairperson, weapons were pointed at his children.

In Sirnak prison, the inmates’ cells were searched. The Kurdish language books were confiscated.

22 February – 7 March Media Monitoring Database summary
▶️ 28 journalists stood trial with 16 facing “terror” charges
▶️ Websites of two news agencies were banned
▶️ One journalist was ordered to pay damages to a military firm, two were acquitted of insulting Erdoğan

Covid-19: Prof. Dr. Mehmet Ceyhan, the head of the Infectious Diseases Association, has warned that Turkey can turn into a hub from where COVID-19 mutant viruses spread if the country continues to ease the restrictions. Health Ministry reported 15,082 new infections and 65 deaths.

Turkey Today – 12 March 2021

Kars Municipality co-mayor Şevin Alaca, who was dismissed from office by the AKP-MHP government and replaced by a trustee, remains in prison after court opposed her release.

4th hearing of the trial where Cumhuriyet reporter Seyhan Avşar & Sözcü Managing Editor Necdet Önemli face “disclosing the ID of a public officer on anti-terror duty” charges for a story published in March 2019 was held in İstanbul. Defense is granted time to prepare the final statements, trial adjourned until March 16.

In Şırnak, HDP Women’s Council sent postcards to women in Bayburt Women’s Closed Prison to celebrate March 8 in solidarity. However the postcards were returned to senders on grounds that the revievers were not recognized by the prison administration.

Turkey Council of Europe ministers urge for immediate release of Demirtas & call for all negative consequences of violations be eliminated without delay, incl 3 pending proceedings examined by the Court; next examination in June 2021

Covid-19: 14,941 new infections and 66 deaths registered in the 24 last hours.

Turkey Today – 11 March 2021

12 women were detained for participating in the Feminist Night March and “insulting the President” with their slogans in İstanbul on 8 March. It was stated that the women were strip searched.

Four people, including HDP Haliliye District Co-chair Hatice Göktepe, were detained in house raids in Urfa.

İbrahim Kortak, father of Dilan Kortak who was killed by the police during a raid on her home on December 3, 2015, in İstanbul will stand trial once again with the accusation of ‘propagandizing a terrorist organization’ for speaking at her daughter’s funeral.

Emrah Doğan, the elder brother of Dilek Doğan, who was killed by the police in 2015, has been sentenced to 19 years, 7 months in prison on charge of “membership of an organization” and “threat.”

A burial site for Armenian and Catholic citizens in Ankara is being destroyed by the construction of stores. Bones found on the construction site were sent to a lab at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, the Ankara Architects Chamber said.

Nils Muižnieks, Director, Europe Regional Office, Amnesty International Time for dither & delay with Turkey’s rights record is over

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 14,046 infections and 63 deaths.

Turkey Today – 10 March 2021

Third hearing of the trial where Nagehan Alçı is accused of insulting former Istanbul 37th High Criminal Court judge Hakan Yalçınkaya in a column in 2018 was held in Istanbul. Court ruled 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 March.

Members of the Parliament approved the proposal foreseeing the establishment of a Parliamentary Commission to “investigate the reasons behind violence against women and to specify the measures that need to be taken” within this context.

HDP MP Kılıç Koçyiğit asks why Kurdish, the second most widely spoken language in Turkey, is not among the languages added to the Interior Ministry’s Women’s Emergency Support (KADES) application.

Twitter has suspended the account of the Boğaziçi University rector’s office after the prestigious school experienced more than two months of protests against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s appointment of a government loyalist as the new rector.

Germany Europe Minister Michael Roth has held a video call with HDP co-chairs Pervin Buldan & Mithat Sancar: Freedom of speech and human rights aren’t just nice to have: they are fundamental components of democracy and rule of law.

CoE Media Freedom:
Turkey: Several journalists detained, physically assaulted covering Women’s March
Alert submitted by @globalfreemedia and @article19org

CoE Commissioner for Human Rights: Turkish authorities should refrain from further restricting NGOs activities & freedom of association in the name of counterterrorism. See the exchange of letters with the Minister of Interior of Turkey

Covid-19: 14,556 new infections and 67 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 9 March 2021

Hearing of the trial where Mesopotamia Agency reporters Sadik Topaloğlu and Sadiye Eser faces terror-related charges was held in İstanbul. Trial adjourned to June.

Journalist Levent Gültekin attacked by 25 people days after criticizing MHP founder Alparslan Türkeş.

Twelfth hearing of the trial where journo Kibriye Evren faces terror-related charges for her journalistic activities and social media posts was held in Diyarbakır. She was in pre-trial detention for 13 months, was released on Nov 11, 2019. Court requested the police to investigate the individuals whose names are mentioned in the case-file and decided to rule on the request to merge this case with another ongoing case of Evren that’s held in Mersin in between hearings. Trial adjourned until June.

Attorneys representing the victims of the 2015 Ankara Massacre are concerned about an entirely new panel of judges who were assigned to the case on Dec. 24, 2020. There are more than 300 pieces of evidence in the case where over 100 people died, the attorneys said, noting that they are concerned that the new appointments will hinder the delivery of justice for the victims.
The body of Kurdish fighter Sozdar Aslan, who died in a skirmish in October 2019, has only now been handed over to his family.

CHP İstanbul MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu published “March 8 International Women’s Day, Violation of Women’s Rightss in Turkey” report’s findings: Since AKP came to power in 2002
▶️ 6,732 women killed by men
▶️ 3,000 children, including 800 babies are staying with 17,000 women prisoners

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 13,755 new infections and 66 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Turkey Today – 8 March 2021

On the occasion of International Women’s Day Feminist Night Marches started in many cities including Ankara, İzmir and İstanbul.

In İstanbul roads to Taksim Square to be closed ahead of Feminist Night March on Womens Day. They will reportedly allowed to read out a statement on Sıraselviler Street.

Fourth hearing of the trial where Oda TV Ankara News Director Muyesser Yıldız & Tele1comtr Ankara representative Ismail Dükel are accused of “military espionage” was held in Ankara. Court sentences Muyesser Yildiz to 3 years 7 months and 10 days in prison. Ismail Dükel ukel is sentenced to 1 year and 15 days.

Transfer of prisoners continues: Fifty prisoners in Type D Closed Prison in Diyarbakır were transferred to another prison on the same campus.

Covid-19: The figures have not yet been published by Health Ministry.

Turkey Weekly 1 – 7 March 2021

Turkey Today – 7 March 2021

Police attacked the 8 March women’s march in İstanbul. 8 women were arrested. They have since been released but banned from leaving the country.
Police in the eastern province of Van have prevented HDP deputy Murat Sarısaç from speaking to reporters.

Boğaziçi University’s appointed rector dismissed the election for the head of the university’s Institute for Graduate Studies in Social Sciences. He rather appointed his deputy as the institute’s new head. 
Hunger strike in Turkish prisons against solitary confinement of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan entered day 101. 
Covid-19: According to the Turkish Medical Association, numbers have increased by 100 per cent in some places. Health Ministry reported 11,187 new infections and 65 deaths.

Turkey Today – 6 March 2021

Upon the call of the İstanbul March 8 Women’s Platform, women from all around İstanbul met in Kadıköy ahead of International Women’s Day. 

The Ministry of Justice anwswered the question of HDP MP Ayşe Acar Başaran regarding the isolation in İmralı and the violation of rights in prisons: Isolation and violations of rights are within the scope of “questions that cannot be asked”.

Eight administrators and members of HDP were taken into custody in Mersin on March 2 on the instruction of Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The detainees were referred to courthouse where an additional arrest warrant has been issued, while the reason for the arrest was not disclosed.
“No sign” of an explosion or blast was observed in the wreckage of the fallen Turkish military helicopter in Bitlis, claims the Turkish National Defence Ministry.
A Turkish lieutenant has been arrested in Hatay with 82 kilograms of marijuana in his luggage. Pre-trial detention has been ordered against the military man, who is a guard commander on the Turkish-Syrian border. 

Covid-19: Turkish Health Ministry bans resignation of healthcare staff in new circular. 11,770 new infections and 64 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 5 March 2021

In Hrant Dink murder case, the final hearing has been adjourned as one of the judges was on leave with a medical report. 

HDP deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu has petitioned Turkey’s Constitutional Court, claiming that his right to freedom of expression was violated over a prison sentence handed down to him on terror-related charges.

All roads leading to HDP Van Provincial Organization building was blockaded by the police. Pedestrians are not allowed to cross. 

Two more people have been remanded in custody in the operation targeting MEBYA-DER, an association of solidarity for families who have lost relatives.

President Erdoğan said that he envisages a Turkey without the main opposition CHP, accusing the party of “abusing” some citizens of the country.

Eleven soldiers, including a lieutenant general, have lost their lives after a helicopter crashed in the eastern Bitlis province. 

ARTICLE 19, Human Rights Watch, International Commission of Jurists, International Federation for Human Rights, & Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project: @coe body should require #Turkey to implement Demirtaş judgment

Covid-19: At least 21 journalists died of coronavirus in Turkey. Health Ministry reported 11,302 new infections and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 4 March 2021

An investigation has been launched against HDP Batman Provincial Organization, which shared footage of the armored vehicle trying to run over children in Batman on February 28 with the accusation of “inciting the people to hatred and hostility”.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Mardin MP Pero Dündar was accused of organizing and participating in a protest she never attended because she was in prison at the time.

Prisoners who rejected to stand up during count in Isparta Type E Closed Prison were beaten by the guards.

Trial of ArtiTV Ankara correspondent Sibel Hürtas & journalist Hayri Demir resumed in Ankara. Hürtaş and Demir are among 11 defendants who stand trial for their social media posts criticizing the military operation in Afrin. Court will wait for the Justice Ministry’s permission to prosecute the journalists per “denigrating the Turkish nation” charge.

Third hearing of the trial where journalist Oktay Candemir faces “insulting the President” charges for a critical tweet he had posted on September 5, 2019 was held in Van. The journalist is acquitted, court rules that there is no basis for the accusation. 
Tenth 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 resumed in Diyarbakır. Court ruled to ask Tekirdağ No. 2 Closed Prison in writing to have witness Yusuf Bayram ready to testify via SEGBIS video-conference link in the next hearing, adjourned the trial until May.
Dicle Fırat Journalists Association (DFG) announced its February 2021 report on violations of the rights of journalists: 

📌 6 journalists were detained

📌 1 journalist was arrested 

📌 6 journalists were sentenced to 26 years in prison Bianet Male Violence Monitor February Report

📌 33 women killed

 📌 57 women subjected to violence

📌 12 women raped

📌 9 women harassed 

📌 104 women forced to sex work

Covid-19: The figures for the last 24 hours have not yet been published.

Turkey Today – 3 March 2021

HDP will be closed down “both legally and politically,” Cahit Özkan, the parliamentary group deputy chair of the ruling AKP, said. Özkan’s statements come after the Court of Cassation launched an inquiry into the HDP.

Eight more MPs, including CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu, HDP MPs Feleknas Uca, İmam Tascıer & DBP MP Saliha Aydeniz, face losing legislative immunity.

With a ruling handed down by the Osmaniye 1st Penal Judgeship of Peace, an access block has been imposed on the website of Mezopotamya Agency. It is the second access block toMA in a week. Access to the agency’s website was blocked for the 28th time. 

Second hearing of the trial where journalist Nurcan Yalçın faces “membership in a terrorist org” and “making terror propaganda” charges as part of the investigation launched against Rosa Women’s Association was held in Diyarbakır. Court rejects journalist Yalçın’s lawyer’s request to extend the prosecution, claiming it would not affect the outcome. Court rules to send the case-file to the prosecutor’s office for the final opinion as to the accusations to be drafted, trial adjourned until June.
The application of Kurdish political leader Abdullah Öcalan’s attorneys to meet with their client was again rejected.

MEBYA-DER (Solidarity with Families Who Lost Relatives in the Cradle of Civilizations and Culture Association) executive 79 year old Meryem Soylu and 71 year old Hatun Aslan who were detained in during a police raid on February 27 were arrested by the court yesterday for allagedly ‘being a member of a terrorist organization’. 
Recovering after a 215-day death fast, imprisoned lawyer Aytaç Ünsal is not provided with the drugs prescribed by doctors, his attorney has said. 

The Turkish Medical Association has pointed out that the vaccination rate among the elderly and health workers is significantly lower in the eastern and southeastern regions (Kurdish majority regions).

Covid-19: 11,520 new infections and 65 deaths registered in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 2 March 2021

Police carried out a raid against Erzurum’s Karaçoban Municipality run by Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) early this morning. Co-Mayor Halit Uğun was detained with a raid on his home.  

Police raided some houses at night in Mersin. Six people, among them Cabbar Karabey and Zozan Ilgen, former directors of HDP,  and the President of the Precarious Workers Association (GİŞ-DER) Abdülselam Kutlu were detained during the operation which is part of an investigation conducted by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Erdoğan’s ally Bahçeli has once again called on the top courts to take action to close down the HDP. 

The Erdoğan appointed Boğaziçi University rector has dismissed the election for the head of the university’s social sciences institute and appointed his deputy, a physicist, instead. 

Boğaziçi University academics apply to top court to have rector Melih Bulu’s appointment reversed. 
170 U.S. lawmakers urge Biden administration to push Turkey on rights.

Covid-19: Health Ministry reported 11,837 new infections and 68 deaths in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey Today – 1 March 2021

Caize Yarıcı, HDP’s Aydın provincial chairwoman, has filed a complaint against local police in Turkey’s western province of Aydın for an unlawful strip-search conducted at a police station after she and other HDP members were detained in mid-February.

Answering a Parliamentary question of CHP MP Utku Çakırözer, Turkey’s Minister of Culture and Tourism Ersoy has defended the media authority RTÜK’s fines on broadcasters as “equal and impartial evaluations”. 
Former HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş writes from prison: “The debates on closing the HDP and lifting legislative immunities will apparently make no contribution to peace. I hope this mistake will not be made”

Facing a summary of proceedings over the Kobane incidents of October 6-8, 2014, HDP MP Garo Paylan also faces charges for addressing arrested former Co-Chair of the HDP Demirtaş as “Dear Selahattin Demirtaş”.

14 people, including MEBYA-DER (Association for Solidarity with Families Who Lost Their Relatives in the Cradle of Civilizations) co-chairs, have been detained for 3 days in Diyarbakır. There is a “confidentiality” order on the investigation file. 
Actors Metin Akpınar and Müjdat Gezen were acquitted of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for criticisms they voiced on television. Each actor was facing over four years in prison for the charges that often directed at critics of the president.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), International Commission of Jurists and Turkey Human Rights Litigation Support Project have submitted a recommendation to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe regarding the Osman Kavala case.

Covid-19: According to Turkish Medical Association, with current speed, Turkey may need more than a year to administer 100 million vaccine shots. 9,891 new infections and 69 deaths registered in the last 24 hours.