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HomeTop Stories On TurkeyA Review of Human Rights Issues in Turkey: 24-30 June

A Review of Human Rights Issues in Turkey: 24-30 June

The state of human rights in Turkey continues to be a pressing concern, with numerous violations occurring on a weekly basis. This article aims to provide a snapshot of the human rights issues that surfaced during the week of June 24-30. However, it is important to acknowledge that the sheer volume of incidents makes it impossible to cover every violation comprehensively in a single article. The highlighted cases illustrate ongoing challenges in areas such as arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, freedom of expression, judicial independence, the rights of the Kurdish minority, treatment of refugees and migrants, instances of torture and ill-treatment, and women’s rights.

Arbitrary Detention and Arrest: Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of numerous individuals over alleged links to the Gülen movement. According to a UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention[1], such systematic imprisonment could amount to crimes against humanity. Notable cases included the detention of 24 people, including active-duty and former military officers, based on payphone records, and the arrest of Ayşe Ercengiz, a former primary school teacher, along with her 20-month-old daughter requiring medical care​.

Solidarity with OTHERS has compiled a detailed database[2] to monitor the Gülen-linked mass detentions since a failed coup in July 2016.

Enforced Disappearances: No new information has emerged about Yusuf Bilge Tunç[3] , a former public sector worker reported missing since August 6, 2019. His case is part of a troubling pattern of enforced disappearances[4] targeting government critics since 2016​.

Freedom of Expression and Media: Several instances of media suppression were noted, including the banning of news related to Atlas İnşaat’s tenders and blocking access to articles mentioning Prof. Dr. Bedri Gencer’s controversial statements. Additionally, the Radio and Television Supreme Council imposed fines and suspensions on ‘Açık Radyo’ for discussing the Armenian genocide​.[5]

Judicial Independence & Rule of Law: The European Court of Human Rights ruled against the pretrial detention of 314 individuals post-coup attempt in 2016, citing a lack of reasonable suspicion[6]. The Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Urfa accepted another criminal complaint against Emine Şenyaşar for her protests seeking justice for her murdered family members​.

Kurdish Minority: The report highlights ongoing discrimination against the Kurdish minority, including travel bans on co-mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party, indictments related to election interference, and trials of former lawmakers for their alleged roles in past protests​.[7]

Refugees and Migrants: Two Kurdish journalists from Iranian Kurdistan are facing imminent deportation from Turkey, raising concerns about their safety upon return to Iran​.[8]

Torture and Ill-Treatment: Persistent issues of torture, overcrowding, and discriminatory practices in Turkish prisons were reported. Individual cases of alleged police brutality and the dire conditions of ailing inmates were highlighted​.[9]

Women’s Rights: The tragic deaths of eight women by family members within two days underscore the ongoing issue of domestic violence and the need for stronger protective measures​.[10]

The week of June 24-30 revealed continued human rights abuses across various sectors in Turkey. These incidents call for urgent attention and action from both national authorities and the international community to address and rectify these violations.

[1] https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Issues/Detention/Opinions/Session88/A_HRC_WGAD_2020_51_Advance_Edited_Version.pdf

[2] https://www.solidaritywithothers.com/mass-detentions

[3] https://stockholmcf.org/a-year-into-his-disappearance-authorities-keep-quiet-about-the-fate-of-yusuf-bilge-tunc/

[4] https://www.solidaritywithothers.com/post/report-enforced-disappearances

[5] https://susma24.com/rtukten-acik-radyoya-ermeni-soykirimi-cezasi/

[6] https://turkishminute.com/2024/06/25/ecthr-faulted-turkey-for-arrest-314-people-over-gulen-links-after-failed-coup/

[7] https://stockholmcf.org/dem-party-mayors-face-travel-bans-imposed-without-court-orders/

[8] https://turkishminute.com/2024/06/25/turkey-deport-2-kurdish-journalist-back-iran-putting-their-lives-at-risk/

[9] https://stockholmcf.org/ngo-report-on-turkeys-prisons-highlights-widespread-mistreatment-rights-violations-2/

[10] https://stockholmcf.org/turkey-records-8-femicides-in-2-days/

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