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HomeHeadlineAdvocates of Silenced Turkey Condemn Recent Mass Detentions Following ECHR's Yalçınkaya Ruling

Advocates of Silenced Turkey Condemn Recent Mass Detentions Following ECHR’s Yalçınkaya Ruling

New York, October 24, 2023

Advocates of Silenced Turkey, a prominent human rights advocacy group, has issued a stern condemnation in response to the Turkish government’s recent mass detentions of 611 individuals, raising serious concerns about human rights violations and the rule of law in the country. This alarming development comes on the heels of a landmark ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which addressed the treatment of individuals associated with the Gülen (Hizmet) movement in Turkey.

On October 24, Turkey’s Internal Affairs Minister, Ali Yerlikaya, announced the detention of 611 individuals across the country. These detentions are part of a broader investigation into alleged connections with the Gülen movement, an organization that the Turkish government has labeled as a terrorist group.

Minister Yerlikaya revealed that these detentions were carried out under the coordination of the General Directorate of Security, with support from the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIOT). The 611 detention orders were issued in relation to allegations concerning the current and financial structure of the Gülen movement. These orders were grounded in various accusations, including attempts to flee the country, using the controversial messaging app Bylock, being mentioned in Bylock-related content, operating student residences, and providing financial assistance to families of detainees and convicts.

Human rights advocates argue that these individuals are being accused of activities that, according to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), should not be considered criminal offenses, further fueling concerns about the erosion of civil liberties in Turkey.

The Turkish government’s actions were prominently featured in pro-government media outlet Yeni Safak, which titled the operation as a “Pincer Operation: Simultaneous Crackdown on FETÖ Across 77 Provinces: 611 Suspects Captured.” Minister Yerlikaya took to Twitter to personally announce the operation, emphasizing the government’s commitment to combatting what it refers to as the treacherous FETÖ (Fethullahist Terrorist Organization) and other terrorist organizations and their alleged collaborators.

The Advocates of Silenced Turkey highlights that these mass detentions occurred in the wake of the ECHR’s groundbreaking ruling on September 26th. The court issued a pivotal decision regarding the treatment of individuals linked to the Gülen movement in Turkey, marking a significant milestone after more than seven years of intense government actions.

At the center of this landmark case was Yüksel Yalçınkaya, whose allegations included the use of the messaging app Bylock, a bank account, and membership in a trade union. The Turkish government cited these factors as concrete evidence of involvement in a terrorist organization, despite a lack of supporting evidence. The ECHR determined that the Turkish government’s prosecution and judicial decisions violated Yalçınkaya’s rights to a fair trial, rights to freedom of assembly and association, and the right to no punishment without law.

In a predictable response, the Turkish government expressed doubts about the ECHR’s authority and proceeded with today’s operation, which seems to be founded on the same human rights violations mentioned by the ECHR.

Advocates of Silenced Turkey calls upon the international community to denounce these severe human rights violations in Turkey and stand in solidarity with the innocent victims of state persecution. The group insists that concerted efforts must be made to hold Turkey accountable for its actions and to safeguard the rights of those who have been unjustly targeted. The issues of human rights and the rule of law in Turkey continue to raise global concerns.

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