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“In 2024, there will be 550,000 people in prison in Turkey, and the planning for this is underway.”

“By 2024, there will be 550,000 people in prison, and the planning for this is being done.” Günal Kurşun, a legal expert on emergency decree law and a human rights activist, says in an interview with Sevinc Ozarslan of Kronos: “What is happening to the individuals affected by emergency decrees is not genocide, but it is a crime against humanity. Both of us wrote in Today’s Zaman; I was dismissed, and İbrahim Kalın became the head of the National Intelligence Organization. They say ‘die’ to us, but we will live and resist against all odds.”

‘In Turkey, 2.2 million investigations have been initiated. Can there be a terrorist organization with 2.2 million members? Can 2.2 million crimes have been committed? Currently, we have a prison population of 356,000, which is a record. By the end of 2024, the goal is to increase prison capacity to 550,000. The planning is being done for 550,000 people to enter prison. So, who will go in? You will go in, I will go in, our next-door neighbor will go in. It’s a state of madness, and we need to break free from it as soon as possible. As long as this regime continues, I don’t see a possibility of any good coming to Turkey.’ Gunal Kursun added.

The 35th Heavy Penal Court of Istanbul has ruled for the acquittal of 11 human rights defenders who were detained and arrested on Büyükada on July 5, 2017, six years ago from June 6. Gunal Kursun was one of them. The trial was related to hate speech in many aspects.

Because these acquitted individuals were subjected to a smear campaign in the government-controlled media for years, labeling them as “spies, agents, traitors, terrorists.” Taner Kılıç, the President of Amnesty International, Günal Kurşun, a legal expert, İdil Eser, the Director of Amnesty International Turkey, and the first director Özlem Dalkıran, along with all the other individuals, have been cleared of all charges. However, the accountability for the headlines filled with hate speech such as “Spies caught red-handed,” “Traitors arrested at the betrayal table,” “Agents caught in the act” by newspapers like Star, Akşam, Yeni Şafak, Takvim, Güneş, has not yet been demanded.

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Moreover, these newspapers did not report the news of the acquittals or the prosecutor’s decisions to dismiss the charges of “spying, being agents, traitors” against the 10 human rights defenders.

After that date, Amnesty International did not release any further reports on emergency decrees.

So, what did the government and the media gain by targeting these ten activists, who have extensive experience in the field of human rights? Günal Kurşun explains the reason as follows: “Amnesty International published a report on emergency decrees in early 2017. It was an extremely well-prepared, comprehensive, and excellent report. This report put Turkey in a very difficult position internationally. A few months after the report, they arrested Taner Kılıç, and a month later, they detained us on Büyükada.” He continues, “Since then, Amnesty International has not been able to release any substantial report concerning Turkey. The government has achieved what it aimed for.”

Günal Kurşun, just like today’s Chief of National Intelligence İbrahim Kalın, used to be a columnist for Today’s Zaman newspaper, which was closed down by an emergency decree. Unlike the favored İbrahim Kalın, Kurşun was expelled through an emergency decree.

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