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Weekly Human Rights Report: Analyzing Violations in Turkey

June 10-16

In the wake of continuing political turbulence and social unrest, Turkey’s human rights record remains under intense scrutiny. This week’s report highlights a range of ongoing issues, from arbitrary detentions and enforced disappearances to restrictions on freedom of assembly, expression, and media. The plight of various minority groups and the conditions within the prison system further underscore the urgent need for international attention and advocacy.

Arbitrary Detention and Arrest Throughout the week, prosecutors ordered the detention of numerous individuals allegedly linked to the Gülen movement. In October 2020, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD)[1] stated that systematic imprisonment of people connected to the Gülen movement might constitute crimes against humanity. Solidarity with OTHERS[2] has maintained a detailed database[3] monitoring these detentions since the failed coup in July 2016.

Enforced Disappearances The whereabouts of Yusuf Bilge Tunç[4], a former public sector worker dismissed during the 2016-2018 state of emergency, remain unknown. Tunç, missing since August 6, 2019, is one of the many suspected cases of enforced disappearances[5] of government critics since 2016.

Freedom of Assembly and Association On June 10, Turkish police detained[6] 10 people at a Pride march in Eskişehir, despite a ban on Pride Week activities imposed by the governor’s office. Additionally, during a protest in front of the AKP provincial building in Bursa in support of Palestine, police subjected demonstrators to physical violence and detained them with their hands cuffed behind their backs.

Freedom of Expression and Media Several incidents underscored ongoing restrictions on freedom of expression:

  • On June 12, actress Ezgi Mola was ordered to pay TL 10,000 in damages for a social media post about Sergeant Musa Orhan, sentenced for sexual assault.[7]
  • A prosecutor requested prison sentences for six journalists protesting the arrest of their colleagues in operations focused on Diyarbakır and Ankara.
  • News reports detailing alleged corruption involving high-ranking officials and criminal organizations were blocked by court orders.

Human Rights Defenders Human rights lawyer Zilan Gümüş, co-chair of the İzmir branch of the Human Rights Association, faced[8] police surveillance and harassment due to her advocacy work. Multiple human rights organizations called for an end to the intimidation and demanded an investigation into the responsible officers.

Kurdish Minority Rights On June 12, a Turkish court arrested six Kurdish politicians, including former mayors and deputies from Diyarbakır, as part of an ongoing crackdown on Kurdish politicians.[9]

Prison Conditions The long-standing water problem[10] in Çorum Sungurlu L Type Prison continued, with no hot or cold water supplied for two days, leaving women in 20-person wards struggling to meet their daily needs.

Torture and Ill-Treatment Reports of torture and ill-treatment in prisons included:

  • Women detained in Malatya had their headscarves removed for three days and were not allowed[11] to pray or meet with their lawyers.
  • Fatma Özbay, an ill prisoner in İzmir Şakran Women’s Prison, was not taken[12] for routine check-ups despite having breast cancer.
  • Two individuals involved in a traffic accident in Çan district were subjected[13] to police violence.

Women’s Rights During a graduation ceremony in Kocaeli’s Gebze district, some students were denied entry due to “inappropriate dress.”[14]

This week’s report highlights the persistent human rights abuses in Turkey, underscoring the urgent need for international attention and intervention.[15]


[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

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

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

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

[6] https://www.turkishminute.com/2024/06/10/turkish-police-detain-10-attending-pride-march-central-turkey/

[7] https://tihv.org.tr/gunluk-ih-raporlari/12-haziran-2024-gunluk-insan-haklari-raporu/

[8] https://www.gazeteduvar.com.tr/ihd-izmir-esbaskanina-polis-takibi-sorumlularin-cezalandirilmasi-icin-surecin-takipcisiyiz-haber-1698624

[9] https://www.turkishminute.com/2024/06/12/6-kurdish-politician-arrested-day-after-detention-on-allegations-of-terrorism/

[10] https://www.boldmedya.com/2024/06/15/sungurlu-l-tipi-cezaevinde-su-sorunu-suruyor-35-derece-sicaklikta-tutuklulara-su-verilmiyor/

[11] https://stockholmcf.org/opposition-mp-raises-alarm-over-alleged-mistreatment-of-women-detainees/

[12] https://tihv.org.tr/gunluk-ih-raporlari/8-10-haziran-2024-gunluk-insan-haklari-raporu/

[13] https://tihv.org.tr/gunluk-ih-raporlari/12-haziran-2024-gunluk-insan-haklari-raporu/

[14] https://bianet.org/haber/students-not-allowed-to-attend-graduation-ceremony-for-wearing-inappropriate-dress-296488

[15] https://www.solidaritywithothers.com/resources

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