Fifty-six-year-old conscientious objector Ali Fikri Işık is due to appear in front of a Turkish Military Court on October 22, facing three separate charges of ‘desertion’ that could carry a prison sentence of some two-and-a-half years. When Ali was first arrested in June of 2012 for refusing military service in 1993, he told the military court that he was a conscientious objector who had been imprisoned and tortured after the 1980 military coup, and opposes militarism and “refuses to take part in the war.” Since then he has served time in prison and continues to declare his conscientious objection to military service. As Ali faces the Turkish courts once again, Amnesty has issued an urgent action and calls on you to help support the cause of freedom of expression and conscience in Turkey (an electronic version of the action is available in Turkish, here).
The Family of Ali Ismail Korkmaz continues its search for Justice: A First Hand Account of the Trial
While protesters in Turkey are demonstrating against the perceived lack of action of the Turkish government against IS with many protesters dead after violent clashes with the police, the trial against the civilians and police officers who killed another protester during another protest, last year’s Gezi Park protest, continues.
This Thursday, the fourth hearing in the case of Ali Ismail Korkmaz took place. Ruhat Sena Aksener and I were present to observe the trial for Amnesty International to increase the chance of a fair trial and to see that justice will be done. Continue reading
As readers of this blog know, Amnesty has continuously been campaigning on behalf of Hakan Yaman, who was caught up in a brutal attack by police officers during the Gezi crackdown while he was simply walking on his way home from work. Hakan was severely beaten by police near his home in the Sarıgazi district of Istanbul. He sustained a fractured skull, other broken bones and second degree burns. He lost one eye and 80% of the sight in his other eye. Hakan now has a prosthetic eye to replace the one that was gouged out by the police after five serious operations. According to one of Amnesty’s researcher team on Turkey who met with Hakan and his wife in the late September, he still has possibly two more operations on his face.
Hakan’s change in appearance has been a massive cause for distress and loss of morale;; however those who wrote to Hakan around the world during the 2013 Write for Rights campaign made him feel more supported. He shared this message with he Amnesty Section in Turkey:
“I was sincerely shocked and very happy the day I received those letters you sent me from four corners of the world. It was a truly wonderful day that day. I was surprised, seeing all those letters in one place all at once… We received nearly 10,000 letters and I believe more will come. In my heart, I would have loved to write back to each and everyone of you separately but please forgive me, it is not possible to reply to you all individually. I love you all. Thank you so much….”
It’s time again to show Hakan and his family that the world has not forgotten.
You can do so by sending him birthday greetings on his birthday tomorrow, October 10. Use social media to get out the word. For example:
- Send Hakan birthday greetings via twitter and demand justice. Some sample twitter messages are:
- Hakan Yaman is 39 today. Still fighting for justice and to #endimpunity #iyikidogdunHakanYaman #GeziPark #Turkey @aforgutu
- Hakan Yaman turns 39 today. Police who beat him and left him for dead have yet to be brought to justice. #endimpunity #iyikidogdunHakanYaman @aforgutu
- Today Hakan Yaman is celebrating his second birthday without justice. #endimpunity #iyikidogdunHakanYaman #Turkey @aforgutu
- Send solidarity messages to Hakan with a short video message and upload it on http://www.hightail.com and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org; the Amnesty Research team on Turkey will send it to Hakan. Amnesty International has made the following short video on behalf of Hakan’s birthday as well.
Hakan Yaman has made a criminal complaint on grounds of attempted murder. However, as with countless other long-standing cases of police violence in Turkey, there has been no effective investigation into deaths and injuries during Gezi demonstrations or into police violence against both demonstrators and bystanders. Neither has there been public acknowledgement by the government that impunity and torture have been serious problems.
Amnesty International continues to call on the Turkish authority that those responsible for the use of excessive force and police violence against Hakan Yaman, along with other victims of police violence in Turkey, be effectively investigated and brought immediately to justice in a fair trial.
Amnesty International issued Urgent Action regarding the death of an Afghan asylum-seeker and other asylum-seekers who are at risk of being returned to Afghanistan. Please encourage your friends and family to join this urgent letter writing campaign before August 5.
Lutfillah Tadjik, a 17 year-old Afghan asylum seeker was allegedly beaten to death by a Turkish police officer from the Foreigners Directorate Returns Centre in Van on May 31. Now, other six Afghans asylum-seekers who witnessed the assault are at risk of being returned to Afghanistan without having access to the refugee status determination procedure and before the ongoing investigation into Lutfillah Tadjik’s death has been completed.
Please write immediately in Turkish or your own language:
- Calling on the authorities to conduct a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances of Lutfillah Tadjik’s ill-treatment and death;
- Urging them not to remove any witnesses to the assault from Turkey, and ensure that they receive adequate protection against any threats or intimidation;
- Urging them not to return any of the Afghan detainees, in particular those who were witnesses to the assault, pending a prompt and fair examination of their asylum claims under the terms of the Foreigners and International Protection Law No. 6458 and in line with international standards;
- Calling on them to ensure that asylum-seekers under 18 are treated in accordance with international law, in particular the principle of the best interests of the child.
Please send appeals to the following authorities BEFORE AUGUST 5:
Van Chief Prosecutor Mehmet Kaya (Salutation: Dear Prosecutor)
Van Cumhuriyet Başsavcısı
Fax: +90 (0) 432 212 04 89
+90 (0) 432 215 20 07
Minister of Interior Mr. Efkan Ala (Salutation: Dear Minister)
Fax: +90 (0) 312 418 17 95
And copies to:
Minister of Justice Mr. Bekir Bozdağ
06659 Ankara, Turkey
Fax: +90 (0)312 419 33 70
For those who live in the US, please send copy to:
Ambassador Serdar Kılıç
Turkish Embassy in Washington, DC
2525 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
If you live outside the US, please check diplomatic representatives in your country by clicking here.
This Urgent Action can be accessed on Amnesty International website here.
The army of police, the limits on freedom of transport, the deserted center of the city. A year after Gezi, this is the face of the new Turkey, where dissent is stifled with overwhelming force and massive police presence.
Clearly, the Turkish government has learned lessons from the protests which shook the country a year ago. Unfortunately, they are the wrong ones: it has only redoubled its efforts to crush dissent and has learned to employ overwhelming police force to prevent outbreaks of dissent in locales that are accessible to international media.
With the shocking images of last year’s crackdown fading from the world’s memory, attention has slowly shifted elsewhere. Amnesty International, in a lengthy and well-researched report issued today, entitled Turkey: Adding injustice to injury: One year on from the Gezi Park protests in Turkey, ensures that the true nature of Turkey’s post-Gezi crackdown are clear.
Some very important issues related to Turkish human rights coming up next week. We’ll do our best to keep the blog up to date with current information: Continue reading
On the first anniversary of the Gezi Protests and their brutal suppression in Turkey, central Istanbul resembled nothing so much as a city under occupation. Public transportation into the city center was cancelled. Ferry service from the Asian to the European side of the metropolis was ended by the late afternoon. You could leave, but you couldn’t come back.
This is the image of the new Turkey, where dissent is stifled with overwhelming force and massive police presence.
A year ago today, Ali Ismail Korkmaz was beaten to death by police. From the start, Turkish authorities seemed determined to undermine the quest for justice in the case. Following the attack, the Governor of Eskisehir said that police hadn’t been involved and that Ali Ismail Korkmaz had been beaten up ‘by his friends.’ Footage from a CCTV camera was deleted in the days following the incident, but was subsequently recovered by experts from the gendarmerie. Continue reading
I arrived in Istanbul a few hours ago. As it turns out family events happened to bring us to the city on the anniversary of the Gezi protests and ensuing crackdown.
The streets of Besiktas, where I am staying, are lined with police buses. Major arteries to in the city are being shut down in expectation of protests this evening.
Personally, I’m primarily worried about tear gas seeping into the house where I am staying to discomfort my daughter. Explaining tear gas to my three year old is a little more than I am prepared for.
For myself, I’m hoping to meet up with some Amnesty people this evening to observe events. And planning to keep my head down.
St. Lawrence University
In the case of Ethem Sarısülük, each new hearing brings with it new frustration. This week’s hearing only continues, a process that has been marked by delays, irregularities, and ugly absurdities.