Amnesty Issues Urgent Action: Hundreds at Imminent Risk of Forced Eviction

Amnesty International today issued an Urgent Action calling on Turkey to halt forced evictions in the Sur District of Diyarbakir.

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A resident of Sur walks past a ‘no to demolition’ graffiti.  Used by permission ©Refik Tekin

Hundreds of residents in the Alipaşa and Lalebey neighbourhoods of the Sur district in Diyarbakır province, southeastern Turkey, are at imminent risk of forced eviction. Since 23 May, during the fasting month of Ramadan, water and electricity supplies to residents’ homes were cut off in an apparent attempt to force them out.

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Amnesty: Blocking of Istanbul Pride March latest blow to right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Turkey

Amnesty International has issued a statement in response to the ban of Istanbul’s Pride March and the excessive use of force against those who attempted to march peacefully.

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For a third year running, authorities in Istanbul banned, on spurious grounds, the Istanbul Pride March, historically the biggest event held by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) people and supporters in Turkey. Yesterday police used excessive and unnecessary force against people attempting to march peacefully despite the ban.

The event, which had been successfully held annually for over a decade and which attracted tens of thousands of participants, was once held up by the authorities as an example of their respect for rights. The repeated blocking of the Pride March in recent years is yet another example of the authorities’ intolerance of dissent and difference, the deterioration of the human rights situation in Turkey in general, and the authorities’ failure to uphold LGBTI rights.

The Istanbul Governor’s office issued a statement on 24 June, one day ahead of the planned march, citing the need to protect the security of participants and tourists in the area, uphold public order and the lack of appropriate notification for the march. The ban came despite the organizing committee notifying the authorities, and engaging with them in dialogue weeks ahead of the planned march. While there are legitimate grounds for limiting the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, the authorities’ ban and the grounds cited are in direct contradiction with their obligations under the right to freedom of peaceful assembly as protected by international standards including the European Convention on Human Rights and Turkey’s Constitution. Amnesty International views the ban as a flagrant attempt by the authorities to prevent LGBTI individuals’ and their supporters’ voices from being heard, violating their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.

 

Yesterday, a huge police operation including hundreds of plain clothes and riot police officers, water cannon trucks and a helicopter, effectively sealed off the area where the march was due to take place. Police officers also blocked side streets and refused entry to persons they viewed as potential marchers. While the policing operation prevented people wishing to march from assembling as a single group, police used unnecessary and abusive force, including dogs, tear gas and pellet projectiles against small groups of people attempting to celebrate the Pride. Amnesty International observers also witnessed police arbitrarily detaining people, apparently at random, from the assembled groups. Lawyers told Amnesty International that 26 people, including two children and at least one journalist covering the Pride were detained before being released. According to reports, around 15 counter protestors were also briefly detained by the police.

Amnesty International calls on the authorities not to prosecute Istanbul Pride participants who were detained and ensure that the right to freedom of peaceful assembly of everyone including participants in Pride marches is upheld and respected.

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Amnesty International USA Board Writes to Secretary of State

In a joint letter this week, Amnesty International -USA’s Board of Directors wrote to US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson to highlight Turkey’s shameful detention of Amnesty International – Turkey’s Chair, Taner Kiliç.

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The letter notes the State Department’s strong press statement on Taner’s case, and calls on Mr. Tillerson to issue his own statement “calling for his immediate unconditional release and the dismissal of all charges against him. ”  The letter also requests that Mr. Tillerson  instruct the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey to meet with Mr. Kiliç’s family and to observe any court proceedings involving his case”

As the letter highlights, Taner’s case is part of a larger tragedy in Turkey.  His detention “takes place in the context of an escalating crackdown on human rights by Turkish authorities following a failed coup attempt in 2016.”

This crackdown has been marked by “the arbitrary detention of thousands of people with no involvement in the coup attempt including hundreds of lawyers, journalists, and media workers.”

What you can do

You can participate in the appeal for Taner’s freedom here and can learn more about Turkey’s crackdown here

 

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Join Amnesty’s call to release Taner Kiliç

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The shocking news that Amnesty International – Turkey‘s Chairperson, Taner Kiliç, was detained in this week as part of Turkey’s on-going purge of the Gulen Movement has resulted in worldwide condemnation.  He remains in custody today.

Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

The fact that Turkey’s post-coup purge has now dragged the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey into its web is further proof of just how far it has gone and just how arbitrary it has become. Taner Kiliç has a long and distinguished record of defending exactly the kind of freedoms that the Turkish authorities are now intent on trampling.

In the absence of credible and admissible evidence of their involvement in internationally recognized crimes, we are calling on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Taner Kiliç along with the other 22 lawyers, and drop all charges against them.

You can lend your voice to the call for Taner’s freedom by taking action here

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Chair of Amnesty International Turkey swept up in post-coup purge

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June 6

Responding to the news that Taner Kiliç, the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, was today detained by police along with 22 other lawyers in Izmir on suspicion of having links with the Fethullah Gülen movement, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:

The fact that Turkey’s post-coup purge has now dragged the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey into its web is further proof of just how far it has gone and just how arbitrary it has become. Taner Kiliç has a long and distinguished record of defending exactly the kind of freedoms that the Turkish authorities are now intent on trampling.

In the absence of credible and admissible evidence of their involvement in internationally recognized crimes, we are calling on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Taner Kiliç along with the other 22 lawyers, and drop all charges against them.

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Background

Taner Kiliç has served on the board of Amnesty International Turkey for various periods since 2002 and has been Chair since 2014. During his decades of work for human rights organizations in Turkey he has consistently demonstrated an unswerving commitment to human rights.

Taner Kiliç was detained from his house in Izmir at 6.30 this morning before being taken to his office. Both properties were searched. He is currently in police custody in Yeşilyurt district of Izmir.

At present, Taner Kiliç’s detention does not seem to be connected to any of Amnesty International’s work, nor to be specifically targeting the organization. The detention order refers to an investigation into suspected members of the “Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization”. It is currently unclear why Taner Kiliç is suspected of having these links.

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Amnesty: Teacher in Georgia at risk if extradited to Turkey

Amnesty International has issued an urgent action in the case of Mustafa Çabuk, a Turkish secondary school teacher living in Georgia, is at imminent risk of extradition to Turkey, where he is at risk of torture and other grave human rights violations. Turkey has accused Mustafa Çabuk of “supporting terrorism”, referring to his alleged links with the Gülen movement.

Mustafa Emre Cabuk (Stockholm Center for Human Rights)

 

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Amnesty Urgent Action in the Case of Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça [Updated]

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Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça have been protesting at the human rights monument in central Ankara since November 2016 against dismissal from their jobs by executive decree. On 23 May, academic Nuriye Gülmen and primary school teacher Semih Özakça, who have been on a prolonged hunger strike to protest against dismissal from their jobs, were remanded in Sincan prison, Ankara. There are fears for their wellbeing including that they may be forced to end their hunger strike against their will.

Amnesty International has issued an urgent action  in the case of Academic Nuriye Gülmen and primary school teacher Semih Özakça, who were remanded in Sincan prison, in Ankara, on 23 May. They are continuing a prolonged hunger strike to protest against the dismissal from their jobs. There are fears for their wellbeing including that they may be forced to end their hunger strike against their will.

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Amnesty Report: “Professional annihilation” in Turkey’s Purge

This week, Amnesty International issued a new report on the “professional annihilation” of civil servants who have been summarily dismissed in Turkey’s purge.

The report, No end in sight: Purged public sector workers denied a future in Turkey finds that tens of thousands of people including doctors, police officers, teachers, academics and soldiers, branded as ‘terrorists’ and banned from public service, are now struggling to make ends meet.

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“The shockwaves of Turkey’s post-coup attempt crackdown continue to devastate the lives of a vast number of people who have not only lost their jobs but have had their professional and families lives shattered,” Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.

“Tainted as ‘terrorists’ and stripped of their livelihoods, a large swathe of people in Turkey are no longer able to continue in their careers and have had alternative employment opportunities blocked.”

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Amnesty Urgent Action in Case of Three Turkish Nationals Detained in Malaysia [Updated with new information and steps to take]

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action in the case of three Turkish nationals arrested and detained in Malaysia.  There are concerns about their safety if they are extradited to Turkey.  Human Rights Watch has also voiced concerns about this case.

Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police confirmed that three Turkish nationals, school principal Turgay Karaman, academic Ismet Ozcelik,and businessman Ihsan Aslan, had been arrested and detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (SOSMA). They are being investigated under Section 130J of the Penal Code (read together with SOSMA) for allegedly soliciting, giving support to terrorist groups or for the commission of terrorist acts.

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Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysia’s Inspector General of Police, Reuters, 2017

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Amnesty: Indictment Rejected but Barbaros Şansal Still Held

Amnesty International issued an updated urgent action in the case of  fashion designer and LGBTI activist Barbaros Şansal.   “Şansal remains in pre-trial detention since 3 January for allegedly ‘inciting the public to hatred or hostility’, despite a court rejecting the indictment drawn up in his case.”  He must be freed immediately and unconditionally.

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Sansal at 2014 Pride March in Istanbul

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