10 December 2018, Press Release regarding human rights violations in Turkey

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With a press release in front of European Court of Human Rights, HRD members and volunteers drew attention to the human rights violations in Turkey.
Human Rights Defenders invited the European Court of Human Rights to take an effective initiative.


70 years ago, on the 10th of December 1948, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights” was adopted by the UN General Assembly. Both, the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and the “European Convention on Human Rights” envisages and embraces the basic and fundamental rights and freedoms of people, which should be under the protection of the States and above all of them, of the United Nations.

As we observe the 70th Anniversary of this significant and historical Day, we unfortunately do witness that this protection is not granted to everyone, and those who should serve this goal are acting inconsequently. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which we apply to, does not fulfill its function in accordance with its purpose of establishment. The Court did not develop court practices within its range of authority to prevent human rights’ violations and ignores millions of “human rights violations” which can even be seen with bare eyes.

In Turkey, human righs violations today became massive, and each day these violations become irretrievable. The Turkish Government, or rather the notorious “Erdogan Regime” as it is now, has become a despotic rule, comparing to the much promising State which it was a half a decade ago, had strong relations with European Union. The Turkish Government, turned its back on reforms related to human rights and further democratization efforts starting from December 2013 swiftly and became a literal dictatorship after 15 July 2016. Right now, it is impossible to talk about even the very existence of fundamental rights and freedoms. Everything is at the mercy of one person, and the basic human rights are unfortunately ignored.

These human rights violations in Turkey are reflected in several international reports such as “2017 report of Human Rights Watch”, “2017 report of Office of The United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights”, “the 2018 report of Amnesty International”, “the 2018 report of the Platform of Peace and Justice regarding the children rights’ violations in Turkey”, “the 2018 report of European Parliament”.

Although, that in those international reports, as well as the some verdicts such as the verdict of the local court in England and thousands of petitions written by the victims of the Erdogan Regime it is expressed that THERE IS NO SUCH RIGHT AS FAIR TRIAL, the ECHR ignores the facts and turns a blind eye on the human right violations in Turkey.

So, what exactly is happening in Turkey in terms of human rights violations? In Turkey, the rights which are ensured by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are violated. Such as:

1- In Turkey, the most fundamental right of people, “the Right to live” is taken away,

  • -In Eastern and South Eastern provinces, tens of villages and towns are destroyed, tens of thousands of Kurdish people were forced to leave their homes
  • -Trustees are assigned to the provincial offices that are affiliated to the Ruling Party to ignore the will of the local people
  • -In prisons, thousands of convicts and prisoners’ right to live is taken away, by systematic tortures and depriving their rights of healthcare
  • -The people of the “Hizmet” movement and any other civil society organizations which seem to be opposing are targeted by hate speeches and witch hunts, therefore, their right to live is taken away from them.
  • -Tens of politicians of the opposition, hundreds of journalists are kept in prisons because of their political believes.

2- The “Right to Work” is stolen.

  • -With decree-laws, more than 130.000 people (whose victimhood is explained detailly in the 2018 report of Amnesty International) are dismissed from public duties, of them 33.500 teachers, 7.000 health workers, 31.500 security workers, 6.000 academics, 39.000 public servants, 13.000 soldiers.
  • -More than 100.000 employees from the companies (schools, universities, study houses, hospitals, foundations, federations, unions, media institutions) which are closed by confiscation or assigning trustees are dismissed from their jobs. They are prevented to find other jobs in different places by the State further. They are left to a “civil death”.
  • -The workers are working under extreme and worst conditions (e.g. the construction of Istanbul airport) and unfortunately many workers are facing death every day. Child workers are being employed and current unions cannot say any critic.

3- In Turkey, the Right of Property of people is arbitrarily taken away.

  • -In Eastern and Southeastern provinces, the houses and lands which were evacuated because of the suspect of terror are confiscated and people were prevented to return to their homes
  • -All the assets of the institutions and persons of Hizmet movement are usurped and made available to the supporters of the regime.
  • -With arbitrary decisions, the environment is being damaged, and the ecologic balance is destroyed, the lands of people are confiscated with low costs (e.g. the project of Kanal Istanbul)

4- The “Right of not being subject to torture” of people is being violated

  • -Torture, which conflicts with human dignity became again a routine in Turkey. All the opposition receives systematic torture. (This situation is indicated clearly in the March 2018 report of the UN Human Rights)
  • -More than half of all journalists who are in prison in all over the world, 259 people, are in Turkish prisons right now. These people are treated as terrorists and tortured.

5- The “Right to assembly and demonstration” is being violated.

  • -Hundreds of NGO’s are closed and their assets confiscated including unions (e.g. AksionIs and Cihansen)
  • -The fundamental right of democracy to demonstrate and meet is cancelled by the governors who became the political tools of the government

6- In Turkey, the “Right to fair trial” is consciously destroyed

  • -4500 prosecutors and judges who constitute one third of all current judges and prosecutors in Turkey are exported from the duty. Nearly all of them are issued arrest warrants
  • -Currently 3500 prosecutors-judges and 1500 lawyers in Turkey are in prisons.
  • -The verdict of ECHR is not applied (e.g. the Selahattin Demirtaş decision of ECHR)
  • -The verdicts of the Constitutional Court are not applied by the local courts (e.g. the decision of the Constitutional Court about journalist Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay)
  • -The people who are labeled as “spies, terrorists” are evacuated in few days when states got involved (pastor Brunson, journalist Deniz Yucel etc.) but the convicts who suffer from cancer are not even sent to the any medical treatment.
  • -The judges who are supposed to be neutral and independent do not consider it harmful to announce their political beliefs, which are mostly in line with the ruling Erdagan Regime.
  • -The bill of indictments is not prepared. The people stay in prisons for months but cannot even learn the accusations against them. (Osman Kavala is kept in prison for a year without preparing his bill of indictment)
  • -There are arbitrary long imprisonments. The judges are afraid to evacuate people.
  • -743 babies are kept in prisons along with their mothers.
  • As the reassurance of all fundamental rights and freedoms, the “RIGHT TO FAIR TRIAL” is removed, there is no guarantee for any rights in Turkey now.

Today, the only HOPE against the crimes of hate, discrimination and torture committed by the oppressive regime in Turkey is the existence of law. The notorious “Erdogan Regime” commits crimes against the universal principles of law by its acts of crimes against humanity. It deprived the Republic of Turkey which was loyal to the international agreements it has signed from law and democratic values. This should not be allowed.

The ECHR in Europe, which was established to protect the human rights was an institution that set an example to the world. But the court is criticized by prestigious legal experts and institutions because of the decisions it made and the decisions it didn’t make. This delay of ECHR to decide is expressed in international conferences and meetings often. Letters are sent to the court by renowned law circles and the attitude of the court is examined in universities by being subjects to theses. The ECHR cannot hide behind the excuse of not exhausted domestic remedies anymore. About tens of files which are issued in 2014, processed in all phases and finalized, for which there is no option of domestic remedies now, the court hesitates to decide. Its hesitation to decide in many files in which the human right violations are proved makes the impression as if it negotiated with the “Erdogan regime” in the world. And this strengthens the critics saying that the ECHR stopped being an independent and neutral court and became a political institution. All the reputation of the court gained in years is somehow being destroyed. The ECHR cannot run away from its responsibility regarding what is happening in Turkey and its attitude will definitely remembered in history. We as the volunteers of “Human Rights Defenders” call the ECHR to take responsibility about what is happening in Turkey in accordance with its historical mission and previous acts and to fulfill its duty.

The ECHR SHOULD NOT BECOME PARTNERS IN CRIME of the crimes committed by the “Erdogan Regime”. We as the volunteers of “Human Rights Defenders” warn ECHR and invite them to fulfill their duty on the occasion of “World Human Rights Day”.

“Human Rights Defenders” closely follows the human rights violations in Turkey. It carries the files of the victims to the international authorities such as the ECHR, UN Human Rights Committee and UN Committee against Torture to continue its legal struggle. Even there are sufferings left because of the victimizations, the law will eventually prevail, the ones who sided with law will eventually prevail.

As the volunteers of “Human Rights Defenders”, we would like to arouse attention of the institutions of International Law, the ECHR being first, to the human rights violations in Turkey on the occasion of 10th December World Human Rights Day. We are calling those institutions to duty and asking them to take effective initiatives in order to say STOP to the unlawfulness in Turkey.

Respectfully announced to the public: 10.12.2018



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