REPORT: Suspicious Deaths, Ill-Treatment and Dreadful Conditions in Turkish Prisons

HRD, Victim Laborers Platform and the Victim Educators Platform submitted a joint stakeholder report on Turkey’s Universal Periodic Review, going to be held on the 35th Session in January 2020 with the title “Suspicious Deaths, Ill-Treatment And Conditions In Turkish Prisons”

This report, based on the data embedded in various reports on human right violations and victims’ statements in media reports and documentations, describe a general view of such violations and conditions in Turkish prisons and provide a background analysis of the problem. It also underlines the discrimination of inmates in the correctional system.

We explained and gave an overview of methods of torture and ill-treatment and no-complain policy in the Turkish prisons, as well as of the scheme of insult, humiliation, threats, and threats with relatives; coercive actions; sexual harassments. Furthermore, we took a closer look to the suspicious deaths in prisons and the circumstances of the reasons for these deaths.

It is difficult to determine the actual extent of human right violations with all their variations and frequencies as there is no transparency in governance. The result of investigations of individual ill-treatment cases are not shared publicly by authorities. Questions, even those asked in Turkish parliament by its members, remain unanswered. Prisons hardly open their doors for impartial and independent visits for a full range inspection.

Various forms of ill-treatment have been conducted systematically, covering all issues around inmates and their visitors within the parameters of almost all prisons where terrorism related convicts or pre-trail detainees are being held. There is no national mechanism to effectively prevent and investigate these violations.

Turkey should be strongly urged to establish adequate prison conditions as well as prevention and control mechanisms of ill-treatment according to international standards.  Country visits by international organizations and bilateral diplomatic engagements are necessary to ensure that the government comply with its responsibilities emanating from international treaties and regulations.

For the report please follow this link.

REPORT: Impacts of the Emergency Decrees on Victims and Their Family Members

As part of the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Turkey during the 35. Session in January 2020, Human Rights Defenders, Lilia Platforma Kobiet and the Victim Laborers Platform have submitted a joint stakeholder report with the title “In Turkey: Conviction to Hunger, Civilian Death and its Effects on Family”.

During the State of Emergency and the subsequent process, the law and job security of the victims and their relatives are taken from their hands.  In addition, their occupational licenses were canceled.  Security investigations and interview conditions were introduced at the entrance of public professions.  In the private sector, methods such as harassing and threatening employers have been applied in order not to give employment to the victims.  Foreign bans were brought to victims or their relatives.  With all these practices, people were condemned to civil death and hunger.

In our submission as Stakeholders we explained the elimination of law and job security, the effects of the cancellation of the professional licenses, the coding of social security codes, thus making it impossible to be employed again.

For the report please follow this link.

Report on the Right to Property in Turkey

As part of the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review 35th Session, the Human Rights Defenders e.V., Victim Laborers Platform and the Victim Educator Platform submitted a joint Report on the Right of Property, concerning in Turkey.

In this report, we examined how the AKP government restricted and ignored the right of property by ruthlessly using the sword of decree-law during the state of emergency with the excuse of the coup attempt which was stated in 15.07.2016 in Turkey. How the AKP government used the decree-law tool against not only the members of Gülen movement which they held responsible for the coup but against anyone who they considered as critical towards them and how these restrictions and ignore of the right of property became affecting and victimizing all citizens of Republic of Turkey. Within this context, we explained with examples how the right of property which is protected under international agreements, Constitution of Turkey and Laws was restricted.

Furthermore we deliberated the procedures and problems of the Turkish Government which started before and reached its peak in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt in July 2016. Furthermore, we explained the fact of preventing the right to legal remedies and the problems encountered during the legal processes.

In our Submission we discussed the role of the ECtHR on this topic, and how the ECtHR was a partner for solution of how Turkey denied its obligations arising from international agreements.

For the report please follow this link.

REPORT: Human Rights Violations Suffered by the Teachers in Turkey

On the occasion of the UN Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review of Turkey – 2020 (35th Session) we, Human Rights Defenders and Victim Educators submitted a joint report on “Human Rights Violations Suffered By The Teachers In Turkey”

In our report we bring into the light how the Turkish government, with state of emergency decrees, dismissed 34000 teachers in violation of both the international legislation and Turkish Constitution. Despite the provisions of the Constitution the Turkish Government, has violated its obligations under international law, teachers were purged without any investigation, the thoughts and opinions of these teachers were considered as “crime”, teachers were tortured to explain their thoughts, the principle of non-retroactivity of crimes and punishments is infringed (e.g. being a member of legally functioning trade union or having an account in a legally functioning bank are declared as crime some years after the action occurred), 34000 teachers were considered guilty without any trial and court decision.

Furthermore, we have summarized that the purge of teachers is also in contradiction with international conventions to which Turkey is a party e.g. the Termination of Employment Convention of ILO (C158).

In our report we also deliberated how the “presumption of innocence” of Teachers were neglected, how the right to defense was not provided before the dismissal of the teachers, how the teacher were not only purged but also were deprived of their employee personal benefits but also denied to work in diverse private institutions.

The purged teachers are seeking their rights. Nevertheless, it is not possible for them to get back their rights in Turkey where became an empire of fear and the principle of rule of law is annihilated. In our report, we have made following recommendations to end ongoing violations with regard to the right to association:

  1. Turkey should immediately get back purged teachers to their work
  2. Judicial proceedings should be conducted in compliance with universal legal rules and principles including but not limited to the presumption of innocence, individuality of offences and right to defence.
  3. Purged teachers’ financial, social and personal rights should be compensated.
  4. Turkey should apologize from these purged teachers due to her injustice and unlawfulness treatment.
  5. Turkey should rehabilitate the purged teachers by declaring their names in the Official Gazette as innocent.

For the report please follow this link.  

REPORT: Right of Association has been breached by Turkey

Regarding the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review – Turkey (35th Session – 2020), Human Rights Defenders e.V., Victim Laborers Platform and the Victim Educator Platform submitted a report entitled “Right of Association in Turkey- in the aftermath of July 2016”

As the co-authors of the mentioned Report, we explained the legal framework concerning the right of Association in Turkey and its obligations derived from international agreements Turkey is signatory.

During the emergency rule, the Turkish Government enacted thirty-two Emergency Decrees. With these decrees, 125.678 individuals were dismissed from public service, more than 4,000 legal persons, consisting of foundations, associations, foundation-owned universities, trade unions, private health institutions, private education companies, and 174 media outlets, were closed down. Assets of all those legal persons were transferred to the Treasury without cost, compensation. Besides the measures targeted real and legal persons, Emergency Decrees, which were comprised of some 1200 Articles, led to over 1,000 permanent amendments to national laws.

Under Art 2§1(d) of Emergency Decree 667, 19 trade unions were closed and all of their assets were confiscated without compensation on grounds of their (alleged) attachment, affiliation or connection with the pro-Fetullah [Gulenist] Terrorist Organization (FTÖ/PDY). As of the date of closure, the closed unions had a total of 29.589 members. All of these members have lost their jobs, what is worse is they have been subjected to the prosecution under Article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code which stipulates the membership to a terrorist organization.

In our joint submission we evaluated how Turkey has fallen short of its obligation under the ICCPR and the ICECSR and urged the government of Turkey to Repeal legislation and decrees implemented under the state of emergency, take immediate steps to ensure that all legislation is compliant with its obligations under international human rights law, Reinstate dismissed public servants, amend its anti-terrorism legislation in order to have a legislation compliant with the ECHR case law, lift the closure of trade unions and other legal persons, ensure that labour law complies with the ILO conventions.

For our the report please follow this link.

Recent Political Developments in Turkish Politics in the Context of Radicalisation

We as, Human Rights Defenders e.V.(HRD) and Stiftung Dialog und Bildung have submitted an Universal Periodic Review Report on Turkey (January 2020) concerning the Recent Political Developments In Turkish Politics In The Context Of Radicalisation.

Note: This Report was written by Mr.Sammas Salur, PhD, and is also published on OHCHR website under “Joint Submission 17”

In our submission we summarized the political developments during the last 17 years, whereas Turkey has been governed by Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP or ‘the
party’ hereafter).  In this report both core and mundane nature of Turkish politics are going to be depicted under recent developments in a context: radicalization.

The Turkish experience of radicalization can be
considered at three levels; consciousness, discourse and action. Regarding the manifest,
high value of religion in Turkish society and the fact that religion is a
fertile ground for radicalization in the AKP period, we can examine the topic
mostly through religious lexicon.

After giving a summary of religious information
we put into our focus the categorical and juvenile anti-west discourse (with
aggressive and abusive discourse) of the Turkish government as well as the
violations of fundamental human rights.

one of the most important examples of ideological radicalization is the efforts
to turn Islamist ideology into the basic teleology of the state. In fact, the
ideological stance of AKP’s founder Erdogan’s first political views and the
political movement from which he came from is known to the public.

other interesting facts and information we summarized eight recommendations on
how the political radicalization in Turkey can be reversed.

For our UPR-Report on Radicalization in Turkey please follow this Link.