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Open Letter to President Erdogan in Solidarity with Human Rights Activist and MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu

Together with the  International Observatory of Human Rights we, joined by scores of leading human rights organizations and esteemed members of civil society groups from across the world who have written this letter to express concerns about the current sheer human rights violations committed by Turkey against many individuals such as Mr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. He is an honorable Turkish citizen who has been involved in tireless efforts to champion human rights in Turkey and continues to work with many institutions that share the same values and who are struggling to this end.

Gergerlioğlu, a human rights activist and an MP, was first threatened recently by Uşak Police Chief who accused him of involvement in “terrorism.” AKP Group Chairman Özlem Zengin and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu echoed the same baseless accusations—finger-pointing Mr. Gergelioglu denies categorically.

The fact remains that 23 female students who study at Uşak University had been subjected to strip searches on two separate incidents over a duration of five days during their detention starting from on August 31, 2020. This sheer violation of human rights drew strong condemnation on social media outlets once the strip searching of the ladies was revealed.

Mr. Gergerlioğlu relayed this news in the Turkish Parliament and called for an end to the unlawful practice of strip searches.

Two of the five women who were subjected to the strip searches revealed over social media the details of the atrocity they endured.

Countless human rights activists and appalled private citizens supported the victims and categorically denounced this unlawfulness which is no way is compatible with human dignity.

The strip searches conducted were supposedly conducted for “security reasons” by the Uşak Police.

We the signatories demand an effective investigation into this inhumane act.

MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who brought the problem up in Parliament and made it public should not be subjected to serious accusations such as “involvement in terrorism” only because he is demanding justice and protection of the innocent women.

AKP Group Deputy Chair Özlem Zengin targeted MP Gergerlioğlu, and said; “So far, I have never seen a deputy who terrorizes the Parliament as much as Mr. Gergerlioğlu.”

Shortly after AKP statement was released, Uşak Police Chief Mesut Gezer released a threatening comment:

“We are here to fight with those who slander us, these sanguinaries who shed blood, … We will not let them breathe in this country.”

Following this statement, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu also pointed his fingers at Mr. Gergerlioglu, and said: “Indeed, this man is a terrorist, we have filed numerous complaints. I’m calling on the judiciary to do whatever is necessary about him. ”

Immediately afterwards, Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that an investigation was launched against Gergerlioğlu and the people who voiced their support on social media.

The authors of this report would like to underline that we are seriously concerned about long-standing mass detentions and human rights violations in Turkey. Public officials are easily accusing human rights defenders and MPs of being “terrorists”.

IOHR and the signatories to this letter stand in solidarity with Mr. Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu. We call on the authorities in Turkey to investigate and stop all threats directed by public officials, politicians and prosecutors at Mr. Gergerlioğlu and other human rights defenders.


  1. Dietmar KÖSTER, Member of European Parliament, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament (Germany)
  2. Özlem DEMIREL, Member of European Parliament, The Left Group in the European Parliament – GUE/NGL (Germany)
  3. Rev. Dirk Ficca, Executive Director of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions (USA)
  4. Sophie ROHONYI, Member of the Federal Parliament (Belgium)
  5. Christophe LACROIX, Member of the Federal Parliament (Belgium)
  6. Georges DALLEMAGNE, Member of the Federal Parliament (Belgium)
  7. Carlo SOMMARUGA, Senator (Switzerland)
  8. Gyde JENSEN, President of the German Bundestag Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid Commission (Germany)
  9. Sevim DAGDELEN, Die Linke, Chairwomen of the German-Turkish Parliamentary Friendship Group, Member of the German Parliament (Germany)
  10. Gokay AKBULUT, Die Linke, Member of the German Parliament (Germany)
  11. Andrej HUNKO, Member of the German Parliament and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (Germany)
  12. Kai GEHRING, Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen, Member of the German Parliament (Germany)
  13. Ulla JELPKE, Die Linke, Member of the German Parliament (Germany)
  14. Simone SUSSKIND, Member of the Brussels Parliament and the Federal State, Founder and Executive Director of Actions in the Mediterrenian (Belgium)
  15. Bianca DEBAETS, Member of the Brussels Parliament (Belgium)
  16. Victoria AUSTRAET, Member of the Brussels Parliament (Belgium)
  17. Joris NACHTERGAELE, Member of the Flemish Parliament (Belgium)
  18. Hannelore GOEMAN, Member of the Flemish Parliament (Belgium)
  19. Karl VANLOUWE, Member of the Flemish Parliament (Belgium)
  20. Berivan ASLAN, Member of the Austrian Parliament (Austria)
  21. Philippe COURARD, Member of the Walloon Parliament and Senator (Belgium)
  22. Pierre BAYENET, Parliamentarian and Lawyer, Geneva (Switzerland)
  23. Laurence FEHLMANN RIELLE, Member of the Swiss National Council, Chair of the Legal Affairs Commission (Switzerland)
  24. Sylvain THÉVOZ, Parliamentarian, Co-chairman of the City of Geneva Socialist Party (Switzerland)
  25. Jean-Charle RIELLE, Parliamentarian, Geneva (Switzerland)
  26. Emmanuel DEONNA, Parliamentarian, Geneva (Switzerland)
  27. Rémy PAGANI, Parliamentarian, Former Mayor of Geneva (Switzerland)
  28. Ingebjørg GODSKESEN, Member of the Norwegian Parliament and Former Rapporteur for Turkey from the Council of Europe (Norway)
  29. Lloyd RUSSELL, Brighton MP from the UK parliament (England)
  30. Caroline LUCAS, Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion (England)
  31. Dr. Peter PILZ, Former Member of the Austrian Parliament (Austria)
  32. Elisabeth DECREY WARNER, Former President of the Parliament, Geneva (Switzerland)
  33. Jean-Marc DEVAUD, Former Mayor, Meyrin, Geneva (Switzerland)
  34. Abdullah DEMIRBAŞ, Former Mayor of the Municipality of Sur in the city of Diyarbakir (Turkey)
  35. Abdulhakim DAŞ, Former Deputy of HDP- Peoples’ Democratic Party (Turkey)
  36. Nesrin NAS, Former Deputy (Turkey)
  37. Ramazan GEZGIN, Former Deputy (Turkey)
  38. Mahmut Alınak, Former Deputy (Turkey)
  39. Johan VANDE LANOTTE, Former Deputy Prime Minister, Professor, Ghent University (Belgium)
  40. Johan LEMAN, Emeritus Professor at KU Leuven, Former Director of Centre for Equal Opportunities and Fight against Racism (Belgium)
  41. Jean ZIEGLER, Emeritus Professor of the University of Geneva, Former Swiss Parliamentarian, Former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food (Switzerland)
  42. Hugues DUMONT, Professor at Saint-Louis University, Former Dean of the Faculty of Law of Saint-Louis University (Belgium)
  43. Burak ÇOPUR, Professor and Political Scientist (Germany)
  44. Ahmet AYKAÇ Professor of Economics, Founder, General Partner, and Chairman at ISTCAP Partners (France)
  45. Kisten GOVENDER, South African Legal Practice Council member (South Africa)
  46. Taner AKÇAM, Sociologist, Historian and Author, Professor at the University of Minnesota Shoah and Genocide Studies Center (Germany)
  47. Pascale VIELLE, Professor at UCLouvain and Member of the Scientific Committee of the “Center for Human Rights” at UCLouvain (Belgium)
  48. Prof. Dr. Gençay GÜRSOY, Chairman of the Turkish Medical Association Central Council (Turkey)
  49. Zacharie ZACHARIEV, Ph.D. at Paris Sorbonne and Sofia Universities, Former Director at UNESCO (France)
  50. Levent MAZILIGÜNEY, Ph.D., Attorney at Law, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  51. David A. KESSLER, Ph.D. – Kent State University (USA)
  52. Eric JEFFERIS, Ph.D. – Faculty Program Coordinator, Kent State University (USA)
  53. Sophia PANDYA, Professor, California State University at Long Beach (USA)
  54. Ramiro Jesús SANDOVAL, Professor at National Autonomous University of Mexico-UNAM (Mexico)
  55. Juan Manuel PORTILLA GÓMEZ, Professor at National Autonomous University of Mexico – UNAM (Mexico)
  56. Ori Z Soltes, Professor in the Theology department at Georgetown University (USA)
  57. Anne MORELLI, Professor at “Université libre de Bruxelles” and Belgian historian, specializing in the History of Religions and Minorities (Belgium)
  58. Hacer ANSAL, Professor of Isik University (Turkey)
  59. Kuvvet LORDOĞLU, Professor of Marmara University (Turkey)
  60. Nil MUTLUER, Researcher (Germany)
  61. Eric SOTTAS, Former Secretary General of the World Organization against Torture, OMCT (Switzerland)
  62. Ahmet INSEL, Economist, Editor, Journalist and Political Scientist (Turkey)
  63. Baskın ORAN, Academician, Political Scientist, Politician and Human Rights Activist (Turkey)
  64. Mehmet RASGELENER, Economist (Turkey)
  65. Onur HAMZAOĞLU, Doctor of Medicine (Turkey)
  66. Hakkı TAŞ, Doctor of Medicine (Turkey)
  67. İsmail BEŞIKÇI, Sociologist (Turkey)
  68. Kadir CANGIZBAY, Sociologist (Turkey)
  69. Murat BELGE, Academician, Translator, Literary Critic, Columnist, Civil Tights Activist and Turkish Tour Guide (Turkey)
  70. Binnaz TOPRAK, Academician and Former Deputy (Turkey)
  71. Muhammed YASIN, Academician and Activist (Turkey)
  72. Taner BAYRAK, Academician (Turkey)
  73. Semra SOMERSAN, Academician (Turkey)
  74. Mevlut ULGEN, Academician (Turkey)
  75. Serdar M. DEĞIRMENCIOĞLU, Academician and Writer (Turkey)
  76. Bülent BILMEZ, Academician and Writer (Turkey)
  77. Prof. Dr. Ümit CIZRE, Academician and Writer (Turkey)
  78. Sibel ÖZBUDUN, Academician, Writer, Human Rights Activist (Turkey)
  79. Carmen Monica CERCELESCU, Lawyer, Communication Specialist in Law, Communication Department Chief of The National Union of Romanian Bars (Romania)
  80. Fethiye ÇETIN, Lawyer, Writer, Human Rights Activist (Turkey)
  81. Sami EVREN, Former President of the Confederation of Public Workers Unions (Turkey)
  82. Akın ATALAY, Media Boss, Attorney (Turkey)
  83. Ahmet Hulusi KIRIM, Attorney at the Istanbul Bar (Turkey)
  84. Erdal DOĞAN, Attorney at the Istanbul Bar (Turkey)
  85. Ergin CINMEN, Lawyer (Turkey)
  86. Kemal AKKURT, Lawyer (Turkey)
  87. Mebuse TEKAY, Lawyer (Turkey)
  88. Şiar RIŞVANOĞLU, Lawyer (Turkey)
  89. Ziya BAYRAK, Lawyer (Turkey)
  90. Fethiye ÇETIN, Lawyer (Turkey)
  91. Konnan KOFFI, President of the International Observatory for Non-Violence (France)
  92. Akın BIRDAL, Politician and Human rights activist (Turkey)
  93. Aydın ENGIN, Journalist, Playwright, Screenwriter and Politician (Turkey)
  94. Ufuk URAS, Politician (Turkey)
  95. Ümit FIRAT, Politician (Turkey)
  96. Mehmet Nafiz KOÇ, Politician (Turkey)
  97. Eşber YAĞMURDERELI, Writer, Screenwriter, Poet, Short Story Writer, Activist (Turkey)
  98. Attila TUYGAN, Writer, Editor, Translator, Researcher and Human rights activist (Turkey)
  99. Orhan ALKAYA, Poet, Writer, Actor (Turkey)
  100. Vecdi SAYAR, Critic, Writer, Director (Turkey)
  101. Uğur AKER, Writer and Economist (Turkey)
  102. Prof. Dr. Eser KARAKAŞ, Writer and Economist (Turkey)
  103. Prof. Dr. İştar GÖZAYDIN, Professor for Law and Politics, Founder of Helsinki Citizens Assembly (Turkey)
  104. Cengiz AKTAR, Political Scientist, Journalist and Writer (Turkey)
  105. Erdoğan AYDIN, History Researcher, Journalist, Author (Turkey)
  106. Cumali UYAR, Journalist and Writer (Germany)
  107. Ercan İPEKÇI, Journalist and Lawyer (Turkey)
  108. Yalçın ERGÜNDOĞAN, Journalist and Writer (Turkey)
  109. Sengun KILIÇ, Journalist and Writer (Turkey)
  110. Doğan ÖZGÜDEN, Journalist and editor (Belgium)
  111. İnci HEKIMOĞLU, Journalist (Turkey)
  112. İnci TUĞSAVUL, Journalist (Belgium)
  113. Güngör ŞENKAL, Linguist and Writer (Austria)
  114. Temel DEMIRER, Writer and Human rights activist (Turkey)
  115. Ayşegül DEVECIOĞLU, Writer (Turkey)
  116. Fikret BAŞKAYA, Writer (Turkey)
  117. Mustafa PAÇAL, Writer (Turkey)
  118. Reyan TUVI, Writer (Turkey)
  119. Oya BAYDAR, Writer (Turkey)
  120. Pervin ERBIL, Writer (Turkey)
  121. Melek ULAGAY, Writer (Turkey)
  122. Ragıp ZARAKOLU, Writer (Turkey)
  123. Bülent TEKIN, Writer (Turkey)
  124. Nazar BÜYÜM, Writer (Turkey)
  125. Sait ÇETINOĞLU, Writer (Turkey)
  126. Babür PINAR, Poet, Writer (Turkey)
  127. Hanna BETH-SAWOCE, Writer (Sweden)
  128. Hovsep HAYRENI, Writer (Belgium)
  129. Necmiye ALPAY, Writer (Turkey)
  130. Viki ÇIPRUT, Writer (Turkey)
  131. Neşe ERDILEK, Writer (Turkey)
  132. Nesteren DAVUTOĞLU, Writer (Turkey)
  133. Erdoğan KAHYAOĞLU, Writer (Turkey)
  134. Hakan TAHMAZ, Writer (Turkey)
  135. Recep MARAŞLI, Writer (Germany)
  136. Hüseyin Habip TAŞKIN, Writer (Turkey)
  137. Şükrü HAMARAT, Building engineer (Turkey)
  138. Hacı ORMAN, Movie director (Turkey)
  139. Haldun AÇIKSÖZLU, Movie director (Turkey)
  140. A. Serdar KOÇMAN, Sworn Translator (Turkey)
  141. Madiambal DIAGNE, President of the International Union of the Francophone Press (Senegal)
  142. Iulia NUELEANU, Journalist, Chief Editor, Former State Counsellor (Romania)
  143. Alev ER, Journalist (Turkey)
  144. Cengiz ÇANDAR, Journalist (Turkey)
  145. Necati ABAY, Journalist (Turkey)
  146. Bülent ATAMER, Journalist (Turkey)
  147. Valentin STELIAN BĂDESCU – Associate Scientific Researcher, Lawyer at Bucharest Bar (Romania)
  148. William C. PETERS, J.D., LL.M. – Coordinator for Legal Studies, SUNY Plattsburgh (USA)
  149. Audrey KESSLER, Owner of The Write Hand of Ohio (USA)
  150. İsmail Cem ÖZKAN, Graphic artist (Turkey)
  151. Walter VAN STEENBRUGGE, Partner at Van Steenbrugge Advocaten (Belgium)
  152. Johan HEYMANS, Partner at Van Steenbrugge Advocaten and Assistant at the University of Antwerp (Belgium)
  153. Constantin IONUT COJOCARU – University Lector, Journalist, History Researcher, President of the Glasul Istoriei Association (Romania)
  154. Fatma DIKMEN, Former KNK member (Turkey)
  155. François DE VARGAS, Former Secretary General of the Association for the Prevention of Torture-APT, Former Secretary of the NGO Public Eye (Switzerland)
  156. José L. GOMEZ DEL PRADO, International Human Rights Expert, Former Member UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries (Switzerland)
  157. Lars SEMMERUD, Administrative Leader at “Bydelsfedre” (Norway)
  158. Helga ØVSTHUS, Board Leader at “Unlimited” (Norway)
  159. Monica MARCELLA, Board Leader at “La Humla Suse” (Norway)
  160. Amina FRENSE, Founder-Director of South African Editor’s Forum (South Africa)
  161. Felix KAIZA, Independent Media Consultant (Tanzania)
  162. Mehmet ÖZER, Artist (Turkey)
  163. Pınar AYDINLAR, Artist (Turkey)
  164. Ferhat TUNÇ, Artist (Turkey)
  165. Şanar YURDATAPAN, Composer, Songwriter, Human Rights Advocate (Turkey)
  166. Isaac LONGWE, Human Rights Defender, Amnesty International (East Africa)
  167. Halil SAVDA, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  168. Zeynep TANBAY, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  169. Pınar ÖMEROĞLU, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  170. Bülent ATAMER, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  171. Ali GÖKKAYA, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  172. Esra KOÇ, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  173. Gürhan ERTÜR, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  174. Hanife YÜKSEL, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  175. Evren ALTINER, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  176. Mahmut KONUK, Human Rights Defender (Turkey)
  177. Mehmet ULUIŞIK, Human Rights Defender (Germany)
  178. Habib MIRADJI, Director of Azaniapost operating in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)
  179. José Oswaldo URBINA PEREZ, Cruz Saco Educational Institution General Manager, Lima Chamber of Commerce Education Commission Member (Republic of Peru)
  180. William CARREÑO PÉREZ, Education Commission Advisor of the Congress of the Republic of Peru (Republic of Peru)
  181. Aaron COHEN (USA)
  182. Frank Schwabe, German Federal MP, SPD Parliamentary Group Human Rights Policy spokesperson, vice-chair of the European Council German Delegation
  183. International Observatory of Human Rights (United Kingdom)
  184. International Association of People’s Lawyers (France)
  185. Open Dialogue (Poland)
  186. Lawyers’ Rights Watch (Canada)
  187. Australasian Muslim Times (Australia)
  188. Human Rights Foundation (USA)
  189. Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights (Canada)
  190. Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (Germany)
  191. Human Rights Monitoring Institute/ Žmogaus teisių stebėjimo institutas (Lithuania)
  192. International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (United Kingdom)
  193. Ankara Initiative for Freedom of Thought (Turkey)
  194. Initiative Against Thought Crime (Turkey)
  195. German Institute for Global and Area Studies (Germany)
  196. Association for Dialogue and Solidarity of Lawyers (Asociația pentru Dialog și Solidaritate a Avocaților) (Romania)
  197. International Association for Human Rights Advocacy – IAHRA (Switzerland)
  198. Human Rights Defenders (Germany)
  199. Solidarity With Others (Belgium)