Crimes Against Kurds

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Crimes Against Kurds

Saturday 17th April, 2021.

Turkish soldiers captured two kolbars in the countryside of the Beydoğan (Şexsicih) village in Çaldıran district of Van province, bordering Iran, yesterday morning. According to reports, kolbars Hesen Keçelano (35) and Behnam Semedi, both from Rojhilat (East Kurdistan, Iran) were heavily tortured by Turkish soldiers. While Behnam Semedi suffered deep wounds in several parts of his body as a result of torture, with his face covered in blood, Hesen Keçelano lost his life. Semedi was then left at the border with the dead body of Keçelano.

Monday 5th April, 2021.

Turkish police confiscated opposition Kurdish newspaper Yeni Yaşam as a criminal element during home raids in Amed (Diyarbakir). Political genocide operations are continuing with mass arrests in North Kurdistan and Turkey. 22 women have been detained during an operation targeting the Roza Women's Association in Amed in the morning. It is reported that documents of membership in the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), legal books and Yeni Yaşam Newspaper were confiscated as criminal elements during the raids on the houses of the detainees.

Thursday 25th March, 2021.

Erdoğan’s onslaught on rights and democracy targets women, Kurds, LGBT people, democratic safeguards, says Human Rights Watch. The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is dismantling human rights protections and democratic norms in Turkey on a scale unprecedented in the 18 years he has been in office, said Human Rights Watch on Wednesday. The government took further dangerous measures over the past week to undermine the rule of law and target perceived critics and political opponents.

Thursday 18th March, 2021.

687 HDP members face political activity ban. The indictment prepared to ban the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has been published by the state-run Anadolu news agency even before it reached the HDP itself. On Wednesday, Bekir Şahin, chief prosecutor of the Court of Cassation, had sent an indictment to the Constitutional Court on the initiative of the ultra-nationalist AKP coalition partner MHP to have the HDP banned through legal action. One of the allegations given was that the party's politicians intended to undermine the integrity of the state through their statements and actions.

Sunday 14th March, 2021.

Emine Şenyaşar launched sit-in in front of the courthouse in Urfa 5 days ago demanding justice after the triple murder of her husband and sons by the bodyguards and relatives of AKP Deputy İbrahim Halil Yıldız. On 14 June 2018, during the campaign for the General Election of June 24, the Şenyaşar family was targeted by a wave of attacks by the bodyguards and relatives of AKP MP İbrahim Halil Yıldız during visits to tradespeople. The attacks which then spread to Suruç State Hospital claimed the lives of Hacı Esvet Şenyaşar (67) and his sons Adil (36) and Celal Şenyaşar (41).

Tuesday 2nd March, 2021.

Dutch Parliament condemns Turkish pressures on the HDP. Deputy Sadet Karabulut condemned the arrest of HDP deputies and the continuous pressure on the party in a debate on a motion on the issue tabled in the Dutch Parliament. The Dutch parliament condemned the repression of the HDp carried out by the Turkish state and said urged Turkey to act within the framework of the European Union and release the arrested politicians.

Wednesday 24th February, 2021.

The trial against HDP’s Kocaeli provincial co-chair Leyla Aygün and others accused of "being members of an illegal organization" and "making propaganda for an illegal organization" was held at the 2nd High Criminal Court in Kocaeli. The court sentenced HDP member Mehmet Alçınkaya, Gebze District co-chair Ebubekir Çoban, party member Damla Bağcı and CHP council member Osman Kurum to 7 years and 6 months for alleged "organization membership". Mehmet Karaslan and Kudbeddin Güneşsu received 6 years 10 months and 15 days in prison and HDP Provincial co-chair Leyla Aygün and Emine Karaaslan was sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison.

Friday 5th February, 2021.

The Turkish army launched an operation in the rural areas of Mızag (Kılıçlı), Xemzê (Bayırlı), Mexmedêlê, Melê (Yönlüce), Qörmık (Konuklu), Zengesor (Akçabudak), Dızeyni (Yamaçlı) villages / neighborhoods in the north and northeast of Amed's (Diyarbakir) Lice district in the morning hours. Political genocide operations were carried out in many villages in an air-supported operation. Thirteen people, including the village headman (mukhtar) of Yönlüce village, Mekin Yalçın and a 74-year-old citizen, Ramazan Aslan from Duzeyni village, were among those detained.

Friday 22nd January, 2021.

Members of the European Parliament on Thursday (January 22) called on Turkey to immediately and unconditionally release former Co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been detained by the Turkish authorities for more than four years on terrorism-related charges. On December 22nd, 2020, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Demirtaş must be freed, saying that Turkey’s justification for his detention for the last four years was a pretext for limiting political debate.

Monday 4th January, 2021.

79 journalists were detained, 24 journalists were jailed, 19 journalists were attacked, and 1960 news articles were blocked during 2020. DFG co-chair Dicle Müftüoğlu, who defined the year 2020 as "a balls up", said, "Detention, arrest, investigation, trial, prison sentence, access block, screen blackout. Press workers who try to make the voices of those otherized heard and act with the principle of genuine and courageous journalism defying the pro-gov’t mainstream media have been targeted.”

Wednesday 23rd December, 2020.

HRW calls for the immediate release of Demirtaş, “The Turkish government must act without delay and cannot disregard this judgment with specious arguments that it doesn’t apply to Demirtaş’ current detention,” said the Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

Monday 7th December, 2020.

A protest was staged in Van to raise objections to a child molestation which involves 27 persons, including soldiers, police officers and village guards in Gercüş district of Batman. HDP Van Deputy Murat Sarısaç and HDP members also supported the action organized by Free Women’s Movement (Tevgera Jinên Azad, TJA) activists in front of the HDP headquarter. The police blocked the party headquarter and insulted MP Sarısaç, saying they would not allow the statement to be read out. Police attacked the crowd with batons as they were preparing to make a statement confronting the threats of the police.

Friday 20th November, 2020.

As rights violations experienced in Turkey's prisons increase, new scandals appear. Translation fee for letters in Kurdish, which was previously applied in different prisons, is also applied in Diyarbakır Closed Women's Prison. According to the information received from the detainees, the prison administrations demand translation fees from the detainees for the Kurdish letters they send and receive. The detainees define such a verdict on Kurdish as persecution, since there is no similar regulation for letters written in different languages such as English, French and German.

Thursday 5th November, 2020.

HDP Deputy Feleknas Uca stated that the Ankara Public Prosecutor's office, which prepared a summary on Uca, made a confession that the MIT organized the Paris Massacre. Asking Turkish Justice Minister Abdul Hamid Gül to answer, Uca said: "the French judicial authorities, who arrested killer Omar Güney after the massacre, exposed his connection with MIT and confirmed he had come to Turkey three times before the massacre. They tried to get answers from the MIT organisation in Ankara and its relevant institutions but received none.”

Thursday 29th October, 2020.

Repression against the free press in Turkey continues. The AKP/MHP regime has once again blocked the website of the women's news agency JinNews. The Turkish Information and Communication Technologies Authority (BTK) has blocked JinNews in Turkey eleven times in the past. The all-female agency's journalists and editors are repeatedly subjected to legal actions and imprisoned.

Monday 19th October, 2020.

Kurdish prisoner Serkan Tumay has reportedly died as a result of the torture to which he was subjected in a detention center in Kırıkkale province in central Anatolia. The relatives of the Kurdish prisoner from Bitlis, who was sentenced to two years in prison, told ANF that Tumay was severely mistreated by the staff of the F-type prison in Kırıkkale about a month ago, according to his fellow prisoners, and among other things he was beaten with his head against the wall. He is said to have suffered several bone fractures and skull fractures. It is unclear whether he was admitted to hospital.

Monday 5th October, 2020.

Feleknas Uca and Hişyar Özsoy, HDP Foreign Affairs co-spokespersons issued a written statement to draw attention to the policies of intimidation against HDP’s youth assembly carried out by police, that criminalize young members and their activities." After the Turkish police’s scandalous kidnapping of Hatice Büşra Kuyun, HDP’s party assembly member, in the province of Van on 11 May 2020, several HDP youth assembly members were similarly kidnapped in broad daylight, intimidated, threatened, and tortured.

Sunday 20th September, 2020.

Two Kurdish farmers remained in hospital today after suffering horrific injuries when they were tortured and thrown from a helicopter in Turkey’s south-eastern province of Van. The families of Osman Siban and Servet Turgut filed a criminal complaint with the Van chief public prosecutor’s office after the pair were treated in intensive care for injuries consistent with falling from a height. They have demanded an urgent investigation is carried out into the incident, which has left the men with serious trauma.

Thursday 3rd September, 2020.

The death of Turkish human rights lawyer Ebru Timtik after a long hunger strike was entirely preventable, UN human rights experts said in a statement, calling on Turkey to release other human rights defenders. “No one should have to die in pursuit of a fair trial; it is a fundamental human right,” they said. “This is an utter waste of a human life, and we are greatly dismayed at the death of this, courageous woman human rights defender, as well as the circumstances that led to her death.”

Thursday 20th August, 2020.

After the death of Kurdish Ipek Er, women have been protesting against the state rape policy in numerous cities in Northern Kurdistan and Turkey. 18-year-old Ipek Er committed suicide in Batman after being held, drugged and raped by Turkish sergeant Musa Orhan for weeks. Before her suicide attempt, she had filed charges against the rapist. The sergeant was briefly arrested and released less than 24 hours later.

Thursday 6th August, 2020.

In Turkey, 98 journalists are currently in prison, said the report which added that 2 journalists were detained in July, 3 journalists were attacked, news coverage of journalists was prevented in 2 incidents, 4 journalists were investigated, lawsuits were filed against 3 journalists, 1 journalist was punished, 64 journalists stood trial, internet access was blocked for 8 news and a total of 124 URL addresses.

Friday 31st July, 2020.

Turkey’s newly-passed social media law will silence criticism of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the country has been “taking steps to close the window on press freedom once and for all. Accelerating after a failed coup attempt in 2016, Turkey has been targeting journalists in unfair trials and media pluralism has been all but destroyed in the country.

Saturday 18th July, 2020.

As conservative media and ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials discuss Turkey’s withdrawal from a council of Europe human rights treaty against domestic and gender-based violence, Turkey’s women are calling for a demonstration on Sunday to protest domestic and sexual violence against women and children. Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said was in favour of a withdrawal and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu described how the withdrawal process would be undertaken.

Sunday 28th June, 2020.

Turkey has conducted hundreds of cases of torture and thousands of rights violations between 2010 and 2019, a new report issued by Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD) revealed last week. According to İHD chairman in the majority-Kurdish city of Diyarbakir in southeast Turkey, Abdullah Zeytun, 690 out of 3,569 rights violations that were issued to his organization were related to torture.

Wednesday 17th June, 2020.

Police surround HDP Provincial building in Amed. Barricades were put up to prevent the people gathered in front of the HDP Amed Provincial Organization to join the Democracy March coming from Hakkari.

Tuesday 2nd June, 2020.

The murder of a 20-year-old Kurdish man in Ankara has launched a wave of accusations of discrimination in Turkey over the mistreatment of the ethnic minority. Barış Çakan was visiting a park with a friend in Ankara’s Etimesgut neighbourhood on Sunday night when he asked three men to turn down the volume of the music playing from their car during the evening call to prayer. The friend told police that an argument ensued and Çakan was stabbed in the heart and killed,

Wednesday 27th May, 2020.

Conditions are worsening in Turkey's prisons. The HDP called on international institutions and authorities to closely monitor prisons in Turkey and mobilize the mechanisms and resources at their disposal to protect the rights and health of prisoners.

Sunday 24th May, 2020.

Like so many Kurdish families, Halime Aksoy had been mourning the loss of her son without his body. It wasn’t until this year that Agit İpek’s bones were finally given to his family, some three years after his death. What is different about this family’s experience is that Turkish officials sent Agit İpek’s remains in a small package via the state postal service – cash on delivery.

Thursday 7th May, 2020.

Thousands pay tribute to Ibrahim Gökçek who died today, the bassist of the socialist band Grup Yorum, who led a death fast protest for 323 days in protest at the state repression against his group. With the protest, the 39-year-old musician demanded the lifting of the concert ban of Grup Yorum, an end to the police raids against the Idil cultural centre, the release of all imprisoned band members and the cessation of all legal proceedings.

Friday 1st May, 2020.

Turkish police carried out simultaneous house raids in the Hacıbekir (Xaçort) neighborhood in Van’s central İpekyolu district this morning. Police forces broke the doors of the houses targeted in the operation, turned everything upside down and detained 14 people. The operation was reportedly carried out in response to the demonstration staged by the youth on April 20 in protest at the Turkish attacks against Zînî Wertê in South Kurdistan and the Turkish officials sending the remains of slain HPG guerrilla to his family in a box by mail.

Tuesday 21st April, 2020.

COVID-19 coronavirus may have already caused significant damage before Turkey announced its first confirmed case on March 11 on Monday. According to data compiled from public records of deaths in Istanbul, there have been some 2,100 more deaths in March and April 2020, compared to data from the last two years. Around March 17, when Turkey announced the first coronavirus-related death, the number of deaths overall in Istanbul was already considerably higher than historical averages An indication that the virus had arrived several weeks earlier.

Thursday 16th April, 2020.

Organized crime boss Alaattin Cakici, 67, serving a prison sentence in Turkey was set free today as Turkish authorities continued releasing thousands of inmates to ease overcrowding during the coronavirus pandemic while keeping government critics behind bars. He was imprisoned for convictions on charges that included instigating murder, armed attack, money laundering, leading an illegal organization and insulting the president. At least 85 journalists and more than 3,500 pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party members, including former party leaders and lawmakers remain imprisoned.

Tuesday 17th March, 2020.

Nine people who were taken into custody in Adıyaman’s Çelikhan district from the 9th to 13th of March, have been referred to court. Those detained in the operations include former co-mayors of DBP-held Bulam town, Mehmet Çağlan and Cevahir Büyükşahin. While three of the detainees were released after giving their statements, the other six were remanded in custody for alleged “membership to an illegal organization”.

Saturday 7th March, 2020.

Turkey’s General Directorate of Security announced on Saturday it would be launching investigations into any form of misinformation on the presence of coronavirus cases in the country. The investigations will include any form of social media posts sparking fear in the population, the directorate said in an official statement on its website. The move is adding fuel to concerns that the Health Ministry of the country, surrounded by countries where the disease has been found, is hiding cases of the deadly virus.

Tuesday 25th February, 2020.

Former residents of the ancient town of Hasankeyf in southeast Turkey have visited the area to bid a painful final farewell as it is submerged underwater.

The Turkish government approved the building of Ilisu Dam in the town in 1997, aiming at generating electricity for the region, creating jobs and boosting the local economy. However, the decision uprooted some 80,000 people from nearly 200 villages in the affected area as it sinks by 15cm per day. The history of the predominantly Kurdish city, located in Mardin province, dates back nearly 12,000 years

Tuesday 18th February, 2020.

The Turkish police continue to take brutal action against the Kurdish people. Dozens of people were arrested in early morning raids, in Şırnak, Urfa, Batman, Adana and a ninety-year-old woman was mistreated in İdil by masked police officers.

Hundreds of opposition members have been arrested in recent days in Diyarbakir, Dersim, Mardin, Van, Muş, Ağrı, Ankara, Istanbul, Mersin, Kocaeli and Istanbul, among others.

Saturday 18th January, 2020.

Children in Turkey’s Kurdish majority east and southeast face developmental challenges due to chronic hunger, according to a new report by the country’s health and education ministries.

A total of 3.5 percent of children in the eastern region and 5.4 percent of children in the southeast region experienced stunted growth due to chronic hunger, compared to as low as 1 percent found in their peers in the western regions of the country, the TOÇBİ report found.

Sunday 12th January, 2020.

74-year-old Nebi İlhan, a prisoner in SÊRT (Siirt) E Type Prison, lost his life in the hospital where he was being treated. There are hundreds of Kurdish political prisoners left to die in prisons by Turkey.