June 30, 2018
Taner Kılıç (49) is a Turkish human rights advocate. He is one of the founders of Amnesty International’s (AI) Turkey Branch. He has been running the duty of being the Chairman of Board of Executives since 2014. Kılıç, who is father of three children, is one of Turkey’s most knowledgeable human rights advocates on the refugee law and one of the most respected human rights activists. He has tried to raise awareness and public awareness on refugee issue through articles he wrote for numerous newspapers and conferences he has given.
Together with Taner Kılıç, the honorary chairman of Amnesty International Turkey Branch who was detained on Jun. 6, 2017 over alleged links to the Gülen movement, İdil Eser, Amnesty’s Director for Turkey, Özlem Dalkıran and Nalan Erkem, the members of the Yurttaşlık Derneği (Citizenship Association), İlknur Üstün from Women Coalition, Veli Acu and Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, foreign instructors Peter Steudtner from Germany and Ali Gharavi from Sweden, and Nejat Taştan, the General Coordinator of the Association of Equal Rights Watch and Şeyhmuz Özbekli, a representative of the Rights Initiative have been tried with a demand of sentence for 15 years of imprisonment for allegedly “helping an armed terrorist organization” and “becoming a member of an armed terrorist organisation.”
These human rights activists, who have been tried in a file known as Büyükada Case, have been accused by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and by the pro-government media of plotting a coup against the government. President Erdoğan described the Büyükada meeting of the human rights activists as a coup meeting during responding the questions directed by journalists on the issue following the G20 summit in Hamburg on July 8, 2017. Erdoğan said that “Why did they gather in Büyükada. They came together for a meeting which was almost like (controversial coup attempt on) July 15 (2016). They were taken into custody by basing on intelligence. Therefore, a judicial process may begin. The call, that they made, have also been made right now. You are also supporting this call by asking this question.”
It is already unreasonable to accuse a meeting as coup d’état meeting in Büyükada, where is open to the public, but Taner Kılıç’s situation is much more tragic. Because, Kılıç has been accused of a meeting that he could not attend. Kılıç was detained on June 6, 2017 and arrested afterwards. However, Büyükada meeting took place one month later on July 5, 2017.