Tag Archives: Turkey

Turkey: İstanbul governor nixes investigation into Erdoğan bodyguards who beat lawyer

August 20, 2019

The İstanbul Governor’s Office has refused to allow an investigation into two police officers who, as bodyguards of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, reportedly beat a lawyer in İstanbul in April after complaints from the lawyer that the presidential motorcade was holding up traffic, Turkish media reports said on Tuesday.

The governor’s office claimed the police officers used proportionate force; hence, there was no need for an investigation.

Lawyer Sertuğ Sürenoğlu claimed he was beaten by bodyguards of Erdoğan after he objected to the president’s security detail holding up traffic. Sürenoğlu was on a bus trying to get home when the traffic became gridlocked due to road closures to make way for Erdoğan’s motorcade.

As the bus was stuck in traffic for a while, Sürenoğlu complained about the situation to police officers.

Some of Erdoğan’s bodyguards were reportedly in the vicinity and forced Sürenoğlu into a vehicle, where they tied his hands from behind and beat him for two hours.

Later they forced him to sign a statement saying he had insulted President Erdoğan.

After he signed the document, they handed him over the police for formal detention, after which he was put under house arrest by an İstanbul court, although he told the prosecutor what he had experienced.

The lawyer as well as the Ankara Bar Association later filed criminal complaints against Erdoğan’s bodyguards.

İstanbul governor nixes investigation into Erdoğan bodyguards who beat lawyer

https://www.haberler.com/istanbul-valiligi-erdogan-in-korumalari-ile-12345256-haberi/ (TURKCE)

https://www.a24.com.tr/avukat-sertug-surenoglunu-doven-polisler-hakkinda-karar-aciklandi-haberi-40157115h.html?h=56 (TURKCE)

https://www.sozcu.com.tr/2019/gundem/avukat-doven-korumalara-sorusturma-izni-verilmedi-5290707/ (TURKCE)

https://www.yenicaggazetesi.com.tr/avukat-doven-cumhurbaskanligi-korumalarina-ne-oldu-243327h.htm (TURKCE)

Turkey: Turkey’s provincial bar associations wage unexpected war on Ankara

August 17, 2019

Feyzioğlu

The Turkish Bar Association, said on Saturday that its president Metin Feyzioğlu would attend a ceremony marking the beginning of the judicial year at the Turkish Presidency’s Congress and Culture Centre in Ankara despite provincial bar associations’ calls for a boycott, Artı Gerçek news site reported.

According to Birgun newspaper, so far 41 provincial bar associations, including those in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, announced that they had declined the invitation to attend the event over ethical concerns. Only three associations have accepted participating the ceremony, according to the same newspaper.

In a statement on Friday, the Istanbul Bar Association said it could not accept a choice of venue that conflicted both with the constitution’s 104th article, which deal with the president’s duties in relation to the judiciary, but also with ethical standards outlined in a legal reform package unveiled in May.

The Ankara Bar Association on Saturday said in a written statement that attending an event for the new judicial year at the presidential venue would mean reproducing the political pressure over the judiciary.

The association said the existing circumstances in Turkey had been surpassing both the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Turkish Bar Association, the umbrella organisation of provincial bodies, said in a written statement that Feyzioğlu would attend the event and deliver a speech.

“What our colleagues and nation expect is solve our problems through dialogue. We fully believe that we can solve those problems together by discussing and through dialogue,” it said.

The European Commission said in its annual report on Turkey published in May that the country had been experiencing considerable backsliding in the rule of law and the judiciary. The EU’s executive body said there were serious concerns on the independence of the judiciary, noting that some 30 percent of the judges and prosecutors were either dismissed or removed following a coup attempt in 2016.

https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-judiciary/turkeys-provincial-bar-associations-wage-unexpected-war-ankara

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-17/erdogan-faces-backlash-from-lawyers-boycotting-palace-ceremony

Bar associations refuse to attend judicial year opening at Presidential Palace

https://ahvalnews.com/turkish-judiciary/turkish-bar-associations-reject-invitation-state-ceremony-presidential-venue-over

https://ahvalnews.com/rule-law/turkey-109th-out-126-countries-rule-law-index

https://bianet.org/english/law/206052-turkey-ranks-worse-in-rule-of-law-index

https://www.dw.com/en/european-parliament-votes-to-suspend-turkeys-eu-membership-bid/a-47902275

https://ahvalnews.com/turkey-eu/eus-blind-eye-turkey-may-prove-costly

9 bar associations to boycott new judicial year opening at presidential palace

https://www.france24.com/en/20190818-turkish-lawyers-threaten-boycott-of-erdogan-s-courts-ceremony

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkish-bar-associations-to-boycott-judicial-year-ceremony-145859

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/turkish-bar-groups-boycott-court-ceremony-at-erdogan-s-palace-1.3990123

Turkish Bar Associations boycott new judicial year opening at presidential palace (updated)

European Court of Human Rights: ICJ and others intervene in case of former Amnesty Turkey Chair Taner Kiliç

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Bars_Association

http://www.tabloidgazete.com/metin-feyzioglu-saraydaki-torene-katilacak/ (TURKCE)

https://halkweb.com.tr/barolar-daveti-reddetmisti-peki-tbb-ne-yapacak/ (TURKCE)

https://www.barobirlik.org.tr/ (TURKCE)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/flash-actu/les-avocats-turcs-menacent-de-boycotter-une-ceremonie-d-erdogan-20190818 (FRANCAIS)

Turkey: Appeal Court upheld the sentence given to Gulen’s lawyer

August 5, 2019

Ankara Regional Appeal court upheld the sentence given to Gulen’s lawyer, Nurullah Albayrak who is the member of the Ankara Bar Association.

The conviction was based on a petition which Nurullah Albayrak had filed with the General Directorate of Security and some provincial security directorates in July 2014. In the same petition which was dated  9 July 2014 Nurullah Albayrak reportedly urged the law enforcement officers not to comply with illegal orders which could eventually result in their criminal liability, and urged them to only comply with the law.

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Upon Albayrak’s petition, an indictment dated 17 September 2015 issued against him with the charge of professional misconduct and he was convicted by Ankara 9th Heavy Penal Court on 29 September 2016 in absentia.

Ankara Regional Appeal court, which had considered the appeal, last week upheld the two-year prison term given by the Ankara 9th Heavy Penal Court. In a separate case, life imprisonment is being sought for Albayrak for leading of an armed terrorist organization.

Since the coup attempt of 2016, 311 Turkish lawyers have been convicted to a total of 1967 years in prison under Turkey’s Anti-Terror Legislation.

Appeal Court upheld the sentence given to Gulen’s lawyer

Turkey: International law obligations to release lawyer Nurullah Albayrak | Letter

http://www.kontrgerilla.com/mansetgoster.asp?haber_no=9528#.XUk4t28zbIU (TURKCE)

Turkey: Free expression organizations highlight unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression in report to UN

August 5, 2019

More than three years since Turkey’s 2016 failed coup and one year after its state of emergency was lifted, the government continues its relentless and pervasive crackdown on civic space, media freedom and dissenting voices.

Turkey’s human rights record will come under review by the UN Human Rights Council during the Universal Period Review (UPR) mechanism in January 2020. Ahead of the review, ARTICLE 19, P24, PEN International, English PEN, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), International Press Institute (IPI), Freemuse, European Centre for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF), IFEX and Norwegian PEN have made a submission to the UPR.

“This report charts the extraordinarily rapid decline in the rule of law and freedom of expression in Turkey over the last four years. The Turkish authorities have dismantled the independence of the judiciary and more journalists have been jailed than anywhere else in the world,” Sarah Clarke. “We urge UN member states to take much stronger action in holding Turkey to account for these violations.”

“The Turkish media is pinning its hopes on international mechanisms and the United Nations Human Rights Council to end its persecution,” IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “This report not only highlights the precarious situation in Turkey, but also makes suggestions to remedy the situation.”

Amongst the report’s key recommendations are to urge Turkey to restore the rule of law and impendence of the judiciary, to release all jailed journalists and to drop the hundreds of baseless charges against journalists, artists, civil society actors and academics.

Turkey: Free expression organizations highlight unprecedented crackdown on freedom of expression in report to UN

https://rsf.org/en/news/turkey-leading-coalition-free-expression-organisations-highlight-unprecedented-crackdown-freedom

International Coalition consists of Bar Associations and NGOs made submission on rights violations in Turkey

http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/bhrc-joins-international-coalition-of-legal-organisations-raising-concern-for-turkeys-lawyers-and-judges/

Joint UPR submission Turkey

SCF’s submission for the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Turkey

Turkey: ICJ Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR)

UPR of Turkey: Joint Stakeholder Submission to the UN Human Rights Council

https://www.article19.org/resources/turkey-upr-submission-on-threats-to-freedom-of-expression/

https://www.scholarsatrisk.org/2019/07/sar-calls-for-action-to-counter-mass-targeting-of-higher-education-communities-in-turkey/.

Turkey: workshop on the use of the UN Universal Periodic Review

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/TRindex.aspx

http://www.un.org.tr/humanrights/en/universal-periodic-review-3rd-cycle

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/18/un-urged-to-act-over-purge-of-turkeys-lawyers-by-erdogan

https://ahvalnews.com/torture/lawyers-says-torture-rise-turkey-2016-coup-plot

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release Lawyer Eren Keskin | Letter

July 21, 2019

Mr. Abdulhamit Gül
Minister of Justice
06659 Kizilay
Ankara, Turkey

We write on behalf of Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), a committee of lawyers and human rights defenders who promote international human rights, the independence and security of human rights defenders, the integrity of legal systems and the rule of law through advocacy, education and legal research. LRWC has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

LRWC has written in the past with respect to various Turkish lawyers and human rights defenders who have been detained, arrested, charged, and/or imprisoned in violation of Turkey’s international human rights law obligations and Turkey’s own Constitution. Communications to the Government of Turkey have been made by LRWC regarding the cases of: Selçuk Kozağaçlı, Şebnem Korur Fincancı, Ramazan Demir, Erin Keskin, Mustafa Aydin, Can Tombul, Taner Kilic and numerous other Turkish lawyers. LRWC has also made oral and written statements to the UN Human Rights Council and submissions to the UN Human Rights Council and Special Procedures regarding widespread persecution of lawyers, journalists and other human rights defenders through wrongful prosecutions and convictions, arbitrary detention and other grave rights violations.

We have previously written to you regarding Turkish lawyer Eren Keskin, most recently on 5 April 2019. Ms Keskin has been the target of an ongoing campaign of political and judicial harassment, having been charged and convicted on multiple occasions with respect to alleged crimes that would not be considered crimes in any country governed by the rule of law. We understand that Ms. Keskin was most recently sentenced (on 21 May 2019) to a term of imprisonment of 3 years and 9 months in relation to charges of “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” under Article 7(2) of the Anti-Terrorism Law.

LRWC is once again gravely concerned regarding the continuing and unjust persecution of lawyer Eren Keskin. The criminal charges are illegitimate and unfounded.  This prison sentence, combined with prior and pending charges, could subject Ms. Keskin to an extremely lengthy prison term that effectively could see Ms. Keskin die in prison.

Turkey: International Law Obligations to Release Lawyer Eren Keskin | Letter

http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/bhrc-joins-international-coalition-of-legal-organisations-raising-concern-for-turkeys-lawyers-and-judges/

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/07/gezi-protest-detainee-released.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/18/un-urged-to-act-over-purge-of-turkeys-lawyers-by-erdogan

https://ahvalnews.com/torture/lawyers-says-torture-rise-turkey-2016-coup-plot

Factsheet: Turkish Constitutional Court

Factsheet | Turkey’s Criminal Peace Judgeships

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eren_Keskin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Rights_Association_(Turkey)

https://www.jiyanhaber.net/avukat-eren-keskin-kurt-askere-yonelik-linc-iddialarini-paylasti/ (TURKCE)

https://www.ihd.org.tr/ (TURKCE)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eren_Keskin (FRANCAIS)

https://www.ordineavvocaticagliari.it/docs/news_22_07_2019_23982.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1LLJy9a27NoCV3hqefkxS6s_ps87hlvvQrmetJgNB9FfgLQytmK5SBk1o (ITALIANO)

Turkey: Joint submission by the ALI, the ODF and the HRD on abuse of Anti-Terror Law and criminalization of legitimate exercise of the freedom of expression

July 18, 2019

A coalition consists of the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, the Open Dialogue Foundation and the Human Rights Defenders e.V. made a joint submission titled ‘ARBITRARY APPLICATION OF ANTI-TERRORISM LAWS AND CRIMINALIZATION OF USING AN I-MESSAGE APPLICATION (BYLOCK)‘ to the United Nations Human Rights Council for Turkey’s UPR session.

The Submission concluded that: 

  1. Criminalization of the use of ByLock constitutes the retroactive punishment because a) it is not foreseeable under Turkish laws, b) it is unprecedented in Turkish case-law, c) at the time of such alleged use it was not the object of sufficiently precise, valid law to which a sufficiently certain sanction was attached,
  2. The use of ByLock does not prove criminal guilt.23 Using an electronic communication software which was offered to public use via the most visited and famous online platform (i.e Apple and Google Play stores) is legitimate exercise of fundamental rights, namely the freedom of expression and the freedom of [confidential] communication, not a crime. Freedom of expression includes the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, including all forms of electronic and internet-based modes of expression,
  3. A conviction may be based on correspondence which show a crime has been committed provided that such correspondences have been legally acquired and in any case it is supported with other concrete evidence,
  4. An arrest or detention that lacks any legal basis—in violation of the principle of legality—is arbitrary. Retroactive criminal punishment by detention amounts to arbitrary detention. Arrest or detention as punishment for the legitimate exercise of the rights as guaranteed by the ICCPR, such as freedom of expression, is arbitrary,

Joint submission by the ALI, the ODF and the HRD on abuse of Anti-Terror Law and criminalization of legitimate exercise of the freedom of expression

International Coalition consists of Bar Associations and NGOs made submission on rights violations in Turkey

The Arrested Lawyers made submission to the United Nations on ongoing crackdown against lawyers in Turkey

https://ahvalnews.com/purges/international-group-urges-un-action-over-purge-turkish-legal-professionals

SCF’s submission to the United Nations Universal Periodic Review of Turkey

State of emergency measures still haunt Turkey on 3rd anniversary of failed coup

http://camerepenali.it/cat/10046/un_altro_processo_in_turchia_contro_degli_avvocati_.html (ITALIANO)

https://arrestedlawyers.org/

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Turkey/UK: Society joins plea to UN over Turkey’s ‘chilling roll call of injustice’

July 18, 2019

Image result for law society of england and wales

Turkish citizens are resorting in vain to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in ever greater numbers, as trust in their domestic courts erodes, the Law Society of England and Wales said today in a joint submission to the UN Human Rights Council’s universal periodic review of Turkey on behalf of an international coalition of legal organisations.

’Judges’ and prosecutors’ independence has been systematically undermined in Turkey since the failed coup in 2016,’ Law Society president Simon Davis said. ’Hundreds of judges, prosecutors and lawyers have been arrested, detained and convicted on charges of terrorism without credible evidence.

’Lawyers have been identified with and punished for their clients’ causes. More than 1,500 lawyers have been prosecuted, hundreds of them in mass trials,’ he said. Lawyers who can still practise report intimidation and threats.’

Davis said that this menacing environment undermines the right of every citizen to legal representation and a fair trial, which may explain why Turkish citizens submitted more than 57,000 petitions to the European Court of Human Rights in 2017.

According to the submission, Turkey’s chilling roll call of injustice includes:

  • 57,039 petitions to the ECtHR in 2017 from Turkish citizens, 25,000 of which rejected for failure to exhaust domestic remedies
  • 4,260 judges and prosecutors dismissed
  • 634 judges and prosecutors convicted on terrorism charges
  • 1,546 lawyers prosecuted, 311 sentenced to a total of 1,967 years in prison
  • 599 lawyers arrested and detained

’Turkey must protect the independence of lawyers, judges and prosecutors – in legislation and in practice – so that they can perform their professional duties without intimidation and improper interference,’ Davis said. ’The rule of law and the independence of the legal profession are essential foundations for political, social and economic stability.’

He said that the Law Society and the international legal profession will continue to support colleagues working in difficult conditions and do whatever it can to help restore meaningful access to justice in Turkey.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/international/society-joins-plea-to-un-over-turkeys-chilling-roll-call-of-injustice/5071046.article

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/18/un-urged-to-act-over-purge-of-turkeys-lawyers-by-erdogan

https://www.australasianlawyer.com.au/news/legal-coalition-urges-un-to-act-on-persecution-of-lawyers-and-judges-in-turkey-264636.aspx

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/european-court-cannot-help-thousands-of-persecuted-lawyers-in-turkey-5fm5hw2wp

Joint UPR submission Turkey

http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/bhrc-joins-international-coalition-of-legal-organisations-raising-concern-for-turkeys-lawyers-and-judges/

Int’l lawyers say Turkey’s justice system being undermined by post-coup purge

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/

UPR Turkey Combined

http://bianet.org/english/human-rights/210569-33-years-of-the-ihd-15-directors-and-members-of-which-killed-from-vedat-aydin-to-tahir-elci

https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/07/turkey-outlandish-charges-against-osman-kavala-and-15-others-must-be-dropped/

https://www.lawsociety.ie/gazette/top-stories/ten-year-backlog-of-10000-cases-dogs-european-court-of-human-rights/

https://tr.euronews.com/2019/07/18/avrupa-hukuk-orgutleri-bm-ye-turkiye-raporu-insan-haklari-aihm-15-temmuz-mahkum-cezaevi (TURKCE)