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Turkey

    October 18, 2018

    Saudi, Turkish Cooperation Essential to Credibility

    (New York, October 18, 2018) – Turkey should urgently ask UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to establish a United Nations investigation into the possible extrajudicial execution of the prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Reporters Without Borders said today.

    The investigation should determine the circumstances surrounding Saudi Arabia’s role in the enforced disappearance and possible killing of Khashoggi. It should aim to identify everyone responsible for ordering, planning, and executing any operations connected with the case.

    “Turkey should enlist the UN to initiate a timely, credible, and transparent investigation” said Robert Mahoney, deputy executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. “UN involvement is the best guarantee against a Saudi whitewash or attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative business ties with Riyadh.”

    September 19, 2018

    The order by an Istanbul court to remand 24 construction workers and union leaders in prison pending trial is a blatant attempt by the authorities to silence legitimate protest, Amnesty International said today.

    The workers and union leaders were amongst the hundreds of others who had been detained in police custody since 15 September following protests in Istanbul about working conditions at the construction site of a new airport due to open in the city next month. Clashes ensued after the police intervened to end the protest.

    “Rather than stifle legitimate peaceful protest with water cannons, tear gas and detentions, the Turkish authorities must listen to the complaints of the workers and ensure they have a safe and dignified place of work,” said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey Expert.

    Workers complained of inhumane working and living conditions at the site and lack of workplace safety as well as delays or omissions in receiving their salaries and social security payments.

    August 15, 2018

    We are thrilled to announce that our colleague, Taner Kılıç, Honorary Chair of Amnesty Turkey, has been released from jail today after over 432 days in prison.

    “We are overjoyed at this news. It has taken us more than a year of campaigning and struggle to get here, but it appears that Taner will finally be freed." Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s new Secretary General.

    Millions of people worldwide have taken action on this case, which has no doubt pressured the authorities, helping to secure Taner’s release.

    Thank you to all of those who sent messages of solidarity for Taner as part of Write for Rights 2017!

    In Canada and thanks to the support of people like you, we have spoken up for Taner:

    February 2018. Solidarity action after Taner’s release and re-arrest.

    July 18, 2018

    Three months after the government of President Daniel Ortega first unleashed its lethal strategy of repression on student demonstrators on 18 April, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “Three months after the state repression began in Nicaragua, around 300 people have been killed – the vast majority of them by police or pro-government armed groups. President Ortega has shown time and again that he will stop at nothing to crush all those who dare to oppose his government and anyone unfortunate enough to get in the way, including children, students, victims’ mothers and members of the clergy.”

    “In recent days the widespread attacks against the civilian population have intensified and grown in terms of scale and coordination, with aggressors carrying lethal weapons deployed to cities like Masaya that have come to symbolize the resistance to President Ortega’s merciless regime. The Nicaraguan authorities must immediately restrain the state security forces and dismantle the armed groups that are clearly acting with their support.”

    July 18, 2018

    Responding to the fact that Turkey’s the state of emergency will not be renewed when it expires at the end of the day, Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director said:

    “Whilst the lifting of the two-year state of emergency is a step in the right direction, it needs to be accompanied by urgent measures if it is to be anything more than a cosmetic exercise.

    “Over the last two years, Turkey has been radically transformed with emergency measures used to consolidate draconian powers, silence critical voices and strip away basic rights. Many will remain in force following the lifting of the state of emergency.

    “Hundreds of journalists, human rights defenders and activists, including Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, have been detained simply for doing their jobs.

    June 27, 2018

    Responding to the news that the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice has ruled for the release of imprisoned academic and writer Mehmet Altan, Amnesty International’s Europe Director Gauri van Gulik said:

    “The release of Mehmet Altan was long overdue. His imprisonment was a travesty of justice that was emblematic of the deep flaws within the Turkish justice system.

    “The country’s Constitutional Court twice ruled his imprisonment to be in violation of his right to freedom and security, yet unbelievably the trial court defied the ruling of Turkey’s highest court and condemned Mehmet to another six months of incarceration.

    “Today’s welcome regional court ruling confirms the Constitutional Court’s decision as ‘final and binding’. The courts must now turn their attention to the thousands of others who remain unfairly detained in Turkey, including Amnesty international’s own Taner Kılıç.”

    Background

    Mehmet Altan has been held in Silivri prison, Istanbul since 22 September 2016.

    June 21, 2018

    In response to the continued detention of human rights defender, Taner Kılıç, after the latest hearing against him, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Today’s heart-breaking decision to keep our colleague in jail is yet another travesty of justice.

    “After more than a year away from his family, and without a a shred of credible evidence presented to substantiate the absurd charges made against him, his cruel and protracted incarceration defies all logic.

    “Earlier this month, any fig-leaf of legitimacy for the prosecutor’s case was stripped away with the submission of the long-delayed police report. By failing to find any evidence that Taner ever had the ByLock messaging app on his phone, the report removed the central accusation against him. A second police report submitted to the court this morning, confirmed that there was no trace of Bylock on Taner’s phone.

    June 20, 2018
    Amnesty Secretary General meets Taner Kılıç in jail for first time Trial resumes in Istanbul on 21 June Amnesty Secretary General and directors from four countries to attend hearing

    On the eve of the resumption of his trial, jailed Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, has made an impassioned plea for people not to stay silent on the issue of human rights abuses in Turkey and vowed to carry on his work when he is released.

    “When I am released I want to carry on. I know now more than ever how important human rights are,” Taner told Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Salil Shetty, who visited him in Şakran high security prison today.

    “Others in are in a worse situation than me,” Taner continued, stressing the need for solidarity with everyone who has been unjustly jailed in Turkey.

    June 18, 2018

    •         Police report finds nothing to suggest Taner Kılıç ever had the controversial ByLock app on his phone

    •         Trial resumes in Istanbul on 21 June

    •         Amnesty Secretary General and directors from four countries to attend trial

    More than a year after his arrest, a 15-page police report finally submitted by the prosecution, fails to find any evidence that Amnesty International Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç, ever had ByLock on his phone. The alleged presence of the secure messaging application was central to the case against the rights defender, who is still languishing in prison.

    The findings of the police report do not substantiate the central accusation against Taner and Amnesty International is therefore renewing its call for his immediate release and acquittal.

    June 18, 2018

    Taner Kiliç, Amnesty International Turkey's Honourary Chair, has spent more than a year in prison. Taner’s trial, and that of 10 other human rights defenders, resumes in Istanbul on June 21st. 

    In June 2017, Taner Kiliç was charged and jailed as part of a crackdown on human rights defenders. Taner has done nothing wrong and never should have been arrested. 

    Taner is our friend and colleague. We will not give up until he is free. 

    Join our call to #FreeTaner and demand his immediate and unconditional release. Here's how: 

    1. TAKE ACTION NOW

    Sign and share our action demanding that Taner be released immediately and unconditionally.

    >>SIGN NOW

    2. SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR TANER

    Make a sign with a message calling for Turkey to #FreeTaner. Include a message about where you are from. 

    June 06, 2018

    Despite the government’s cynical crackdown on human rights, activists for justice and freedom will not be silenced, Amnesty International said on the first anniversary of the detention of Taner Kılıç.

    The Honorary Chair of Amnesty International Turkey was arrested on 6 June 2017 on a baseless charge of belonging to a terrorist organization. More than a million people have since raised their voices and backed Amnesty’s campaign for his immediate release.

    “Today we mourn the year of Taner Kılıç’s life that Turkey’s government has unjustly taken from him, but this is also a moment to redouble our efforts to secure his release and that of many other civil society activists whose work has cost them their freedom,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “Turkish authorities have fostered a climate of fear by mercilessly persecuting those who dare to speak out. But today, Taner’s hundreds of thousands of supporters worldwide stand in solidarity to send a resounding message to the Turkish government: we will not be silenced.”

    June 04, 2018

    By Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Director of Campaigns for Europe

    To be forgotten. People who have been wrongfully imprisoned say the fear of being forgotten is one of their biggest worries in prison. 

    The chilling fear that eventually, nobody will care about what happens to them. A creeping anxiety that they will languish in captivity, while the world outside slowly forgets their very existence.

    Such thoughts have also slipped through the mind of Amnesty Turkey’s Honorary Chair, Taner Kılıç. This 6th of June, the human rights lawyer has been deprived of his freedom for a whole year, although he’s done nothing wrong.

    But throughout this ordeal, he has gained strength from the support of people all over the world: “Even if an imprisoned person may fall in the illusion that he would be forgotten even by his closest ones -like “forgotten prisoners”- my situation has been the opposite in fact.

    In addition to my family and friends, I’ve become known in and watched by the world thanks to Amnesty International.”

    May 11, 2018

    Ahead of tomorrow’s planned student Pride march at the Middle East Technical University - cancelled by the university’s rector under the blanket ban of LGBTI events by Ankara’s city authorities - Fotis Filippou, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Europe said:

    “For the last seven years students at this university have marched through their campus in support of LGBTI rights. Rather than banning Pride events, university and city authorities should be supporting and protecting such marches. Students must be allowed to march without fear of intimidation or violence.”

    “It is not just this university’s march that is under threat. Such bans have been used to reverse a once progressive trend to counter homophobia and transphobia in Turkey.”

    Background

    Ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on 17 May, Amnesty International are calling on Ankara Governor to reverse the blanket ban on all LGBTI events in Ankara.

    May 02, 2018
     Journalists in Turkey speak about the climate of fear on global day of action for World Press Freedom Day  Journalists & celebrities around the world join campaign co-organised by Amnesty International calling for release of more than 120 jailed media workers and denouncing politically motivate trials and sentences they are facing

    Journalists have spoken out about the stifling climate of fear that has enveloped Turkey’s media landscape, ahead of a global day of action to demand the release of more than 120 journalists still imprisoned since the failed 2016 coup.

    The journalists spoke of the challenges they face in the wake of the crackdown and the urgent need for international solidarity. Some spoke from jail. Others, including the editor-in-chief of the opposition daily Cumhuriyet, had just been sentenced. All are under under constant threat of arbitrary detention, prosecution and conviction for nothing more than doing their jobs or for expressing peaceful opinions.

    April 25, 2018

    A sustained and escalating crackdown curtailed the vital work of human rights defenders in Turkey and left swathes of society in a state of constant fear, a new report from Amnesty International has revealed.

    The report, Weathering the storm: Defending human rights in Turkey’s climate of fear, reveals how few areas of Turkey’s once vibrant independent civil society have been left untouched by the ongoing state of emergency.  A nationwide crackdown has resulted in mass arrests and dismissals, the hollowing out of the legal system and the silencing of human rights defenders through threats, harassment and imprisonment.

    “Whilst the jailing of journalists and activists may have hit the headlines, the profound impact that Turkey’s crackdown has had on wider society is harder to quantify but it is no less real,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Gauri van Gulik.

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