Turkey punishes another TV channel by blackening out its screens

Halk TV in Turkey has been ordered to black out its screen for 5 days by the TV and Radio governing body (RTUK) for a program they broadcasted. The body accuses the channel of offending and underestimating the Turkish Armed Forces. It also accuses the channel of going against the rules set by the governing body which allegedly protects the principles of the Republic.

For this reason Halk TV will be forced to have its screen shut between 28 September and 3 October. Freedom of press and expression in Turkey is near non-existent and fines are enforced at all levels.

On 25 September Yeni Yasam newspaper was fined and had access denied to the paper. Only last month TELE1 TV channel was also fined and had their screen blacked out for 5 days.

 

 

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Prosecutors order the arrest of dissidents, including Kurdish Opposition

In the early hours of 25 September in Turkey, 82 people, including former executives and prominent members of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), were arrested for participating in the October 2014 protests against the siege of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani by Islamic State.

Back then huge protests took place in Turkey’s southeast in which protestors accused the Turkish army of protecting Islamic State.

President Tayyip Erdogan’s government accuses anyone who is not supporting AKP’s Islamic-nationalist alliance in the country with having links to terrorism and/or being a traitor. This has resulted in the prosecution of thousands.  

Mayors have been replaced by trustees in municipalities won by the HDP, thousands of members including former co-leaders and the MPs of the party were detained.

There is also a climate of intimidation against journalists and writers. Prominent journalist Can Dündar, was arrested and charged with aiding an armed terrorist organization after publishing photos and videos of Turkish intelligence officials trucking arms to Syria in 2014.  

Similarly, acclaimed writer Aslı Erdoğan was arrested in 2016 alongside more than 20 other journalists for being an advisory board member and columnist of a pro-Kurdish newspaper.

And yet again today in addition to the arrested HDP members, dissident writers were also on the target list of Erdogan’s prosecutors. Members of the “Anonymous Movement” (İsimsizler Hareketi), a social media solidarity group of writers and journalists with different political backgrounds aiming to fight against the propaganda of pro-government trolls, have also been targeted and detained.

We urge the UK government to end collaboration with Erdogan’s oppressive regime and stand with dissidents and democratic institutions.

 

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Presidential Decree Issued To Confiscate Villagers’ Land

Every day Turkey is becoming a more eco-destructive country and a highly controversial project is again on the country’s agenda.

The Biogas plant project at Çapaklı, a village in Turkey’s western Manisa province, is another example of the Turkish government’s support of construction with no regard for the environmental impact.

Residents of Çapaklı, a village surrounded with fertile farmlands and olive gardens, have been resisting the construction project, saying that they are the owners of these lands and will be displaced, with nowhere else to go, if the plant goes ahead.

As seen on many other occasions, once again security forces were brought in and used disproportionate force to break the villagers’ resistance back in July and detained more than 30 villagers at the time.

Now a presidential decree has been issued in the country’s official gazette which begins the procedure for land expropriation in the region to make way for the biogas plant construction.

Seçil Ege Değerli, lawyer representing the villagers, criticised the decision saying that “immediate expropriation is an extraordinary method that can be employed only under exceptional circumstances.”

Değerli also described the ongoing process as “legal but unlawful” and stated that “there is no benefit to the overall public nor the villagers, and the decision is solely for the interests of the private (biogas) company.”

We call for solidarity with the resistance and stand against the capitalist exploitation of the environment.

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Security Forces raid activists’ resistance area in Mount Ida

The resistance against the mining operations of Canada-based Alamos Gold Inc and its Turkish subcontractor Doğu Biga Mining at Mount Ida (Kazdağları) in Turkey’s north western Çanakkale province has been continuing for 425 days.

Activists say that the mining project will harm the natural cycle irreversibly by contaminating soil and water sources to extract gold. Over time ad-hoc protests in the region evolved into a large-scale solidarity campaign against the destruction of the precious ecological structure of the mountainous area.

Alamos Gold and Doğu Biga are still operating in the area despite their legal mining licence being expired, and according to the satellite images, they have cut down more trees than they earlier claimed. Yet protestors have been fined 500,000 Turkish Liras under the pretext of enforcing Coronavirus pandemic measures for their ongoing resistance.

Turkish gendarmerie raided the protestors’ Kirazlı campaign area at Mount Ida on September 22 and detained four of them.

Government and its security forces are the protectors of this project which is plundering the areas natural resources and as the social solidarity gains momentum they are making efforts to block the resistance, both locally and globally.

We call for solidarity with the resistance and stand against the ecological destruction of Mount Ida.

#KazdağlarınıSavun

#KazdağlarıHepimizin

 

 

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Evrensel columnist sentenced to 10 years and 6 months imprisonment

 

Yusuf Karatas, columnist for Evrensel Newspaper has been sentenced to 10 years and 6 months in prison for participating in the Democratic Society Congress (known as the DTK) panel in 2011.

Karatas spoke at the DTK as a member of the executive of the Labour Party of Turkey (Emek Partisi, or EMEP). Like Karatas, other executives and MPs from the current ruling party, the AKP, also spoke at the event. However Karatas has faced charges of “terrorism” whilst AKP representatives have not faced any proceedings.

Karatas who has been sentenced for his participation in panels in 2011, was detained in July 2017 and imprisoned for 57 days at the time. He was later released pending the trial.

EMEP is a legal political party in Turkey, but speaking publicly on behalf a legal party can easily result in charges of “terrorism” and imprisonment if you do not support the ruling AKP.

 

 

 

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Soldiers throw villagers out of military helicopter in Turkey

Servet Turgut and Osman Şiban were detained on September 11 by soldiers conducting an operation in the Çatak district of Van province in the east of Turkey.

According to eyewitnesses the two men were subjected to torture in the village square and then detained in a military helicopter. Other villagers who defied the detention were also threatened with death by the soldiers.

Relatives tried to find the whereabouts of the detainees but could not get an answer from the soldiers. When the relatives threatened to go to the press, an unnamed official told them that they are receiving treatment in the Van Regional Training and Research Hospital.

Later Servet Turgut ve Osman Şiban were found by their families at hospital under intensive care after they were thrown out of the helicopter by the soldiers. The families have applied to the Van Bar Association Human Rights Commission and filed a criminal complaint for manslaughter.

There have been numerous reports about the ill treatment to the Kurdish people by Turkish soldiers, and in recent months human rights violations and particularly the cases of torture in Turkey have increased.

We urge all human rights organisations not to be silent and stand up for the right to life and freedom from torture in Turkey.

 

 

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Journalist Can Dündar’s property to be confiscated

Turkish courts have ruled in favour of confiscating Can Dündar’s property. Can Dündar was imprisoned for espionage in Turkey after exposing the Turkish National Intelligence Organisation’s (known as MIT) complicity in the provision of arms to ISIS. Dündar had taken the decision to publish the story when he was the chief editor of Cumhuriyet.

During Dundar’s trial he was the victim of armed assault. The experienced journalist was forced to flee the country as his life was at risk and a decision was made in the case against him on 17 September. According to the judgment, if Can Dündar does not return to Turkey within 15 days, he will be considered a fugitive and his property in Turkey will be confiscated.

Can Dündar made a statement following the judgement of the court, saying that in the past 40 years he has worked as a journalist, documentary maker and writer, and that it has been through his and his wife’s labour that they have been able to buy a home and summer home. He said that these kinds of actions cannot stop people telling the truth.

When the complicity of the National Intelligence Organisation in providing arms to ISIS in Syria was exposed, the Turkish state authorities did not refute the existence of the arms and gave conflicting explanations. Some representatives said at the time that the arms were being transported to “Turkmen”, others said “a secret service can do anything.
Exposing these secrets is a betrayal” – showing that even when the National Intelligence Organisation is giving weapons to terrorist organisation ISIS, publishing this as news is considered “treason” and treated as criminal.

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100 musicians commit suicide in Turkey

100 musicians commit suicide in Turkey

It has been announced that 100 musicians and singers have committed suicide in Turkey since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has caused significant hardship for those employed in the music  industry.  Throughout the pandemic there has been no government support provided to artists and musicians, many of whom have committed suicide because they have been unable to work or provide for their families.

Gamze Tascier, MP for the main opposition party CHP, shared with the public information from the Musician’s union (Muzik-Sen). Tascier highlighted that many have had to sell their musical instruments and said that “most work with no security and workers in the music and performing arts industry do not benefit from any government support. Hundreds of thousands of people have been left to starvation and death”.

 

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Turkish Medical Association under threat in the midst of the pandemic  

Like countries all over the world, coronavirus continues to threaten lives in Turkey. Devlet Bahceli, the leader of the racist MHP (nationalist movement party) has called for the shutting down of the Turkish Medical Association.

The Turkish Medical Association had said previously  that the Government are withholding the truth from the public and that the number of coronavirus cases in Turkey are higher than stated, insufficient precautions are being taken and everyday one medical professional is dying.

In Turkey, the Minister for Health owns private hospitals. Erdogan’s wife Emine Erdogan tubs a hospital in partnership with the Health Minister. Private hospital owners have turned health into a market place for trade.

Birleşik Krallık’taki sağlık emekçileri örgütlerinin Türk Tabipleri Birliği’ne destek olmaya çağırıyoruz. Çünkü tüm dünyada sağlık emekçileri hepimizin gururudur.

All political parties in Turkey have opposed this call by Devlet Bahceli, except for the MHP and the ruling AKP.

SPOT stands with medical and health workers all over the world, and calls on the British Medical Association and Health Professionals to support the Turkish Medical Association.

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Racist attacks in Turkey at dangerous levels

 

Doğan Çetin, who was doing his compulsory military service in the western Turkey in Edirne was physically attacked by two soldiers for saying “wish we had been educated in Kurdish”. The attack took place on 15th August during which Çetin fractured his nose and forehead.  Çetin, who filed a complaint with the police, said that the attackers are being protected by some of the military commanders and his life is at risk.

Despite making up at least a quarter of the population in Turkey, in practice Kurdish remains banned. It is claimed that people can speak whatever language they choose but, as this example shows, even the simple desire to be taught in Kurdish can result in an attack.

In recent times racist attacks have been increasing in Turkey. Just yesterday in Konya, western Turkey, Ozkan T – a Kurdish worker – was killed and two others were injured in another racist attack. In Samsun, Northern Turkey,  Eymen Hammami a 16 year old Syrian was also stabbed to death.

Erdogan and the AKP government have been igniting racial tensions and using racist rhetoric, including that “the Turkish race is superior” and that everybody living in Turkey is Turkish.  It is these politics that have led to the increase in racist attacks on Kurdish people and minorities in Turkey, and emboldened racist groups and individuals.

 

 

 

 

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