Gendarmerie opens fire on peaceful protest in Turkey


Turkish gendarmerie opened fire against villagers protesting the demolition of their barns for a marble quarry in the village of Gurpinar in Van eastern province of Turkey on 26 May 2021.

“Where shall we go?” said the villagers stressing that their only source of income is livestock and they are afraid of the death of their animals.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP’s shared video recordings of the incident via their official social media accounts. The footage showing villagers screaming and running away while shots are being fired has caused outrage. Social media users expressed their reactions under the #VanGurpinardaVahset hashtag.

The mentioned footages can also be reached at: https://twitter.com/ekolojibirligi/status/1397912566978863107

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SPOT calls for the immediate release of health care workers

Trade union leaders and the members of the Turkish Health and social service workers union (SES) were arrested last week.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office claims that the SES members “operated under the name of ‘the public health committee’ but were connected with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).” It is believed that the prosecution’s claim is connected to the previous accusations related to the round-the-clock military lockdown lasting 78 days from December 2015 to March 2016 in Turkey’s Kurdish populated towns. At the time SES members were accused of aiding “terrorists” due to their volunteer ambulance service in the area which saved lives during the military lockdown.

Turkey’s leading progressive unions and associations including Public Employees Trade Union (KESK) and Turkish Medical Association (TTB) released a joint press statement calling on the AKP government to release the SES members.

“The arrest of health workers is an intervention in the fight against the pandemic” said SES and Ankara Chamber of Medicine in their recent press statement.  

The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), Unison and Unite the Union (UNITE) has also expressed international solidarity with the Turkish health workers and called for their immediate release.

As SPOT we are calling on the Turkish government to release the health and social service workers immediately.

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Organised Crime Leader Exposes AKP Corruption on Youtube

Sedat Peker, who was convicted for organised criminal activity in 2007 in Turkey, has broadcast a series of videos via his personal YouTube account. He has been in exile in Dubai for the last two weeks.

He released allegations against well-known figures in Turkey including Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu, former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar and his son Tolga Agar – MP from ruling AKP.

“You will be defeated by a camera on a tripod” says Peker.

Mehmet Agar’s drug trafficking and illegal confiscation of a marina; Tolga Agar’s cover up about the death of a journalist who filed a complaint of sexual assault against him are among some of the revelations of Peker.

But Peker’s main target is Interior Minister Soylu. He claims that he heavily invested in Soylu in politics for the last 20 years, so much that he even is at odds with Berat Albayrak (Erdogan’s son in law) because of his support of Soylu which was going to be a license to get him back into the country. The Criminal leader also said that Soylu tipped him off about a legal action targeting himself so that he could escape abroad. 

Furthermore Peker doesn’t stop there, he exposes public offices of criminal activity, confesses that he is accustomed to such practices and even shared videos and exposed an individual close to the government who publicly denied speaking to him. 

Peker’s expose of senior Ministers and those close to Erdogan demonstrate the scale of corruption and illegality within the ruling AKP.

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In the face of Israel’s brutal crimes, we can’t remain silent!

SPOT Statement on Palestine

Israel is attempting to ethnically cleanse Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied Jerusalem.

As Palestinians protest in Jerusalem against these evictions, and Israel’s ongoing programme of ethnic cleansing, Israeli forces have responded with brutality, including an assault on worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque that has wounded hundreds.

Israel has now started bombarding the population of besieged Gaza, many refugees from Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948. So far, dozens of Palestinian civilians have been killed, including children.

The plans to forcibly dispossess the families is part and parcel of Israel’s attempt to alter the demographic balance of the city, by ethnically cleansing Palestinians, while simultaneously providing financial and political support for illegal Jewish-only settlements built on stolen Palestinian land.

The UK government must take immediate action and stop allowing Israel to act with impunity. It must demand an end to current proceedings to evict these families, and start holding Israel accountable for all its actions ,which contribute to the crime of apartheid. This includes through implementing sanctions, and banning the import of goods from Israel’s illegal settlements.

In the face of Israel’s brutal crimes, we can’t remain silent!

We demand that the UK government take action.

SAVE SHEIKH JARRAH, STOP BOMBING GAZA, FREE PALESTINE!

#SaveSheikhJarrah #FreePalestine

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Turkish Army Kills Civilian in Dersim

Murat Yildiz, a 28-year-old Kurdish man was killed by Turkish soldiers in Dersim (Tunceli) in eastern Turkey on 7 May 2021.

Local sources said that Yildiz may have been killed by a drone (UAV) attack which occurred near the village of Agacpinar.

Tunceli Gendarmerie Command said in a written statement that three members of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were killed in the scope of “Operation Eren-7” in Tunceli and has released footage of the weapons and equipment allegedly belonging to the three people who died in a civilian car alongside Murat Yildiz. The earlier statements which were shared on the social media saying that “The operation was led by the Tunceli Gendarmerie Command and was assisted by the Turkish Air Force.” were deleted afterwards. At the time no official source shared any statement mentioning Murat Yildiz’s name or an incident concerning the targeted killing of a civilian.

Upon public reaction on the killing of Murat Yildiz -who was a great-grandson of a prominent spritual figure of the Dersim Alevi culture, Seyit Riza- official sources made contradictory statements. Murat Yildiz’s parents were summoned to the district gendarmerie headquarters and were asked to provide DNA samples for identification of a body. Yet the Governor’s Office of Tunceli said that “There is no civilian death and there has been no air or land bomb attack in any way.” The Governor’s office claims that “the terrorists detonated explosives in the vehicle.”  

Alican Onlu, People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MP for Tunceli gave an exclusive interview to SPOT regarding his visit to the Yildiz family. Onlu said that Mazlum Yildiz, father of Murat Yildiz was summoned to the Torunoba police headquarters where a police officer told him that his son’s car has been hit from the air. The father saw the remains of the vehicle and afterwards the remnants of the burnt body that still awaits identification. Onlu stressed that some social media accounts linked to the JOH (Gendarmerie Special Operations) members shared graphic images of the corpses which were deleted shortly after the official statements denying any drone (UAV) activity. Onlu also pointed out that the Governor’s Office has claimed that they have the video images of the full operation to deny the reports about a targeted killing of a civilian but have not not shared any recordings yet.

Dersim Bar Association has made a written statement calling for a comprehensive investigation into the incident, in their statement they highlight that “The villagers cited that there were two explosions, with helicopters and UAVs at the scene. Those who saw the vehicle reported that the vehicle was burnt and there were hundreds of bullet marks.”

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Parliamentarians call for UK government to take action to prevent human rights violations in Turkey

On Tuesday, May 11th over 50 Parliamentarians co-signed a joint letter by Crispin Blunt MP and Hilary Benn MP regarding Britain’s relationship with Turkey.

The letter outlines the sharp decline in human rights under President Erdogan’s leadership. It called for the Government to take a more active stance in seeking to prevent human rights violations in Turkey and called for the UK to add its voice in calling to account Turkey’s Human Rights violations. 

The letter highlights that the “UK owes the people of Turkey a duty to speak up openly for a return to the path of democracy and respect for human rights and pluralism. We request that [the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs) make an early statement to Parliament, making clear to the Turkish government that the United Kingdom’s public friendship cannot be unconditional and that we will always stand up for human rights. The UK’s many friends in Turkey would welcome and draw strength from such a statement of Britain’s position as they work to restore a properly open society.’


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SPOT SENDS SOLIDARITY TO SISTERS IN TURKEY


On the 10th Anniversary of the Istanbul Convention SPOT sends solidarity to the hundreds of thousands of women in Turkey fighting back against the Turkish State’s attacks on women’s rights and gender equality.

Violence against women has intensified during the Covid-19 pandemic in Turkey and gender inequality has been rife, with women workers more likely to be in low paid insecure jobs, sacked, discriminated, and forced to work overtime. Particularly after the outbreak of Covid-19 we have heard from women in Turkey, how they have been forced into the home into ever more difficult domestic violence situations, which have been compounded by challenges relating to childcare and increasing debts.


In these circumstances the Istanbul Convention provides desperately needed protections and safeguards for women in Turkey, and SPOT condemns Erdogan’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention by Presidential Decree on 20 March.


As SPOT we stand with the women in Turkey fighting for their right to safety, justice, liberty and equality at home, in society and at work. The Women’s movement in Turkey is an inspiration to us here in the UK.

As SPOT we support your demands for the reinstatement of the Istanbul Convention, and call on the UK Government to end its silence on the Turkish state’s attacks gender equality, perpetuation of violence against women and girls, exploitation and discrimination of women in the workplace, and criminalisation of the women’s movement.

#İstanbulSözleşmesi10Yaşında @ekmekvegul @esik_platform


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Turkey bans sale of alcohol citing the precautions against the pandemic

The AKP and Erdogan’s regime has banned the sales of alcohol as part of its announcement that there will be a complete “lock down” between 29 April and 17 May in the effort to fight the spread of Covid-19. No support is to be available for workers and those living in poverty. 

The decision to ban sales of alcohol is considered a further step in the regime’s imposition of Islamic rules and values on the country. 

Many people in Turkey were supportive of a “lock down”as factories and many non-essential businesses remained opened even as Covid cases increased. However, while the government has called this a “lock down”, it is no different to previous measures. Shops and supermarkets selling essential groceries can remain open, however they will not be allowed to sell alcohol. Opposition groups have attacked the restriction of alcohol sales, stating that this is ideologically led and a further example of interference in the private lives of Turkey’s population. 

The AKP and Erdogan’s regime have been exposed for significant breaches of social distancing, demonstrating that there is one rule for the ruling AKP and another for members of the public. Recently Erdogan’s AKP party transported thousands of supporters to their party conference at which no social distancing measures were in place for participants – at the same time other parties were banned from social gatherings/conferences citing the need for social distancing in order to take precautions against the spread of Covid-19. The government also allowed thousands (including the Minister for Health) to participate in the funeral of a religious leader, whilst restricting all other funerals to 30 participants.  With no hint of irony, the Minister for Health appeared on national television in the evenings calling on people not to participate in social gatherings. 

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court refuses examination of Cizre Massacre


The Constitutional Court in Turkey has rejected another application seeking accountability for the deaths of civilians who died in the basements of buildings in the Kurdish town of Cizre (in the province of Sirnak) during the imposition of curfew 5 years ago.

Cizre was turned into a war zone under a round-the-clock military lockdown lasting 78 days from December 2015 to March 2016, during which civilian life was heavily impacted and             people lost their lives as a result of the lockdown and military intervention. There was particular outcry when more than 100 civilians who were sheltering in three basements in Cizre were burned alive. 

At the time various human rights organisations wanted an inquiry in the aftermath, and complained that no judicial authority was allowed into the basements to investigate the crimes.  International organisations including United Nations and  European Parliament formerly have stated that serious violations of human rights occurred in the region during the period of curfews.

The Turkish government also blocked independent investigations, with bodies being taken away and the basements were filled up with rubble to cover up the crimes. Nonetheless the remnants of human bones and military ammunition were found in the basements later. 

“Academics for Peace” organised at that time in opposing state violence and the use of  “heavy weapons and equipment that should only be mobilised in wartime” in Kurdish towns including Cizre. The academics were clear, they said “We will not be party to this crime”. As a result they were all accused of terrorist propaganda and dismissed from public duty. 

Asli Erdogan, prominent renowned author and activist, described the events in Cizre -in an interview published at 2019 in Kedistan magazine- as “beyond war”, and “a policy of massacre” and said that Cizre was a turning point for fascism.

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“Where is the $128 billion?”

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) in Turkey has accused Erdogan and his party of misuse of central bank foreign reserves to uphold the Turkish Lira in 2019-20.

Economist have calculated that back then the sales by state banks to support the Turkish lira totalled $128.3 billion.  

“Where is the $128 billion?” question has become the slogan of the CHP with posters on billboards all over the country.  The ruling AKP, annoyed by this campaign, has deemed the banners on billboards “Insult to the president.” Police forces removed the banners from the billboards and also from the windows of the CHP offices in Istanbul and elsewhere overnight.

This slogan has also became a trending topic on social media. People are asking a straightforward question: “Where is the money? Who stole it?”

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