Abuse of Interpol’s Notice System by Turkey
Assault on the Right to Education in Turkey
Abuse of Interpol’s Notice System by Turkey
The decline of democratic values and the erosion of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Turkey in recent years was followed by an increasing discrimination against persons with disabilities, on two or more prohibited grounds.
In particular in the aftermath of the attempted coup of July 15, 2016, persons with disabilities have become subject to an unprecedented and wholesale attack, aimed at suppressing all dissent among them, real or not. Among the most deplorable in the long list of violations and abuses in the post-coup Turkey are the extensive punitive measures against persons with disabilities and their family members – detained, arrested or dismissed over their alleged links to the Hizmet Movement, in flagrant breach of the obligations of Turkey under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).
Disability rights are human rights. As a State party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the Republic of Turkey should take all the necessary steps towards meeting the essential needs and promote the protection, safety and respect for the dignity of all persons with disabilities. They are entitled to equal access, without discrimination of any form, to opportunities to contribute to, and share in, the benefits of social and economic progress, free of torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention and arrest.
In recent years, Turkey has experienced a dramatic shift in its social, economic, and political dimensions, fundamentally transforming what was once a relatively stable country in an otherwise very volatile region.
In July 2019, the United States and other NATO partners decided to suspend and initiate the process to formally remove Turkey from the F-35 aircraft program, prompting experts to conclude that “Turkey has, for all intents and purposes, abandoned the West,” and Western nations should “prepare to move on without President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”1 In a dramatic step for the Turkish long-stalled EU bid, the European Parliament has repeatedly called, since 2016, for an official freeze of the membership process. The country’s leadership as a response has intensified its anti-Western narrative, mostly against the United States and, to a lesser extent, against the European Union and its member states.
This report will entertain the question of the extent to which President Erdoğan and his policies are a threat to regional and global peace and security. The review will be examining various social, economic, and political dynamics and elements involving President Erdoğan and his administration at the nationwide, regional, and international scale. Ultimately, the purpose of this report is to convey the current political and social situation in Turkey from a non-governmental perspective to relevant global and regional organizations including the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), the Council of Europe (CoE) and other relevant stakeholders. Additionally, this report seeks to raise discussions amongst civil society and policymaking circles concerning Turkey’s status quo, aiming at enabling necessary institutional revisions and necessary progress.
The present Policy Brief aims to shed light on the rationale behind the wholesale attack against the Hizmet Movement, including its classification as a terrorist organization by the government of Turkey and the international law implications of these actions, in particular, international human rights law.
Hundreds of people are detained and/or arrested every week since July 2016, for allegedly being members or sympathizers of the Hizmet Movement in Turkey. According to the recent official data from the Turkish Ministry of Justice, at least 612,347 individuals (155,014 in 2016 and 457,423 during 2017) faced investigations on accusations of “founding, leading or being a member of terror groups,” based on the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) Article 314.
Since December 11, 2015, the Turkish government classified the Hizmet Movement as a terrorist organization. In the declaration of the state of emergency, without any investigation or legal process, the Turkish Government stated that Hizmet Movement has staged a coup attempt in Turkey on 15 July 2016. Mr. Fethullah Gülen denied the accusation and called for an international commission to investigate the Turkish government’s claim and shed light on the perpetrators of the coup attempt. Internationally, the government of Turkey has repeatedly called on other governments to take measures against alleged members of the Hizmet Movement. On September 27, 2018, as he addressed the United Nations from the UN General Assembly, President Erdogan made a call to swiftly take the necessary measures against the Hizmet Movement.
The Journalists and Writers Foundation has constantly noted with great concern, the increasing number of suspicious deaths in custody since the attempted coup of July 15, 2016, in Turkey, taking place in suspicious circumstances and in a pattern of systematic recurrence. The sheer number of deaths amongst individuals deprived of their liberty comes amid severe persecution in the country and a steady deteriorating human rights situation, exacerbated by the erosion of the rule of law.
Over the last two years, the Journalists and Writers Foundation has documented the death, under very suspicious circumstances, of at least sixty-one (61) individuals deprived of their liberty in the context of “measures undertaken against the coup plotters”. The profile of individuals who have lost their lives under custody in the aftermath of the attempted coup casts shadow over the official narrative pointing out in many cases to suicide. Ever since family members of other “high-profile” prisoners have launched desperate appeals calling on the international community to save their loved ones from extrajudicial execution in Turkish prisons. This policy brief provides a closer look at this increasingly troubling situation and its international law implications.
The right to leave a country of residence or nationality is embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is also a prerequisite for the enjoyment of other human rights such as right to international protection from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Since the attempted coup in Turkey, 146,713 individuals have been dismissed from their functions, 127,794 have been taken into custody and 60,002 arrested; among them more than 9,700 women and around 700 children below the age of six. In addition, unlawful restrictions are imposed on hundreds of thousands of individuals, including the cancellation of more than two hundred thousand passports belonging to the purge victims, in violation of fundamental rules of both, domestic and international law.
The report asserts that continuing violations of basic human rights in Turkey must not be overlooked, in particular: extrajudicial killings, incitement to commit murder and impunity for acts of violence; imprisonment or other severe deprivations of physical liberty; torture and inhuman treatment; persecution of identifiable groups based on political, ethnic, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law; enforced disappearance of persons; and other inhumane acts of a similar character which are intentionally causing great suffering, or serious physical or mental injury.
The findings of the report reveal a disturbing pattern of human rights abuses against innocent children in Turkey and abroad. By the end of August 2017, six hundred sixty-eight (668) children under the age of six are in jails across Turkey with their mothers; hundreds of children living abroad are born stateless because the Turkish consulates do not provide them with passports or national IDs. The authorities in Turkey have also begun to remove children from their relatives if the parents are of being the supporters of the attempted coup.
The report aims to highlight and raise awareness about the plight of thousands of children in Turkey and abroad subject to discrimination on several grounds prohibited by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It also briefly discusses the current situation, intentional violations of the rights of the children in Turkey and offers recommendations to the government of Turkey.
The Journalists and Writers Foundation calls on local and international media to continue raising awareness on the State of Turkey’s Children who have become the victims of unlawfulness, and support our social media campaign on Twitter. We finally call on civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders to address the human rights violations against children and mothers in Turkey.
In recent years, under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule Turkey has experienced a sharp declining trend in almost all democratic indicators, including the rights of women, civil, economic and social rights, freedom of expression and media, free and fair elections, government accountability and corruption.
Since the breakdown of the Kurdish peace process in July 2015 and the July 2016 attempted coup, Kurdish and other minority women, as well as women allegedly linked to the Hizmet movement suffer disproportionate multi-faceted discrimination, in particular as regards equal access to political participation, health, education, employment and justice, both in law and practice.
Women belonging to the above marginalized groups face economic hardship, exclusion and violence, humiliating and degrading treatment in places where persons are deprived of their liberty, including in health-care facilities, especially during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.
The present report examines the systematic legislative, administrative, and other efforts by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) since the beginning of its rule, in particular since 2011 and the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt – to permanently Islamize Turkey’s education system.
İmam-Hatip schools, crucial in their role to further the AKP’s political Islam agenda as a breeding ground foar radical elements, continue to receive extensive political and material support, including through unlawful seizure (theft) of thousands of closed private educational institutions and land. Despite this aid, these schools still perform extremely poorly in all state tests.
The mushrooming of İmam-Hatip schools, the current rise in homegrown radicalization along with the surge in the number of terrorist attacks and victims caused by terrorism show that Turkey’s social fabric is undergoing a very harmful change.
Ever since the beginning of its rule, in particular since 2011, the AK Party embarked on a systematic effort to permanently Islamize Turkey’s education system. During his final term as prime minister lasting from 2011 to 2015, President Erdoğan resolutely pursued his vision to materializing his so-called “pious generation” project, or the devoutly religious generation.
The reforms the AK Party embarked on since the beginning of its rule resulted in 932,000 students attending İmam Hatip schools in 2014–2015 school year – from 65,000 at the beginning of the AKP rule in 2002, roughly a 93.5 percent increase.
İmam-Hatip schools, crucial in their role to further political Islam agenda as a breeding ground for radical elements continue to receive extensive political and material support, including through unlawful seizure (theft) of thousands of closed private educational institutions and land – to only perform extremely poor in all state tests.
The failed coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey was followed by an unprecedented purge targeting citizens from all walks of life, in particular in the education, media, business, military and justice sectors. The ongoing purge and measures introduced under the umbrella of the state of emergency have severely limited individual rights and liberties.g
The state of emergency imposed in the aftermath of the attempted coup granted the Prime Minister and his cabinet the power to rule by decree and bypass Parliament.
The first decree under the state of emergency increased the pre-charge detention limit from four to thirty days, raising legitimate concerns that such an extension will further undermine protections against acts of torture and ill-treatment as well as the right to a fair .