An attempted lynch mob attack against the leader of Turkey’s secularist main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was encouraged by the Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu; daily Güneş provoked and shady people of the government party AKP were brought to the village and organised the attack.
BOLD – After 4 Turkish soldiers were killed in the South-eastern part of the country, Daily Güneş wrote a headline stating, “Are you happy now Ekrem?” (The new elected mayor of Istanbul from CHP).
The headline was published on the same day as Ekrem İmamoğlu’s rally in İstanbul. On the same day, the opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was attacked at a soldier’s funeral in Ankara.
During his election campaigns, Ekrem İmamoğlu attended a debate on a TV program with the editor-in-chief of daily Güneş Turgay Güler and gave him a hard time on live TV.
Turgay Güler was criticised harshly by a pro-AKP journalist afterwards due to his poor performance at the TV debate. It was even argued that İmamoğlu’s support was increased 2 points after the TV debate.
After these critics, Turgay Güler published an article targeting Ekrem İmamoğlu.
After the headline of daily Güneş, people reacted to Güler on social media stating that if Ekrem İmamoğlu was attacked during his rally in Maltepe, daily Güneş would have been responsible. Security measures were enhanced to prevent such an attack against İmamoğlu in İstanbul. However, an attack was organised in Ankara instead.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was attacked during the funeral of soldier Yener Kırıkçı who was killed in Hakkari by the PKK terrorists.
Kılıçdaroğlu was hit several times and he sought refuge in a house in the village. However, the crowd circled the house chanting “burn it down”. Security measures were visibly insufficient to protect the opposition leader. The crowd was allowed to circle the house the opposition leader was in. After an hour of tension, Kılıçdaroğlu was picked up from the house in an armoured vehicle.
THE OTHER ARCHITECT BEHIND THE ATTACK IS SÜLEYMAN SOYLU
The first sign of organised attacks against opposition party CHP’s deputies at soldiers’ funerals were sent by the Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. Süleyman Soylu said that he ordered the following to local governors on 28th June 2018:
“I sent my order to local governors not to allow CHP local representatives to attend soldiers’ funerals. That is it! They have only one address to visit and we will direct them there. Members of the PKK have funerals as well. They will have a seat at these funerals. If they cooperate at the elections, they should be together at the funerals as well.”
THE ATTACK WAS ORGANISED BY AGENT PROVACATEURS FROM OUTSIDE OF THE VILLAGE
Villagers’ statements reveal the organised nature of the attack. Following the AKP’s Minister and pro-AKP media’s lead, the controversial ‘street militia’ of the government played its role. It was argued that the AKP was planning such provocative attacks by militia groups like SADAT or Osmanlı Ocakları (Ottoman Houses). Villagers said they did not know people who carried out the attack and argued it was organised by people who came from outside of the village to attend the funeral.
The villagers commented on the attack against Kılıçdaroğlu: “Perpetrators are not from this village; they are all strangers.”
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HULUSİ AKAR ADDRESSED THE PERP ETRATORS: “DEAR FRIENDS”
While the crowds were circling the house chanting “burn it down”, the Defence Minister Hulusi Akar addressed the attackers as “Dear friends” and added that “You showed your reaction and gave a message” finishing his speech thanking the crowd. Akar defined the attempted lynch mob as a ‘reaction’ and a ‘message’ to the opposition.
AKP’S JOURNEY FROM BEING A TARGET AT SOLDIERS’ FUNERALS TO MASTER MINDING ATTACKS
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) representatives were being targeted by ultra-nationalist people at the soldiers’ funerals in the early 2000. Soldiers were refusing standing next to AKP representatives at the funerals and sometimes denying their attendance to funerals.
The table has turned and the AKP Ministers point to the opposition party as a target for soldiers’ funerals and pro-AKP media outlets encourage such acts.
Jailed cadet’s mother stands up against oppression, conquers fear
Melek Çetinkaya is the mother of a jailed 19 years-old former cadet. A campaign led by her broke the spell cast by the Erdogan regime’s reign of terror. She gets detained by police whenever she steps outside her home. However, she has no intention to remain silent.
Lives of millions in Turkey turned upside down on July 15, 2016, with the coup attempt Erdogan labeled as “a gift from God.”
Cadets, many 18-19 years of age, were among those arrested on the night of the coup bid. Çetinkaya’s 19 years old son was one of those students.
Her mom kept telling during post-coup trails that former cadets, including her son, did not involve in any illegal activities on the coup night and highlighted that they were taken to different locations at the behest of their superiors, without touching any weapon. And forensic reports confirmed her claims.
Lawyers of the Presidency were present in the courtroom when 256 former cadets were sentenced to life in prison. Çetinkaya’s son, Furkan, was one of them receiving a sentence of life imprisonment.
Melek Çetinkaya tried hard to have her voice heard on social media. She has taken her struggle a step further by staging protests in favor of jailed cadets in Ankara’s crowded streets.
Her fight also brought other mothers together. Cadets’ mothers got detained whenever they cried out for the plight of cadets sentenced to life in prison.
Çetinkaya has been taking to the streets for three months to draw public attention, and she was taken into police custody for hours in each attempt.
Çetinkaya, trying to reach out to the public through her Youtube channel, has announced her plan to start a “March for Justice” from Ankara to Istanbul.
She said she would hold the March for Justice for cadets sentenced to life in prison, jailed pregnant women, children in prison, and dismissed public servants.
March for Justice, which kicked off on January 19 in Ankara’s Guven Park, met a police intervention which saw the arrest of Çetinkaya along with 66 people.
Police encircled Guven Park and surrounded the protestors. It was a clear message saying that police would not allow a march of 450 km between Ankara and Istanbul.
Çetinkaya was detained right after stepping out of the metro, before making to Guven Park where the march would start.
“I am an aggrieved mom. You gave life sentences to 19 years-old cadets. We have been silent for three and a half years, but you will no longer be able to silence us. Justice will be served in this country,” Çetinkaya said while being dragged away by police.
Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MP Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu was among the protestors when police waded in to disperse the group. Gergerlioglu confirmed the police intervention on his twitter account, saying, “Police violently suppressed Çetinkaya’s march for justice.” He also noted that the police physically assaulted him along with other protestors.
Police held Çetinkaya in detention for hours before releasing her late in the evening. And she was detained each day when she attempted to attend the march. Police went even further by apprehending Çetinkaya right after she left her home on January 21.
Anti-Terror Police took the stage this time. Çetinkaya was taken to Ankara’s Counter-Terrorism department. She had to endure waiting for hours while facing the wall and with her hands cuffed.
Police mocked her height and questioned her about how she learned to use social media. They did not provide her with a bed or mattress, and she had to sleep on the concrete ground.
Some people recorded videos on metros and buses to raise awareness about Çetinkaya’s situation. Those who recorded videos became the target of Erdogan’s fanatics.
Erdogan publicly acknowledges giving instructions to judiciary
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the judges who acquitted a former Turkish general and, for the first time, publicly admitted that he had given instructions to the judiciary.
Turkey has seen the dismissal of more than 30,000 Turkish military personnel from the army and the detention of thousands of former soldiers since the still-controversial failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016. The imprisoned military officers have received jail times ranging between 6 years and a life sentence in prison.
While the discussions about whether Erdogan used the coup attempt to re-design the Turkish army is still going on, Erdogan admitted his instructions to the judiciary to punish Turkish soldiers.
Acquittal of Turkish general angered Erdogan
Lieutenant General Metin İyidil was detained pending trial for three years and sentenced to life in prison over his alleged involvement in the coup attempt. However, the appeal court quashed the lower court’s ruling upon İyidil’s appeal and ruled acquittal and release of İyidil.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s arguments concerning the coup attempt have grown more controversial following the acquittal of a military general.
Any attempt to question the failed coup attempt is viewed as a taboo in Turkey. Prosecutors launch investigations right away into any claim towards the questioning of the trueness of the 15 July coup. The acquittal of İyidil has rekindled discussions on the coup, and the Turkish judiciary whose impartiality is disputed has taken action soon and ordered the re-arrest of İyidil.
Erdogan made some remarks in a press conference about İyidil’s case before flying off to Berlin for a conference on Libya’s civil war.
“It is a very upsetting development for the (Turkish) judiciary, it is not (even) understandable. How could a court take such kind of action? We have given the necessary orders”, Erdogan said in the press conference.
He further noted in his statement, “How could a court acquit or release a man previously sentenced to life in prison? Thanks to efforts of the Ministry of Justice and our prosecutors, he was apprehended soon later in a joint operation with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He is now in prison and has started serving his sentence”.
Problem of judicial impartiality in Turkey
Erdogan’s regime purged about 5,000 judges and prosecutors over the past three years, and some 2,500 of them were put behind bars. The two members of the country’s top court (Constitutional Court) remain in prison. Erdogan has acquired the power with the new presidential system to appoint members of Turkey’s high courts, such as the Constitutional Court, the Court of Cassation, and Conseil d’Etat.
No access to basic rights for decree-law victims
A sizeable number of Turkish citizens do not have access to fundamental rights. Erdogan regime labels them in three letters: “KHK,” which is the Turkish abbreviation for decrees that have the force of law enacted by emergency powers, also known as decree-laws.
The social security numbers of these people are flagged with certain numbers for all employers and institutions to recognize that they are blacklisted by the government.
They are barred from civil service, they are not permitted to have a passport, banks do not give loans them, in some cases they don’t even open accounts, and it is near-impossible for these people to find a job in the private sector.
Thousands of these people, most of whom are college graduates, are in prison.
Many decree-laws were issued after the state of emergency that was declared after the controversial July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. KHK is the abbreviation for Decree-Laws.
With these so-called temporary measures, about 150 thousand public employees were dismissed. The majority of them are Gulen Movement affiliates. Some of them are pro-Kurdish and leftist activists.
The government defends the dismissal of thousands of people, pointing at the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin defends the actions of the Erdogan administration with the following words; “after the merger, 500 thousand public employees in East Germany were dismissed.” However, in Germany, these people were paid compensation and benefited from the welfare state rights.
In Turkey, on the other hand, health insurance and social assistance card that is called “green card” is not given to the people dismissed by decree-laws. One hundred fifty thousand people dismissed by decree-laws were not paid compensation too.
Even withdrawing money from banks is a problem
Teacher Suzan Uzpak’s brother sent money to her from abroad. The bank officer said that she couldn’t pay the amount that was sent by a Vakıfbank transaction. Uzpak was told that it was due to her dismissal by a decree-law. “The system gave a ‘banned’ warning, and similar occasions occurred previously too,” bank officials said.
Another victim of the decree-laws announced on Twitter that Garanti Bank resisted not to open a bank account on his name. Upon public pressure, Garanti Bank had to backtrack. However, the memo sent by the bank read, “We are just opening an account; you do not have the right to use loans, EFT, wire transfer, and internet banking.” The Spanish BBVA owns Garanti Bank. This practice became the subject of a heated debate in Turkey as many questioned the possibility of such demands being made by a bank operating in an EU member country elsewhere in Europe.
Insurance Company did not make the due payment
What H.B. experienced is more striking. His wife had a car accident. Doğa Insurance did not pay the 20,000 Liras damage citing the ownership of the vehicle, for it belonged to a person dismissed by a decree-law.
In Turkey, the banks and insurance companies are monitored by the Banking Regulation and Supervision Board (BDDK), which regulates the financial sector. Board sent an official letter and a blacklist to banks warning them not to make any transaction for the people dismissed by decree-laws.
Social services denied
Teachers make up the majority of people dismissed by decree-laws; almost all of them are university graduates and well-educated people. However, they cannot find jobs due to the decree-law codes that appear on their social security records. Teacher Cemil Özen is one of them. He says they were left to starvation for three years. His application for the Green Card that is obtainable for the poorest group of people in Turkey was rejected because he was one of the people dismissed by a decree-law.
Leaving the country is also forbidden
People dismissed by decree-laws are sentenced to civil death in Turkey, and they are likewise not allowed to go abroad. Seher Kılıç, one of the most qualified people who could find work abroad, tells her experiences as follows: “I haven’t been able to get a passport for three and a half years. I asked why I couldn’t obtain a passport with an application letter. They said there is annotation next to my identity number ‘Banned, Passport cannot be given.’ My credit cards were canceled, I can’t get new ones. I have problems withdrawing the money sent by my family who lives in abroad.”
Mehmet Alkan, who was expelled from the Turkish Armed Forces, is a graduate of the Faculty of Law. However, he cannot work because his lawyer’s certificate has been canceled: Being one of a decree-law dismissed people means you are socially banned. You have no rights at all.”
Ayşe Düzkan, the interim editor of the Özgür Gündem daily which was shut down through a decree-law, tells about the actions of the HSCB, an international bank: “After I got out of prison, HSCB didn’t want to provide service to me. No calls were made to notify me. One day I couldn’t withdraw money from the ATM. I called the bank and found out that they blocked my accounts. I got my money from the office, and my cards were canceled.”
Working for private companies is no option
The reason why thousands of people who were dismissed by decree-laws such as doctors, teachers, police, and engineers cannot find a career in the private sector is the “Banned” annotation that appears next to their social security numbers. Authorities issue separate codes for those who were dismissed from the civil service, those who graduated from schools that were shut down by decree-laws or who are subscribed to newspapers that were shut down similarly.
For instance, some people have the annotation “36” inscribed next to their social security number. When they apply for a job, employers who do not want to draw the ire of the government or tax officers see that annotation and do not employ them.
Thousands of well-educated citizens of Turkey, they can neither go abroad because of travel bans nor find a job in Turkey. Some of these people, who are exposed to civil death, lost their lives while attempting to flee Turkey illegally.
English teacher Uğur Abdurrezzak and his wife Ayşe Abdurezzak, a Turkish-language teacher, were among them. They were both dismissed by a decree-law over their affiliations with the Gulen Movement. The whole family perished along with their children, eleven, and three years old. Their boat capsized as they tried to cross the border with Greece through the Maritza river.
The people dismissed by decree-laws in Turkey established a Youtube channel called KHKTV, as they try to have their voice heard. The decree-law platforms, which they founded in various provinces, are constantly under pressure from the government, and the authorities frequently ban the meetings they want to hold.