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Gaziantep Bar Association confirms torture claims in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa

Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Center confirmed torture in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa province, Turkey.

In a press statement released by the Gaziantep Bar Association said, “The allegations of torture and ill-treatment were true.”

BOLD – 

Clashes occurred in Dergili (Derto), Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa when Şanlıurfa anti-terror police teams, police special operations teams and gendarmerie special operations units conducted operation on members of an illegal organization on May 18.

During the clashes between security forces and members of PKK terrorist organization in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa, one officer lost his life and two members of illegal organization were killed.

After the conflict, a large number of citizens were detained collectively and the allegations of torture and ill-treatment were reflected in the press.

The Board of Directors of Gaziantep Bar Association has assigned Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Commission to investigate the allegations of torture and ill-treatment in the province of Şanlıurfa.

In a report prepared by the members of the Bar Association, it was determined that the allegations of “torture and ill-treatment” were true.

TORTURE CLAIMS IN MEDIA

A large number of applications detailing torture claims were made to the Human Rights Center of the Şanlıurfa Bar Association.

In various social media accounts, people defining themselves as special operations police have shared photos of dozens of people with hands cuffed face down on the ground in place which was thought to be the garden of Halfeti Gendarmerie Station.

According to lawyer members of Şanlıurfa Bar Association Human Rights Center, it was confirmed that these allegations and suspicions have been proven true by the lawyers’ investigations into prosecution meetings and interviews with detainees. Gaziantep Bar Association has not shared names of the victims and their lawyers due to security concerns.

ELECTROSHOCK, SQUEEZING BALLS, VIOLATION OF LAWYER-CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY  

Gaziantep Bar Association report said, “The detainees were subjected to torture for a long time after being placed face down on the ground during the detention and handcuffed behind their back. This situation is clearly understood from the captured photos and the scar marks and stitches in the persons. Also they are in accordance with the statements of the persons.”

The Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Center report detailed human rights violations, the torture and ill treatment cases. The findings of the report is listed as follows:

  • Suspects under detention were prohibited to communicate with their lawyers for a long time.
  • Prohibition of lawyer-client meetings and/or violation of their confidentiality,
  • Presence of appointed lawyers from “central appointing system (OCAS)” instead of suspects’ personal lawyers during custodial interrogation,
  • Electric shocks, squeezing balls of male detainees,
  • A 50 year old female detainee’s genital areas electrified, severely beaten and subjected to severe insults,
  • Bruises in various parts of a 60-year-old male detainees’s body,
  • A male detainee was beaten for 4 hours in detention center, and he was also beaten in the hospital and ambulance.
TORTURE CLAIMS COVERED UP 
  • Detainees were threatened not to bring their torture claims in court hearings,
  • Judges and prosecutors were reluctant to record torture and ill-treatment claims in court documents,
  • Prosecutors have not investigated torture claims,
  • Torture claims were covered up,

The report concluded that “there were intense cases of torture in judicial units in Şanlıurfa.”

Gaziantep Bar Association demanded all male and female detainees who are being detained and tortured in Şanlıurfa Police Department Anti-Terror Branch should be immediately dispatched to medical jurisprudence.

Bar Association also asked the detainees should be transferred to other units immediately and the necessary inspections should be carried out regarding their situation.

For the English translation of Gaziantep Bar Association Human Rights Center full report

Gaziantep Bar Association’s Report on Torture Claims in Halfeti district of Şanlıurfa

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Turkish military officer killed in Northern Syria faced terror charges during post-coup crackdown

BOLD – An officer serving in the Turkish Armed Forces who was killed during Turkey’s offensive into Northern Syria had reportedly been detained on terror charges previously, as part of a crackdown targeting the military personnel after the failed 2016 coup.

Çelebi Bozbıyık, a first-lieutenant of the Turkish army had been killed in Manbij province in Northern Syria on the 7th day of the incursion dubbed “Operation Peace Spring.” It had been revealed that he was detained on July 16, 2016, one day after the coup bid, in his unit in the southeastern city of Urfa.

Having remained in custody for 15 days with his hands cuffed behind his back, Bozbıyık was accused of being a member of the Gülen Movement which has been designated “terrorist group” by the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The investigation on terror charges was reportedly still ongoing while he was killed.

Selcuk Ata an academic with a Ph.D. in criminal justice, shared Bozbıyık’s experiences from his social media account and said, “The case was like the sword of Damocles hanging over. There is no evidence about his case. If he had returned from this operation alive, he would most likely have been detained, then expelled and named as a traitor. Yet today we received news that he was killed. May his soul rest in peace…”

According to a personal acquaintance who spoke to BOLD, Bozbıyık graduated from the Military Staff Academy in 2014 and appointed to Urfa (Southeastern Turkey) as his first place of duty. After July 15th, 2016., he was taken into custody after he was labeled as a terrorist.

Bozbıyık was scheduled for promotion to the first lieutenant rank in 2017. This right was denied and not granted to him because of the case against him. He had received his rank after waiting for a year. He was allegedly subjected to mobbing resulting in his dispatching to dangerous zones more frequently than others.

Bozbıyık was accused of “terrorism” three years ago. Despite being labeled as a terrorist, he returned to active duty. He was killed on October 15 during the military action in Syria launched on the pretext of eliminating “terrorist threats.” Bozbıyık was buried in his hometown.

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Victims of failed 2016 coup – Turkish conscripts who were sentenced to life imprisonment

Some of them had been conscripted for five days while others were conscripts for five months. Now they are the victims of the crackdown following the coup bid that shook Turkey on July 15, 2016. The number of conscripts sentenced to life imprisonment on coup charges is much higher than generally assumed, but most of their families are afraid to speak up.

BOLD – When the putsch ensued on July 15, 2016, Ahmet Ozdemir and Mustafa Polat had been conscripted for five days. Emirhan Dogancılı had been a conscript for twenty days. Yasin Akgül and Recep Delice were conscripts for two and a half months and five months respectively. Tunahan Kurt had three months left to be discharged. They were held responsible for the deaths of 249 people (the death toll of the coup attempt) and sentenced to life imprisonment.

They have been waiting for justice in prison for three years, and their parents protest in public places for their rights. Families who trusted the Turkish judiciary for the first two years, keeping quiet about their imprisoned children hoping that the wrongful rulings would be fixed, resorted to protesting in the streets lately. However, families who stay silent and prefer to remain that way still make up the majority.

Ahmet Özdemir: He was taken from Metris Barracks and dropped in front of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on the night of the coup bid. On that night it had been five days since he had come to Istanbul from Isparta, where he was enlisted in the boot camp. It was his first time in Istanbul. He was held responsible for the deaths of 14 people who were killed that night in front of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. He got a life sentence. He is currently incarcerated in Silivri Prison in Istanbul.

Mustafa Polat: Mustafa was also taken from Metris Barracks and brought to the main building of the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality on that night. He was ordered to guard a depot behind the town hall and heard about the coup from a guy shouting out of a window while waiting there, unaware of what was underway. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, despite the fact that he sought refuge in a ventilation pipe out of fear. He is also incarcerated in Silivri Prison.

Emirhan Dogancili: Dogancili, who had lung surgery twice, was a young man who decided to serve in the military despite his condition. He had himself enlisted saying to his mother, “I do not want to hear people claiming that I did not go to the military because I am unfit for service.” That night, he was among the 34 conscripts who were taken from Kartas Barracks to the Acıbadem Telekom area in Istanbul. Although the ballistic examinations did not find any evidence against him, he got seven life sentences. He is also incarcerated in Silivri Prison.

Yasin Akgül: Akgül was among the conscripts who were deployed at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. He had an interesting conversation with his commander that night. His commander ordered Yasin to fire at the people while holding a gun in his own hand. Yasin did not do that and the commander repeated the order and Yasin disobeyed again. The conscript was threatened at gunpoint being told that if he resisted, he would be shot. Yasin was shot in the leg in the end for disobeying the orders. However, despite his bravery, he was also sentenced to life imprisonment. He is incarcerated in Şakran Prison. Her mother, Fadime Akgül, makes the trip from Izmir to Ankara every week on Wednesday and shouts out chants over her son’s innocence in the protests demanding justice.

Tunahan Kurt: Tunahan, who was among the conscripts deployed on the Bosphorus Bridge, is one of the lucky according to his father. 17.5 years imprisonment he got is a short sentence compared to others. Tunahan was taken from the Kartal Maltepe Nurettin Marshal Barracks and deployed on the bridge that night. It was 02.19 AM local time when they arrived at the bridge. After he disembarked from an armored vehicle he got shot, a bullet hit his helmet, and he got on the vehicle again never to leave again until the morning.

Recep Delice: Recep was a shepherd in a village in the central Anatolian city of Sivas. He was drafted on the 4th of February in 2016. He had been a conscript for five months when the coup attempt took place. On that night, he was taken from the Kuleli Military High School to the Bosphorus Bridge. Recep, speaking with a stammer, could not even defend himself properly on the trials and was sentenced to 17.5 years in prison. He also is incarcerated in the Silivri Prison.

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ISIS Telafer Commender abducted a 14 years old Yazidi girl and brought to Ankara, Turkey

Yazidi young girl, who was abducted from Iraq at the age of 14, was rescued from ISIS’s Talefer Emir’s house with the effort of her brother.

BOLD – An 18-year-old Yazidi young woman was rescued during a raid on the home of one of the ISID Talafar commander in Keçiören district of Ankara. She was taken out of the Turkey by her family. There is no information about the arrest of the ISIS commander.

According to the Gazete Duvar news that Hale Gönültaş coded Yazidi girl’s name as “Ayşe” and her brother’s name as “Hasan because of the security concerns. The incident began in 2014 with the attack by ISIS on Shengal.

Hundreds of Yazidis were killed in the village near Şengal, where Ayşe and her family lived. More than 30 Yazidis from Ayse’s family were killed too. Ayşe was 14 years old at the time of the attack. Ayşe was abducted by ISIS along with the other women and children of the village. That night, Hasan, one of Ayşe’s older brothers, was out of the village for work. Hasan, who accidentally survived the ISID massacre, began to trace down the abducted members of his family since 2014.

Hasan first reached Ayşe’s traces in Talafar. However, Ayşe was taken from Talafar to Mosul. After a while, Hasan went to Mosul after his sister. Ayse was with one of ISID’s Talafar commanders.

At the end of 2017, Hasan received information that the commander of the Telafer went to Turkey. The ISID commander had an Iraqi Turkmen wife and four children. Hasan came to Ankara with the support of the leading names of the Yazidi tribes.

Yazidi Ayse had a baby from ISID commander

In 2018, the Iraqi Turkmen ISIS member rented a house in an apartment in Keçiören, Ankara; He lived with his wife, 4 children, and Ayşe who he held forcibly. For months, Hasan took a picture of his sister while leaving the house and tried as evidence that could go to the security forces. In December 2018, Ayse get out from the home with her baby. Hasan took pictures of ISIS with his sister. Ayşe, who was 14 years old when she was kidnapped, was now 18 years old and had a baby in her arms.

The lawyer who was recommended by Yazidi leaders applied to Keçiören Erkan Ataman Police Station just two blocks away from the house. Hasan filed a complaint at the police station saying that ISIS’s Talafar commander who was living two streets away in Keçiören, kidnapping his sister and keeping her at home.

The next day, the police went to the house and rescued Yazidi Ayşe. Ayse said that her eight-month-old baby was from ISIS commander. Ayse was removed from Turkey by the Iraqi Embassy. The baby was given to the Child Protection Institution.

The family did not make a complaint about ISIS commander due to the fear. It is also reported that no lawsuit case has been filed against ISID Commander.

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