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Human Rights

Plight of children with imprisoned parents

Hundreds of mothers and fathers, were arrested due to alleged relations with Hizmet Movement in Erdogan’s Turkey. The children with both parents imprisoned are part of a great tragedy that takes place in the country.

There are more than 500 thousand ongoing investigations against alleged Hizmet movement members. The movement comprises the largest organized opposition against Erdogan’s rule in Turkey. Children are the greatest victims of investigations targeting these well-educated citizens.

The Öner family is among those many victims. Meryem and Osman Öner were arrested on March 6, 2017. Their three children have to stay with different relatives. The mother and her 2 children have medical conditions.

Especially the eldest child of the family, İbrahim Said Öner, is trying to make his voice heard on Twitter for his mother’s immediate release.

Said Öner said that his mother had been receiving psychological treatment for 8 years and had been using strong pharmaceuticals. He also mentioned that “Her condition in the prison is deteriorating. When she got worse, the doctors wrote a report that she ‘cannot remain alone’. However, she is kept alone. Moreover, she is alone in the 28-person ward. In Kilis city prison, there is no one under arrest over Hizmet Movement related investigations, so she is kept alone.”

Said Öner said that not only his sister who is a student of 11th grade has to use strong medications due to her mental state, but also he is having fits. He mentioned that his mother should be immediately released pending a trial both for her well-being and for her children.

Said Öner tells the story of what his siblings undergo and what happened afterward:

“It became obvious that my parents were in prison due to probes into the Hizmet Movement. It’s a small town where my siblings live. They encountered too much neighborhood pressure. My brother was forced to drop out of school because of bullying. He was admitted to a correspondence school.”

Family scattered

Said Öner posted on Twitter about the turmoil in his family’s life revealing that his two siblings stay at his aunts in the southern Hatay city while he remained in Istanbul at another aunt of him. Hatay is 1.115 kilometers away from Istanbul.

“My mother desired to be transferred to the prison in the city where my siblings have been living for almost a year, so did my father. Each time, their petition was rejected,” Öner says and carries on with stating, “My father was sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment on the same charges over which Hizmet Movement members are incriminated, such as sending your child to a Hizmet affiliated school. They’re completely innocent. These incidents affected me and I studied harder and successfully enrolled in law school.”

“One of my siblings is in 11th grade, the other one is a 3rd-grade. We have no income. My aunts support us.”

“We want, at least, my mother to be released as soon as possible, both for her and my two siblings’ health conditions.”

Resorting to higher courts

Not getting any results from the local court, Said Oner said “My dad’s always worried about my mom being alone. He is afraid as my mother is not psychologically well. My parents are ruined mentally speaking. We consider applying to the Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights.”

The Purge

The Hizmet Movement, which currently has 17,000 members in detention, describes this course of time as “Tenkil” – “Purge.” “Tenkil” is an Arabic-rooted Turkish word, a noun that signifies eradicating or total cleansing. In the last three years, 117,000 people have been arrested for various periods over their alleged membership in the Hizmet Movement. Almost all of these people are university graduates and the majority are teachers.

Human Rights

Turkish court sentences torturers in landmark ruling

Turkish court sentences torturers in landmark ruling

Ercivan Özcan, who was tortured in Manisa Prison until his arm was broken, managed to convict two guards (prison officers) despite the laws protecting the torturers.


BOLD EXCLUSIVE – In Manisa T Type Prison, Ercivan Özcan was beaten by the guards and his left arm was broken in several spots from shoulder to elbow. Moreover, he had pneumonia in those days. After Özcan was discharged from the hospital and returned to prison, he continued his legal struggle despite the pressure by the prison administration and had two guards who tortured him expelled from their positions as the court sentenced them to 5 years imprisonment.

Ercivan Özcan, who lives in the Turgutlu district of Manisa, was detained as part of Gülen movement-related probes on September 1, 2016, over the notices made during the period of the state of emergency. He was detained in Manisa T Type Prison for 18 months and was released pending trial during the first hearing on January 29, 2018. However, he experienced severe rights violations while he was in prison.

He was tortured when he had pneumonia

Ercivan Özcan, who was 57 years old when he was arrested, stayed with 30 people in a 10-person ward and contracted pneumonia due to bad prison conditions.

Özcan was diagnosed with pneumonia on January 18, 2017, but it was decided to continue his treatment in his ward, not in the hospital. The next day, during the morning headcount, Ozcan’s ward was raided by the guards because 3 detainees were late for the counting.

Ozcan who was standing in the cold in the courtyard for 20 minutes, exposed torture because of the expression he said with the pain of his illness; “If I have the right, I will take my rightful due it in the Hereafter”. According to the information given in the indictment, Özcan was laid down by the guards by twisting his two arms upside down despite him shouting that his “arm was defective”, he was repeatedly beaten with blows particularly on his left arm.

According to the forensic report of the Manisa State Hospital, Özcan’s arm was severely fractured between the shoulder and elbow, adding that there was severe and lifelong damage to his vital functions.


Eight days without surgery
Özcan was not sent to the hospital as a separate punishment after his arm was broken. Consequently, he lost his conscious in the ward. After 2.5 hours, his arm was completely black and swollen. Özcan was transferred to Manisa State Hospital upon the insistent demand of two doctors and pharmacists in his ward.

Because of pneumonia, Ozcan lungs were in poor condition that is why he could not be operated due to life-threatening risks. Blood was taken from his arm continuously every day until he was operated finally at the end of the eighth day.

He commenced a legal struggle
Özcan was sent back to prison after the surgery and when he saw that the guards Volkan Akkuş and Özgür Kutlu who had tortured him were still on duty, he started an intense legal struggle.

Özcan brought the matter to the judiciary after the prison management continued to send these two guards for the headcount in his ward.

Ercivan Özcan, who carried out the legal struggle with great care, submitted many the reports that ‘he was vitally injured’ attaching testimony of many eye-witnesses. In the light of clear evidence and reports, the court convicted two guards on May 13, 2019.

After a long legal struggle, the guards Volkan Akkuş and Özgür Kutlu were found guilty by the Manisa 2nd High Criminal Court. While Akkuş and Kutlu were removed from the civil service, they were also sentenced to 6 years imprisonment separately. Due to their good conduct at the hearing, this penalty was reduced to 5 years.

Ercivan Özcan’s arm was operated thoroughly and multiple fractures were treated.

Ercivan Özcan also filed a lawsuit against the two guards for damages due to the permanent loss of strength and weakness in his arm that gets worse day by day.

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Human Rights

“I will be arrested if they send me back,” Turkish asylum seeker calls out to German authorities 

Rahman Gün Abschiebung

German Police raided the house of a Turkish national who sought asylum in Germany fleeing Erdogan regime’s crackdown on Hizmet movement, following a court ruling for his deportation back to Turkey, a country where he can face arrest or worse.

Rahman Gün, the Turkish asylum seeker who face deportation, worked in Turkey’s largest petrochemical company PETKIM. He and his family came to Germany in March 2018 and demanded asylum. However, German authorities decided to deport them back to Turkey.

Gün, who started work from the moment he came to Germany not receiving any benefit from public offices, found a job in Africa not to be deported back to Turkey.

However, Gün’s papers are not given back to him.


“I am definitely going be arrested if I am deported,” said Gün.


Merseburg Police in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany raided the residence of Rahman Gün and his family in the morning of November 15 with 8 police officers. The police came to deport Rahman Gün, his wife Ayşe Hilal Gün and his two children back to Turkey.

Rahman Gün, an electrician, had to seek asylum in Germany due to his predicament in Turkey over his ties to the Hizmet Movement. His spouse Ayşe Hilal Gün was a kindergarten teacher and she worked in the schools affiliated with the Hizmet Movement.

Ayşe Hilal Gün, who was already being treated for panic attacks, had an attack during the police raid. Her family members allege that she was beaten by the police.

Gün was taken to a hospital by an ambulance. Doctors decided to keep her in hospital for a while. She is still being treated in the hospital.

Gün is baffled by the police raiding his house to deport him back to Turkey despite the fact that he had permission to stay in Germany until the 10th of December. Gün also has stated that he would go to Africa voluntarily because he found a job there, which makes sending him back to Turkey all the more pointless.

Gün describes what happened as follows:

“I was working for PETKIM in Turkey. Nearly 15 colleagues of mine associated with the Hizmet Movement were arrested. At work, my relationship with the Hizmet Movement was well-known so I was under intense pressure. I was having temper tantrums because I couldn’t talk to anyone.”

“My wife was staying at home alone because I worked on the night shift. My wife started to have panic attacks due to waiting in constant stress because the cops always came at night. She began to receive treatment and take medication on a regular basis.”

“The first hearing of my friends who were arrested was in January 2018. I realized that I would be next when I found out that some questions were asked about me at the hearing. I took my wife and children and hastily fled Turkey and came to Germany. I would have gone to Canada because I could easily find a job suitable for my professional skills there, however, I did not have the time to wait for a visa because I could be detained any time by then. After coming to Germany in March 2018, I found a job to make a living.”

In August, BAMF (Federal Office for Migration and Refugees) refused our asylum request. I objected to the ruling and the court overruled the objection a week later. Then we appealed to a higher court. On October 17, the appeal was rejected as well. That was the final decision which meant that I would be deported back to Turkey.

I was told that I had to find Ausbildung (a vocational training course) to solve my problem but I could not manage to enroll in any training program because I lacked sufficient language skills for the programs. They finally gave us a deadline to leave Germany until December the 10th.

However, they suddenly came with 8 policemen and said: ‘We will send you back to Turkey,’ even though I still had time.

“They hit my wife’s head against the ground” 

“When the cops came, my wife got sick as she has been having panic attacks.”

“The cops tore us apart. My wife fell. She was trying to get to the kids, but the cops wouldn’t let her. Meanwhile, when she suddenly screamed, I went there next to them. The cops assaulted her on the ground. Her head hit the ground.”

“Then I called an ambulance. She was taken to a rehabilitation facility. There, the doctors decided to hospitalize her. She is still in the hospital.”


“I will be arrested if I go to Turkey”


“If they send me back to Turkey, I will be arrested. My file shows that my phone call records have just been issued. I found a job in Africa to avoid going to Turkey and getting arrested. But my passport and all my documents are in the hands of German authorities. So I cannot go there[to Africa] either. ”

“I have submitted all the documents showing that I found a job in Africa, including my work agreement. I have permission to stay in Germany until December 10. They could at least give me the right to go to the country where I found a job. I don’t understand how they deport me even though it is certain that I am going to be arrested there.”

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Report on torture in Turkey

Advocates of Silenced Turkey (AST), a US-based human rights organization, prepared a report on the torture incidents and deaths, which occurred after the coup bid that took place on July 15, 2016. In the report, two victims alleged that they were abducted by the Turkish National Intelligence Service (MIT) and subjected to torture.

Titled as “Systematic Torture and Ill-Treatment in Turkey,” the report covers the cases of Gökhan Açıkkollu, Ayten Öztürk, Zabit Kişi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs employees, the tortured children in Van city, as well as the very first interviews conducted with two people abducted by MIT. The 128-page report examines 104 cases.

Torture and ill-treatment took the lives of 93 people

According to AST, 93 people died in prisons due to torture, ill-treatment, and neglect. As a result of interrogations under torture during detention, 11 people were killed. In addition to registering these individuals’ names, AST highlighted 10 torture cases.

A former official from the Presidency

Mr. A.G. (The name is not provided by the rapporteur due to security grounds), a former official from the Presidency

was brought to the MIT’s Yenimahalle Campus with a sack over his head and while constantly being beaten. He stated that he was electrified on a device called “the Palestinian hanger,” beaten up with whips, sticks, and batons and that he was also subjected to rape attempts.

Staying in the 4.5-square-meter dark cell for weeks, A.G. disclosed that he was actively subjected to similar physical tortures especially during the first 20 days. Accused of being a member of the Gulen Movement, A.G. was left hungry and thirsty and faced curses, insults, and threats on his family.

Torture with baton

A.G. said some captives had ruptured bowels because of despicable actions like making them sit on a dildo or inserting a baton into the anal passage. He also reported that there were attempts to rape him. Listening to the screams of the tortured people in their cells and the laughter of the torturers who mocked them, A.G. described a torture session as 4-5 hours. He said that there were cameras in his cells and they have prevented him from sleeping by giving the torturers constant instructions.

He alleged that an officer from the presidential office came to this interrogation center and received reports from the tormentor. He was asked to become a confessor, to sign pre-prepared statements and to work as an informant in the Gülen Movement by working for the MIT.

It was discussed by İ.S. in the report that he was tortured in the same premises for 7.5 months. When he was released after losing 30 kilos, he predicated that even his wife could not recognize him as similar torture methods were applied to İ.S.

At the conclusion of the report, a list of 93 prisoners’ names, who died as a result of torture and neglect in the prisons after July 15, 2016, and how they died were provided. Besides, those who died as a result of neglect and torture in custody are described in detail.

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