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Human Rights

Can Dündar: Syria turns into Turkey’s Guantanamo

MIT former employee Mesut Geçer said that he was abducted by his former colleagues and taken to Syria and tortured for 16 months. Can Dündar remarked on this incident saying, “Syria turned into Turkey’s Guantanamo.”

In the last four years in Turkey, people have been abducted by state officials and tortured in secret detention centers for months.

Some of the so-called “Black Transporter” victims described their experiences after their releases. However, the judicial system, which lost its independence, remains silent.

The abductees alleged that they were kept in a extra-judicial detention center called “Ranch” in Ankara for 6 to 9 months.

The last event is striking than any other. This time, the former MIT member Mesut Geçer told about his experiences after his abduction. He said that he knew the people who abducted him and the people who tortured him.

“I was detained for 16 months”

Mesut Geçer is accused of being affiliated with the Gülen Movement, just like any other abducted and tortured people. Erdogan’s regime starts blaming the Gülen Movement after the chief corruption operation in December 2013 that was targeting the government, and then Erdogan has declared the Movement as a terrorist organization.

Geçer was able to appear before the judge for the first time after his abduction. Speaking at the Ankara 34th High Criminal Court on December 3, 2019, the defendant Geçer summarized the “abduction case” in his statement as follows:

“On March 18, 2017, I felt like I was being followed when I was driving in the direction of Sincan Lale square (a district of Turkey’s capital Ankara). I knew the following vehicles and their drivers. They stopped the car like it was a routine police control. A gray Doblo (transporter style vehicle) with a plate number 58, came near to my vehicle. After getting into the Doblo, they put a sack on my head and we started the journey. I was put in a cell. The first interrogation started on Monday, March 20, 2017. They started by handcuffing me from behind and banging my head against the wall with the sack on my head. It then continued with beatings and other ill-treatment that I cannot describe. In the meantime, I knew the voices of most people speaking around me. I still have a chance to diagnose their voices. Then my health deteriorated. I started bleeding that Wednesday. When my health deteriorated, they transferred me to another place I knew at night time. On the night of June 20, 2018, to June 21, I was transported again with a vehicle. I didn’t know where I was going. Later I realized that this was Syria. I traveled with a sack on my head with my hands in plastic handcuffs. I had earbuds in my ears and eye patches in my eyes. People with guns came around me. Arabic speaking people with the Kalashnikov rifles in their hands. They held me until July 14, 2018.”

Months later he was brought back to Turkey

Mesut Geçer told about how he was brought back to Turkey with the sack on his head after being tortured in Syria:

“I was brought back to Turkey while I had a sack on my head, and I was taken to the Kumlu District Gendarme Headquarters. Later, I was handed over to the TEM (Anti-terror Police) Branch of Ankara Security Directorate. When you add this period (detention) for 17 months after being lost for 16 months, I have been away from my wife, children, and my social life for 33 months. Due to the conditions of ill-treatment and detention at that time, my left foot and knee were damaged and I still have difficulty using them. There is a problem with my intestinal system.”

Can Dündar: Syria turns into Turkey’s Guantanamo

Can Dündar shared the details of the news from his Twitter account and commented on the subject as: “Syria turned into Turkey’s Guantanamo.”

In Turkey, it has been proven that more than 30 people have been abducted with “Black Transporters” and tortured in the last three years. However, under the new regulations, MIT head and President Erdoğan must give permission to prosecute members of MIT. The courts even refrain from demanding this permission.

Human Rights

Understanding shifts in Turkey through Yamanlar College

Erdoğan Regime shut down nearly 1400 foundations, associations, and schools belonging to the Gülen Movement. Yamanlar College was one of the most emblematic ones. The college was the first college founded in the years when the movement was founded.

Starting to serve in the education field in 1982, the school preferred the modern education system. Cleric Mr. Gülen said to his followers that education is the fundamental problem of Turkey, and instead of building mosques or religious vocational high schools, they shall open modern schools.

Yamanlar College, the first school, established within this scope, became Turkey’s one of the most successful private schools. Afterward, the Gülen Movement founded 21 universities and nearly 1400 private schools in Turkey.

Erdogan accused the Gulen Movement in 2013 after the corruption operation targeted Erdogan’s four ministers and his son Bilal. These operations, known as the 17/25 December Corruption Operation, were closed with the dismissal of police and prosecutors.

Erdogan immediately sent the officers to the foundation schools belonged to the Gülen Movement to impose a fine, some of the schools were cut off the water, and some of the schools’ gardens were destroyed by constructing new roads.

The repression continued, and Erdogan started to confiscate the school administration. The complete confiscation of schools and the cessation of education took place after the controversial coup attempt on 15 July 2016.

Seizing all the power in his hands after the coup attempt in Turkey, Erdogan declared the State of Emergency and started the presidential system. Meantime, all the foundation schools owned by the Gülen Movement were closed down.

The Erdogan regime has transformed most of these schools into religious vocational high schools (Imam Hatip in Turkish), where teachers mostly teach Salafi beliefs. The Gülen Movement’s first school Yamanlar College was one of them.

An event held during the first days of 2020 has launched a new debate in Turkey over Yamanlar College’s transformation.

The Sıla Foundation organized a conference on Shariah in the premises of Yamanlar used in the past as a sports hall and theater. İhsan Şenocak, one of the speakers at the Sıla Foundation’s meeting, wanted a declaration war against Israel and called the government officials, “You walk towards Tel Aviv, we’ll come after you.” These words received great support from the hall.

One of the significant issues discussed in the meeting was covering the picture of the Republic of Turkey’s founder Kemal Ataturk in the hall.

People wearing turban and robes in the hall and the speeches made were on the axis of the change after the school, which had modern education in the past, was taken away from the Gülen Movement.

The education system in Turkey experienced significant changes in recent years. The Erdogan regime opened thousands of new religious vocational high schools, or the existing schools were turned into religious vocational high schools. Families complain about this, but the number of schools that provide modern education is decreasing day by day.

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Human Rights

Pregnant behind bars with a two-year-old kid

Elif Aydın, 31, is one of the educators arrested in Turkey over the past three years. She was two-months pregnant when she was sent to prison in the western province of Gebze on May 25, 2018. She also had two kids, 6 and 3 years old at that time.

She couldn’t leave behind her younger child, Musab; thus, she brought him along to prison. They did not provide a separate bed for her son in the eight-person ward. The pregnant woman stayed by sharing the same bed with his son in prison for months.

The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) ‘s deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a prominent human rights activist, has been fighting for her release from prison.

Turkish law forbids the arrest of pregnant women; however, this ban has not been applied for suspects from the Gulen movement and of Kurdish origin.

Gergerlioğlu filed a complaint on July 1, 2018, with the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) against the judge and prosecutor who gave the arrest decision for Elif Aydın. A response from HSYK to his complaint came 1.5 years later. They have not investigated it so far.

“By this decision, HSYK has become an accomplice to this crime,” Gergerlioğlu said.

Elif Aydın, on the other hand, is trying to be the voice of other arrested pregnant women by revealing what she had been through.

 

Aydın: “I fell downstairs twice”

“I was the director of a private student residence. That was the only accusation leveled against me. My husband had stayed in prison for a year over links to the Gulen movement. They arrested me nine months after he was released from jail. I left my older child behind and took Musab in prison with me. And I was pregnant with my third child. We all three were trying to sleep in the same bed.

“I fell downstairs twice and was taken to the hospital. My kid, Musab, also fell downstairs several times, and his face and eyes got hurt. The ward was an eight-person ward, but there were times also where nine people had been staying in our ward. The prison is tough for a woman with a child. It was summer, fortunately, when I was jailed, so we could spend most of our time in the yard. When it became colder, we had to stay inside.”

“There was no hygiene in prison. Musab’s eyes caught an infection. He hit his head on the bunk beds many times. He fell off the bunk bed, and he hurt his head and mouth. I was pregnant and was seeing all these (Musab had been through) so, I grew depressed.

“Many pregnant women were arrested like me. And, this is still going on. There are no special arrangements or facilities in place for pregnant women and children in prison. Life is quite hard in prison.”

 

Thousands of educators arrested

Erdogan’s regime mainly targeted well-educated people. About 1,400 Gulen-affiliated schools, kindergartens, student residences, and universities were shut down. Thirty thousand teachers were dismissed, and their licenses were revoked. Thousands of teachers were arrested.

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Human Rights

Slaying of cadets remains mystery years after coup bid

SEVİNÇ ÖZARSLAN

BOLD- Murat Tekin and Ragıp Enes Katran were Turkish cadets. On July 15, 2016, they were attacked and killed on the Bosphorus bridge.

Was it the angry mob who killed the two military students or the obscure organization called SADAT of Erdoğan?

On July 15, 2016, Turkey experienced a coup attempt. There are various allegations about that night, which are still unexplained. One of those events was the murder of two cadets at the Bosphorus Bridge.

One of those students was Ragıp Enes Katran, a 20-year-old student of the Air Force Academy. According to an autopsy report, he succumbed to stab wounds on his body. The footages made by cell phones on that night shows Katran covered in blood.

His elder brother, Fevzi Katran, who was a soldier like him, now lives in Germany as a refugee. He was expelled from the military shortly after his brother was killed. Subsequently, an arrest warrant was issued. He was forced to flee Turkey.

On that night, Turkey allegedly used militant groups in Istanbul and Ankara, who were also on the ground in Syria.

The group in question is a mercenary company called SADAT, led by a retired general of the Turkish Armed Forces, Adnan Tanrıverdi. He is known for his extreme Islamist ideas.

Tanriverdi, who did not hesitate to say that they used SADAT in Syria, stated that they were on the streets on the night of the coup bid. However, he denies the murder allegations.

Fevzi Katran does not believe that the people who stabbed his brother were the angry mob.

“There were bruises, holes, and cuts on his body. I mean, this is murder. They murdered my brother, Murat and the other soldiers. There was a group of people there. I can’t call them regular people. I think our people wouldn’t do that.”

NO BALLISTIC REPORTS

According to the Erdogan regime, more than 250 civilians were killed on the night of July 15. The soldiers on trial importunately demand the ballistic reports of the weapons used in the hearings. However, authorities reject these demands.

Trying to recover in Germany

TRYING RECOVER IN GERMANY

Fevzi Katran, who tries to recover in Germany, stated that very few soldiers participated in the putsch bid on July 15, and cadets were taken to the bridges to increase the number:

“They put the cadets into the cars and said they were going to the Air Force Academy because there had been a terrorist attack. The students did not know anything. No cell phones, no access to anything. They set off thinking they were going to the Air Force Academy. They had shut down all military schools by getting the students involved in the coup. This could be a reason. There were not enough people involved in the coup attempt that night. They increased the number of people with cadets. Those who planned this took out all the students from there to shut the schools down. And they took new ones instead.”

Ragıp Enes Katran with her brother in Istanbul.

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