The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) has updated its data for 2020 regarding the mass crackdown in Turkey targeting an opposition group, following a 2016 controversial coup attempt.
According to many critics, President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party has been using the abortive coup as a pretext to purge and detained tens of thousands of Turkish nationals.
Erdogan’s government blames the Gulen (Hizmet) Movement for orchestrating the coup, a claim the movement strongly denies.
IRB, Canada’s largest independent administrative tribunal, responsible for making decisions on immigration and refugees, has released information about the structure of the Hizmet movement and an ongoing crackdown targeting its followers.
As a “Response to Information Requests (RIR)” IRB quoted the Journalists and Writers Foundation (JWF), a New York-based international civil society organization, to explain the goal of the movement:
“The Hizmet movement has undergone several transformations from a small religious community to a larger conservative community to an inclusive society with the principles of service, altruism, and dedication to society.”
It also referred to Gulenmovement.com, a website “launched by a group of volunteers,” giving the objective of participants of the movement is “to attain God’s good pleasure based on the conviction that ‘service to humanity is service to God’.”
Foundation and Core
The tribunal stated that Fethullah Gulen, who has been living in “self-imposed exile” in the US since 1999, was accused by Erdogan’s government of masterminding a 2013 corruption probe against the AKP seniors, through his alleged followers within the police.
It states that the Turkish government designated the movement as a terrorist organization after the coup attempt, which resulted in over 1,500 people wounded and more than 200 people killed, referring to an Amnesty International report.
In the aftermath of the abortive coup, IRB says, the Turkish government declared a 90-day state of emergency across the country, which was extended seven times before it was lifted on 18 July 2018.
It noted that the government introduced a series of emergency decrees during that period that bypassed parliamentary scrutiny and judicial review procedures.
“A 2019 report by the Human Rights Foundation (HRF), a New York-based “nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally” (HRF n.d.), states that the measures enacted by the government since July 2016 have caused “a dramatic erosion of the rule of law and a significant deterioration of [Turkey’s] human rights record,” RIR wrote in the report.
Citing various new reports, IRB indicated that “a tough anti-terrorism bill” ratified by the Turkish government soon after the end of the state of emergency allowed the government to dismiss personnel of the Turkish Armed Forces, police, and gendarmerie departments, public servants and workers.
“Hizmet has no institutional presence in Turkey today.”
The Canadian immigration board mentioned the Turkish government closed 1064 private education institutions (kindergartens, elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools), 360 private training courses and study centres, 847 student dormitories, 47 private healthcare centres, 15 private foundation universities, 29 trade unions affiliated to two [c]onfederations, 1419 associations, 145 foundations and 174 media and broadcasting organizations as of 20 March 2018, during a post-coup purge.
Referring to a JWF statement, the report said the Turkish government confiscated the assets and personal property of business people who used to support people with financial assistance.
Family members and relatives of the detained and arrested members of the Hizmet [m]ovement are in a tough situation.
“Assisting victims in Turkey, financially or otherwise, however, is very dangerous, and many individuals have been arrested and face terrorism charges … for trying to assist the people in need. Many people are therefore looking [to leave] Turkey.”
The IRB indicated that the mass crackdown in Turkey has resulted in the dismissal, detainment, and arrest of thousands of individuals, “overwhelmingly academics, teachers, journalists, housewives, trade unionists, judges, prosecutors, police officers, military personnel and other professionals.
Based on various sources, the Canadian tribunal said there is no official membership in the movement. At the same time, the Turkish government uses “a list of criteria” to identify alleged members or supporters of Hizmet.
The “criteria” is being listed as follows in the report:
The report underlined that the “Turkish Authorities persecute whoever has even minim[al] contact with the Hizmet movement and its institutions. Therefore, the risk of being persecuted continues if the person was affiliated with the movement without being an actual member of the movement itself, per se.”
IRB also referred to the 2019 annual report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and noted:
“Followers of U.S.-based cleric Gülen have faced increased persecution by the government since the failed coup in 2016.”
The President of JWF said to the tribunal that “Since the attempted coup, Turkish government officials have declared that Hizmet [m]ovement participants do not have a right to life and will beg for death in prisons.”
Extraditions, torture, ill-treatment, kidnapping, enforced disappearances
The Canadian immigration body also noted the cancellation of passports of tens of thousands of purged people to prevent them from leaving the country. Regarding the alleged members of the movement living abroad, the group mentioned a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW):
“HRW also reports that the Turkish government seeks the extradition of alleged Gulen supporters abroad. Sources indicate that some countries have complied with the Turkish government’s call for extraditions.”
The IRB also said Turkey has returned or made local authorities arrest several alleged members of the movement from abroad. Ankara has managed it through operations by the Turkish intelligence officers and collaboration with local security officers in countries such as Montenegro, Kosovo, Moldova, Morocco, Pakistan, Malaysia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Georgia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Turkmenistan.
The findings of IRB also indicated that detainees in Turkey have faced different forms of torture and ill-treatment. They include severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks, waterboarding, punches/kicking, blows with objects, falaqa [foot beating], threats and verbal abuse, being forced to strip naked, rape with objects and other sexual violence or threats thereof, sleep deprivation, stress positions, and extended blindfolding and/or handcuffing for several days.
IRB mentioned 28 alleged followers of the movement had been a target of forced disappearances, abductions or kidnappings.
Albania to deport Turkish dissident despite court ruling
Albanian Police attempted to deport a 41-year old Turkish teacher wanted by the Turkish government contrary to a local court decision on Wednesday evening, according to local sources.
Harun Celik, who fled persecution back in Turkey, spent 5,5 months in a Tiran prison following Ankara’s extradition request over charges of being a member of the Gulen Movement.
A week after a local court ruled over his release, Celik was discharged from the prison on Wednesday to apply for asylum in the immigration office.
According to his friends in the country who spoke to Bold, however, the Albanian Police captured the Turkish dissident soon after he was released and forced him to get on a car to take him to the Rinas airport.
His friends intervened at the airport and shared some footage allegedly showing the deportation attempt and the brawl with the Police.
Albanian officials did not put Celik’s asylum application in the process according to local sources, and he is being kept by the Police at the airport.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party has been targeting the Gulen Movement as part of a mass crackdown since a controversial coup attempt in 2016. The government has imprisoned tens of thousands of people and sought extradition for some hundred people abroad.
In March 2018, Turkish intelligence service (MIT) detained six Turkish nationals with the cooperation of Kosovar authorities, and they were taken to Turkey where they were arrested.
As of March 2019, a total of 107 people with alleged links to the movement have been brought to Turkey since the failed 2016 coup, following extradition requests for 504 people sent to 91 countries, the state-run Anadolu Agency (AA) reported citing Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul.
Bar Association Report: Former diplomats sexually abused with batons and tortured
Former Turkish diplomats arrested over terrorism charges claim they have been tortured as well as sexually abused with police batons, Ankara Bar Association reported.
According to the report, the ex-diplomats were endured torture such as sexual harassment with batons, threats of rape, reverse handcuffing, harsh beatings, being knocked unconscious, and being forced to completely undress.
Arrest warrants were issued last week for 249 former employees for Foreign Ministry. It has been claimed that some of the detainees were exposed to systematic torture in Ankara Police Headquarters so that “they would sign the petition for making use of effective remorse law and become informants.” Ankara Police, on the other hand, denied the allegations in a press statement and stated that 130 attorneys saw the suspects 545 times.
The exact number of detainees is not known under the file with a confidentiality order on it. It is believed that the number exceeds 100 including those who have been arrested or surrendered since May 20.
According to the information the BBC Turkish has garnered, the detention order of detainees, who have been detained for a week, has been extended until Friday through a court order. Statements started to be taken from the detainees today.
All of the female detainees except one have been released. The claims about torture in detention surfaced on Saturday when the women were released.
HDP lawmaker Gergerlioğlu submitted a written question
HDP Kocaeli lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu announced the claims of torture in Ankara Police Headquarters the other day from his Twitter account. Then Mr. Gergerlioğlu submitted a written question regarding the issue to be answered by Vice President Fuat Oktay.
Speaking to the BBC Turkish, Gergerlioğlu said most of the detainees had been dismissed through emergency decrees and there were claims that 20 suspects were exposed to brutal torture.
In his press statement, he urged the Interior Ministry and Ministry of Justice to take action about the claims.
“I’m told that they said they’d rape him with a truncheon unless he talked”
Moreover, the attorneys contacted by the BBC Turkish requested that “the names of their clients, who will be detained until Friday,” should not be mentioned in the news story “for their safety.”
An attorney told about the torture inflicted on his client as follows:
“They bring him in for questioning on Saturday night, take him downstairs, and then blindfold him. They strip him naked and handcuff him in the back. They keep him on his knees with his head on the ground. They oil his anus, brush a truncheon around it, and tell him they’ll insert it unless he talks. “
“They tell him that the procedure will continue unless he talks until Friday when detention will be over and they demand they want a statement for effective remorse. When my client gets worse there, they stop torturing. When he gets up at night to go to the toilet, he collapses. He passes out once again in the morning during breakfast. Whereupon they take him to the hospital.”
The attorney says that his client was examined at the hospital but was too afraid to tell the doctor about the torture because he was accompanied by officers.
“When my client said he’d been tortured, I didn’t think about anything like it and asked “Roll up your t-shirt so I’ll see it.” I thought it was beating and I could take a photograph. But when he told these, I got speechless. There isn’t any physical sign or mark because the torture had been performed by a professional team.”
According to the statements from 3 different attorneys who spoke to the BBC Turkish, at least 6 persons were exposed to “the activity or threat of rape with truncheon” and at least 20 persons to torture in a room other than the prison cell.
“They are demanded to be informants through torture.”
Another attorney says that the torture started with the release of female detainees and some of the suspects who were taken to court for an extension of detention “limped” because of the torture inflicted on them.
“I’m told that some were raped with a truncheon, and others were threatened again as the top of a truncheon was oiled and moved around the anal area. After these instances of torture, one said he’d take advantage of effective remorse and sign whatever they wanted. To those he did not take advantage of effective remorse, they said, ‘You have time until Friday. If you don’t talk, we’ll do all kinds of torture on you.’”
ANKARA BAR ASSOCIATION
CENTER FOR ATTORNEY RIGHTS, PENAL INSTITUTION BOARD AND CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
REPORT REGARDING CLAIMS OF TORTURE IN ANKARA PROVINCIAL POLICE HEADQUARTERS INVESTIGATION DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL CRIMES
Subject: The report regarding the meetings and inspections performed by Ankara Bar Association Center for Attorney Rights, Penal Institutions Board and Center for Human Rights into claims about torture in the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes which appeared on the press and exposed to public on 26 May 2019.
Initially, a message was shared on Kocaeli Lawmaker Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu’s account on Twitter, the micro-blogging site, on 26 May 2019 that “there are claims of torture in Ankara Police Headquarters.” In later hours and days, claims of “beating to unconsciousness, harassment and forcing to watch those who were being tortured, the fact that acts of torture that were incompatible with human dignity were inflicted in at least four cases, the acts were performed by persons coming to Ankara Police Headquarters from outside who identified themselves as MIT; a diplomat who was beaten to unconscious was hospitalized; doctors did not write any report regarding the incident; the torture continued and it was openly stated that it would get worse; attempts were made to get statements through torture ” appeared on the media, thus revealed to the public about some 100 people identified to be Foreign Ministry Staff dismissed through emergency decrees who were kept in custody in Investigation Department of Financial Crimes.”
The attorneys who provided legal assistance for the persons in custody submitted complaints to the center and boards of our bar association regarding the claims of ill-treatment and torture.
Besides complaints about torture, complaints have been submitted regarding the fact that the colleagues who went to see their clients under their duty of defense were forced to sign an affidavit in accordance with orders from the prosecutor’s office, but in violation of the provisions of the CMK, that said, “I declare and undertake that I will take the power of attorney regarding my representing the person I will see for the investigation file … and present it to Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office so that it is included in the investigation file (Attachment-1 Order letter from the prosecutor’s office and the record demanded to be signed).
Our Bar Association’s Center for Attorney Rights, Penal Institutions Board and Center for Human Rights made appointments for the on-site inspection of the claims of ill-treatment and torture and well as the claims that the attorneys were demanded to hand in an affidavit for presenting the power of attorney, which is a violation of CMK provisions, and the appointed colleagues went over to the Ankara Provincial Police Headquarters Investigation Department of Financial Crimes on 27 May 2019 to hold interviews and carry out inspections.
The Trip to Investigation Department of Financial Crimes and the Happenings
- Coercion into taking an affidavit for presenting the power of attorney
The officials from Center for Attorney Rights of our bar association went over to the department first. As a result of the meetings regarding the order from the prosecutor’s office about taking an affidavit from attorneys for presenting the power of attorney, which violates the provisions of the CMK, the practice of taking an affidavit was discontinued by the chiefs in the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes.
- Interviews with the persons whose names were reported for suffering ill-treatment and torture
After the discontinuation of the practice of taking an affidavit as a result of the meetings held by the Center of Attorney Rights of our bar association, a second panel comprising members of Penal Institutions Board, Center for Human Rights, and Center for Attorney Rights who visit the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes held a meeting in a closed room with the six persons whose names had been reported regarding the claims of ill-treatment and torture, and statements were officially recorded and signed in the company of the persons who suffered ill-treatment and torture. (The names of the persons interviewed are kept confidential in this report.)
Established by the written statements and as a result of the interviews, the findings regarding the claims of ill-treatment and torture are as follows:
- All the 6 persons who were interviewed stated that they had been taken to meetings under the pretext of “interviews,” where they were forced to become informants and suffered threats and insults. All the 6 persons who were interviewed stated that they were taken out for an interview more than once, they were put under psychological stress during the interview, and they could identify the persons who carried out the interviews if they saw them.
- 5 of the 6 persons who were interviewed stated that they suffered ill-treatment and torture outside the interviews. 1 person with whom an interview was held stated that he did not personally suffer ill-treatment and torture but heard about the claims of ill-treatment and torture from the persons with whom he shared a cell and from other persons when they were taken together to the Criminal Judgeship of Peace during the time extension procedures. No discrepancy was found between the names of persons whom this person heard to have suffered ill-treatment and torture and the names of the persons who declared that they suffered ill-treatment and torture
- According to the common statements of the 5 persons who stated that they had suffered ill-treatment and torture; these persons were taken out of their cells where they were held in custody (one on Saturday night, another the night between Saturday and Sunday, and the other three Sunday night), they were taken to the section on the ground floor of Ankara Provincial Police Headquarters Investigation Department of Financial Crimes (one person said he was taken without handcuffs, while four said they were handcuffed in the back), they were put in through a door with the sign “No Entrance” on it on the narrow hallway at the entrance of the department, the persons who put them in the dark room left, the persons whose faces they could not identify because of the dark first forced them against the wall, blindfolded them (The uncuffed person stated that he was the first to be handcuffed in this room), then forced them to kneel, made them crawl for a while, hit them on the head with truncheons, threatened that they would be raped unless they talked, and the persons in the dark room brushed truncheons on their bodies.
After these events, 3 said they were stripped completely naked, one said he was stripped waist down, one said his trousers were stripped half down; and then 4 persons, the completely and waist-down naked ones, were handcuffed in the back, put in fetus position, had truncheons brush their anal areas; they were subjected to threats and insults all the while; they were given one to two minutes after which they were told “We now move into the next stage” and a substance which they thought to be oil or lubricant was poured on their anal areas and truncheons were brushed around their anal areas. In addition, 1 person stated that they tried to take his trousers off, which they managed to lower halfway, he forced them back up, and he was tortured by having the truncheon brushed over his body and clothes.
- The 5 persons who said they had been subjected to ill-treatment and torture were asked whether the persons who performed the ill-treatment and torture were one of the persons whose face they saw and voice they heard in the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes and they replied that these were different persons. When asked if they used any expression that might reveal their identity, four of the persons said no such expression was used but one stated that he heard them say, “We came from outside; we’re a professional team.”
- The 5 persons who said they had been subjected to ill-treatment and torture stated that they were accompanied by a police officer during the daily examination of the doctor and they could not tell the doctor about what they experienced because they feared for and were worried about their safety of life.
- 1 person who said he was subjected to ill-treatment and torture stated that before the ill-treatment and torture defined as the second stage one person asked him whether he was married and when he said he was he was told “Look, you won’t be able to sleep with your wife and you’ll wake up at night and cry.”
- 1 person who said he was subjected to ill-treatment and torture stated that he got bruises on his knees due to the crawling (the bruises were seen and photographed by the visiting commission) and declared to the doctor on his first examination the day after the torture, but when the doctor verbally declared that he had written in the report as bruises the female officer who was present during the examination panicked, got hold of her mobile phone, and wrote something to someone, and he was then taken out of the room and he was not shown the completed version of the report and they were later transferred to the Criminal Judgeship of Peace for procedures of extending detention time, and the same doctor wrote in the report that there was no mark of battery or coercion in the examination they were taken after the extension decision, and he had no idea about the fate of the other report.
- 1 person who said he was subjected to ill-treatment and torture stated that he was told before they started ill-treatment and torture that “We rape with truncheons here; you must’ve heard about it. It’s all true,” and then he was subjected to the ill-treatment and torture explained above.
- 1 person who said he was subjected to ill-treatment and torture stated that he did not say anything to his friends when he returned to the cell after the experience; all he could say was that there was torture, and then he went to sleep; when he wanted to go to the toilet when he woke up he passed out; 112 medical team came in, checked his blood pressure and then left; he also passed out in the morning after the events; and he had not slept for 48 hours.
- 1 person who said he was subjected to ill-treatment and torture stated that when they were taken before the Criminal Judgeship of Peace he said to the Criminal Judge of Peace that he had been subjected to ill-treatment; the judge answered, “Is it just you? Why doesn’t anyone else have it;” whereupon another person who stated that he had been subjected to ill-treatment and torture said, “I’ve subjected to torture too.” 2 persons in the same trial stated that the judge said, “I’m not a doctor; this isn’t my job; Go tell it to the doctor.”
When our colleagues who were appointed by the central office and boards of our bar association informed the officials at the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes about the names of the persons with whom they wanted to interview, they were told that statements were taken from 3 of these persons since they wanted to take advantage of the provisions of effective remorse and they were then released. The files of these persons had been reviewed and no finding about ill-treatment or torture had been reported in their files. Similarly, the reports of the persons with whom interviews were conducted and about whom the findings above are confirmed had been reviewed and it was reported that there was no sign of battery or coercion. The persons with whom the interviews that revealed the findings were made named the 3 persons who took advantage of the effective remorse and were released and stated that they heard from others who went to the interviews and from still others whom they met at the Criminal Judgeship of Peace when they were transferred to the courthouse for the time extension order for detention that they were subjected to ill-treatment and torture like they were. As stated in the ECHR as well as other international conventions, the presence of the doctor’s report per se is not a sign that no ill-treatment or torture was experienced. When the accounts that reveal the findings above are evaluated as a whole, (it can be seen that) the persons were illegally taken to doctor’s examination in company of a police officer. The accounts of the persons who were heard do not contradict one another. When the accounts are evaluated as a whole, they confirm the fact that these persons were subjected to torture and ill-treatment in a way that would not leave any mark of battery or coercion.
Article 17/3 of the Constitution, which stipulates a ban on torture, reads as follows:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or mal-treatment; no one shall be subjected to penalties or treatment incompatible with human dignity.”
In addition, Article 3 of the ECHR is as follows:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
Moreover, Article 1 of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment states that
“For the purposes of this Convention, the term “torture” means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.
This article is without prejudice to any international instrument or national legislation which does or may contain provisions of wider application.”
These provisions ban torture and ill-treatment in international and national norms.
Furthermore, Article 4 of Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment is as follows:
“Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.
Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.”
International norms stipulate that torture should be defined as crime and penal sanctions should be enforced. Turkey is one of the state parties in the abovementioned convention.
Article 94 of the Turkish Penal Code, titled Torture, is as follows:
“(1) A public officer who performs any act towards a person that is incompatible with human dignity, and which causes that person to suffer physically or mentally, or affects the person’s capacity to perceive or his ability to act of his own will or insults them shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of three to twelve years.
(2) If the offence is committed against:
- a) a child, a person who is physically or mentally incapable of defending himself or a pregnant women; or
- b) a public officer or an advocate on account of the performance of his duty, a penalty of imprisonment for a term of eight to fifteen years shall be imposed.
(3) If the act is conducted in the manner of sexual harassment, the offender shall be sentenced to a penalty of imprisonment for a term of ten to fifteen years,
(4) Any other person who participates in the commission of this offence shall be sentenced in a manner equivalent to the public officer.
(5) If the offence is committed by way of omission there shall be no reduction in the sentence.”
In our Turkish Penal code, the crime of torture entails penal sanctions. In this respect, considering the findings above, an investigation must be launched against the concerned parties and not also the persons who ignore the crime of torture and commit the crime of torture but also anybody else who attacked the physical and mental entity of others must be identified and punished.
Therefore, the law stipulates that
- Considering the fact that the law enforcement officers who carried out the investigation into the detainees could be the suspects of a probable investigation of torture or ill-treatment, they should be suspended from the investigation so that torture and ill-treatment against the detainees can be prevented and the investigation can be carried out effectively;
- Although daily doctor’s examinations must be conducted in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol, to which Turkey is a party, necessary instructions must be submitted for examination procedures to be conducted in accordance with the Istanbul Protocol because law enforcement was kept present during examination in violation of the protocol;
- All the suspects kept in custody in Ankara Provincial Police Headquarters Investigation Department of Financial Crimes must be brought before the prosecutor’s office immediately without getting their statements completed at the police headquarters;
- An investigation must be launched ex-officio for the identification of the persons who committed the crime of torture; an effective investigation must be conducted so that material facts can be revealed and any spoliation of evidence can be forestalled; units and members of Provincial Gendarmerie must be used as per Articles 160/2 and 164 of the CMK no. 5271, and units and members of the police must not be appointed directly in this investigation;
- All the raw camera footages from 20 May 2019 when the detention procedures were started to 28 May 2018 must be collected immediately starting with those of the different places of detention where the suspects were kept at Ankara Provincial Police Headquarters, the camera footages that show the entrances and exits of the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes as well as all the camera footages inside the Investigation Department of Financial Crimes, and the moments when the detained suspects were being taken away for interviews and torture so that the suspect law enforcement officers can be identified; because it is known that camera recordings were previously erased after their preservation for 30 days in similar applications due to claims of law enforcement officers’ battery and torture against both attorneys and suspects, legal obligations must be fulfilled for all pieces of evidence to be collected and protected;
- Considering the fact that the law enforcement officers who carried out the investigation could well be the suspects of a probable investigation of torture or ill-treatment, the staff who were assigned to the said operations must be suspended until the investigation into claims of torture and ill-treatment is completed;
- Considering the fact that a judge who learns about a claim of torture and ill-treatment is obliged to take action and that the Criminal Judge of Peace did not take any action although the persons declared to him that they were subjected to torture, the Criminal Judge of Peace who issued an extension on detention period must be identified and necessary legal action must be taken against him.
In this respect, we bring to the public attention the fact that we are ready to present Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office with the records and documents drawn up by the members of our bar association in the boards and central office in case or when they are demanded and we as Ankara Bar Association will continue the legal struggle to the very end so that torture and ill-treatment can be eliminated.
9 Months imprisonment for hate crimes against Gülen Movement in Germany
Hakan Koçak was sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment due to insulting and threatening the volunteers of the Hizmet Movement in Nürnberg, Germany. The judge also told Kocak long-term advice and explained that Germany is a constitutional state.
BOLD- In Germany, the Nürnberg Court has sentenced Hakan Koçak (38), who swore, insulted and threatened the volunteers of the Gülen Movement in the middle of the street, to 9 months imprisonment and 50 hours of social service.
Koçak has been charged with approximately 10 counts of crimes and accepted them all in the court. He will go to prison for his sentence if he commits a crime within 3 years.
The event took place on 22 December 2017 in Nürnberg. 9 volunteer activists who are members of the Gülen Movement, had set up a booth for 666 babies imprisoned with their mothers (666 babies were in prison at that time). Their goal was to inform passers-by and to draw attention to this situation.
After a while, Hakan Koçak approached the booth and took a picture. Kocak’s German wife warned him not to continue and they walked away from the booth. After 10-15 minutes, Koçak came back, and this time he started to ask questions to the activists Sezgin Ç. (39), his wife Seher Ç., Mustafa M., Aysan A., Uğur A.
Sezgin Ç. told how the event happened: “First of all, he asked whether we were the members of the Gülen Movement. I told him I’d give information if he showed me his identity card. I emphasized we were not there for political reasons. When he started swearing, I told him that he had to leave there, or we’d call the police. He became furious and started to attack verbally, swear, and threaten. He said he would destroy the cabinet and give the photos he took to the Turkish Consulate in Nürnberg. He also called me to the back street and threatened me with death.
When Hakan Koçak came back for the second time, Seher Ç., opened his phone camera and recorded these moments. In the video that was popular in social media at that time, Koçak used words including curses, heavy insults, threats.
Sezgin Ç., wrote the curses that we had to censor as follows in the petition he submitted to the court.
- are you dishonest
- Traitors b….ds
- you are all dodgy
- F… dodgy
- Ass hole
- the dishonests
- All of you are m…..f…..
- f…. you
- Sons of b….
- I will f… you
- I will f… you traitors
- All of you are m…..f…..
- you will be alone when I catch you
- I will f… your mother
- I will f… the police
- I will f.. all of you
- Come here, I will f.. your mother
Sezgin Ç who works as an engineer in an international company and 9 activists filed a criminal complaint against Hakan Koçak. In the first and last court on Thursday, 9 May 2019, Sezgin Ç. reported that Hakan Koçak was sentenced to 9 months of imprisonment and 50 hours of social security due to malicious injury.
Koçak who has been charged with approximately 10 counts of crimes up to today and accepts them all, will go to prison for his sentence if he commits a crime within 3 years. Koçak is a cargo carrier in a private company, married to a German and has three children.
THE JUDGE ADVISED: GERMANY IS A CONSTITUTIONAL STATE
According to Sezgin Ç.’s expression, The judge of Nürnberg Court advised to Koçak that Germany is a constitutional state, he could not insult such a person in different ideas as he did in the video, he could not provoke or threaten people and he had to learn them.
SEZGİN Ç .: OUR PURPOSE IS TO DRAW ATTENTION TO THE BABIES IN TURKEY’S PRISONS
“We had set up a tent. While we were informing the questioners about the babies in Turkey’s prisons, Koçak came to the stand. My wife saw her and she warned me. She said he was taking our picture. After 10-15 minutes, he came again, and this time the phone’s camera was on. We had two female friends at the stand. First, he attacked them and started to insult. They didn’t accept to contact with him, then he came towards me. I thought he was a consular officer. I asked who he was and I wanted him to show me his ID. He didn’t show it. I returned the curses to him. Realizing that we would not respond to him, he took off his jacket, shouted, and started to use gross words heard in the video. We’ve filed a complaint petition. We have learned in the court that he has been charged with approximately 10 counts of crimes. He’s got parole on all of them.”
HE ATTACKED AND STRANGLED A FRIEND OF OURS
“With the call of the prosecutor, he is sentenced to 9 months’ imprisonment for man-wounding. He attacked a friend of ours by strangling him. The prosecutor has opened a court due to previous crimes like that. I, my wife, two female friends and the friend strangled were called as witnesses in the court. We were not parties there, because it was a public case. The judge read all of his crimes.”
THE LAWYER OF NÜRNBERG TURKISH CONSULATE WAS IN THE COURT
Kocak’s former lawyer Cüneyt G. was also there. He was also a lawyer at the Turkish Consulate in Nuremberg. I don’t know if he’s still going on. The court took an hour. Koçak has accepted all charges. The prosecutor read the file. The prosecutor wanted more punishment but there is an event called bargaining. The lawyer, the prosecutor, and the judge agree between themselves. Bargaining lasted 20 minutes. They declared the decision. We will file a law of torts.”
THE COURT REFUTED THE INTERVIEW WITH DAILY SABAH
Hakan Koçak had an interview with Daily Sabah on 27 February 2018. He said;” I did not hurt or beat anybody. They walked on me.” It was also revealed in the court that Koçak’s statement was not accurate.
Daily Sabah that makes hate speech news about Hizmet Movement defended Hakan Koçak with fake news.