Turkey |Developing

Turkish court bails rights activists but Amnesty chairman remains in jail

Talk (40)

CV

Cassandra Vinograd

"But also recognize you've put a lot o..."
CV

Cassandra Vinograd

"I think you should be able to go in b..."
John Lubbock

John Lubbock

"So should I re-do those edits I made ..."
CV

Cassandra Vinograd

"Yes, because of the glitch."
Post coup demonstration by Erdogan supporters. Istanbul, Turkey, 22 July, 2016 – image by Mstyslav Chernov CC BY-SA 4.0

Ten human-rights activists have been released on bail in Turkey but Amnesty International’s chairman remains in custody, according to the rights organization.

Amnesty International praised the release of 10 other activists but condemned the continued detention of Chairman Taner Kilic.

“The release of the Istanbul 10 late last night restored some faith in Turkey’s justice system. Today, that faith has been washed away,” it said in a statement. While Amnesty said 10 activists had been released, The Associated Press said only 8 had been freed pending verdicts in their trials on on charges of belonging to and aiding terror groups.

Amnesty’s Kilic was detained on June 6 in the Western Turkish city of Izmir, along with 22 lawyers, and charged with “membership of a terror organization,” according to Deutsche Welle. A month later, on July 5, 10 other human rights defenders were detained during a digital security training event on one of Istanbul’s Princes Islands.

According to The Guardian, the activists arrested on July 5 were İdil Eser (Amnesty International), Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Özlem Dalkıran (Citizens’ Assembly), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), Ali Gharavi (IT strategy consultant), Peter Steudtner (non-violence and wellbeing trainer) and İlknur Üstün (Women’s Coalition) and Nalan Erkem (Citizens’ Assembly). Şeyhmus Özbekli (Rights Initiative) and Nejat Taştan (Association for Monitoring Equal Rights) were released on bail.

Since the failed July 2015 coup attempt, Turkey’s government has arrested more than 50,000 people – which it says is in order to deal with alleged coup plotters, according to The Associated Press. Journalists and human-rights activists also have been caught up in the crackdown, which rights-groups say are an attempt to stifle government criticism.

Gharavi and Steudtner had been in Istanbul to give privacy and security training to human-rights defenders. After the arrest of the activists, President Tayyip Erdogan stated that the group had “gathered for a meeting which was a continuation of July 15,” referencing the date of the failed coup.

In July, a criminal court charged Gharavi and Steudtner with “committing crimes in the name of a terrorist organization without being a member.”

Turkey’s government claims the failed coup was orchestrated by a movement linked to US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen. And alleged use of a message app called Bylock – which Turkish authorities say constitutes evidence of membership in a pro-Gulen terrorist organization – has been cited as evidence against journalists and human-rights activits.

The Turkish government claimed in 2016 to have broken the application’s security which it said had allowed it to uncover thousands of Gulenists, according to The Guardian.

At the start of his trial, Kılıç denied that he had used the ByLock application. Kılıç was quoted as saying that two forensic reports found no evidence that ByLock had ever been downloaded on his phone.

On October 25 – following a 12 hour opening session at the Çağlayan court in Istanbul–  a judge decided to bail the activists, according to The Guardian. But hours later Kilic, the Amnesty Turkey chairman, was remanded in custody in Izmir, according to Al Jazeera.

In a statement, Amnesty said that it would continue to put pressure on authorities until all of the accused were freed and acquitted.

Meanwhile, hundreds of other government critics in Turkey have been charged with similar crimes –  like the group “Academics for Peace,” a collection of over 2000 educators who signed a letter opposing the Turkish military’s treatment of Kurdish civilians in the southeast part of the country.

Members of “Academics for Peace” are facing terror charges, according to Human Rights Watch. The rights group says signatories of the petition were fired from their academic roles and have been targeted by government supporters – such as Sedat Peker, a convicted mafia boss and media personality who has 1.5 million Facebook followers.

Turkish Minute – a local website with purported ties to Gulen – reported that Peker recently defended as ‘criticism’ threats he made towards the group in 2016, when he reportedly threatened to “shed your blood in streams and we will shower in the blood that we shed.”

The European Court of Human Rights rejected a petition from the Academics for Peace to hear a case that their rights to freedom of expression had been violated, ordering them to wait for the Turkish government’s State of Emergency Commission to investigate the matter.

That doesn’t mean all government criticism has ceased. A new political party being set up by Meral Aksener, a right wing nationalist, has taken aim at the government, according to Voice of America.

“Media should not be under pressure. Democratic participation, a strong parliament and the national will are irreplaceable,” she said.


Started by

United Kingdom
I worked as a freelance journalist in Turkey and London before starting work as the Communications Coordinator for Wikimedia UK, the UK chapter of the global Wikimedia movement that supports Wikipedia and the other Wikimedia projects. I've written for Vice, Guardian, OpenDemocracy, Global Voices and other sites, on issues ranging from UK politics and society to Middle East human rights during the Arab Spring and political developments in Turkey. While living in Turkey in 2015 I made two short documentaries on the history of Istanbul's architecture and the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. I'm interested to find out how WikiTribune works and to continue some of my journalistic work in my spare time by contributing to stories about Turkey and UK politics.

History for stories "Turkish court bails rights activists but Amnesty chairman remains in jail"

Select two items to compare revisions

31 October 2017

20:40:20, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → adds photo)
20:00:51, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
20:00:09, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
17:35:22, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → edits restored.)
17:20:12, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
17:19:28, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
17:08:36, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → adds background on Bylock, gulen, academics for peace)
16:44:36, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → Added back information from previous edits)
16:03:35, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → no update)
16:02:28, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → testing w/ JLubbock)
15:59:00, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
15:15:51, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → updates headline and summary to make more active and shorten)
14:37:04, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → fixes summary)
14:36:24, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → makes headline active, shortens)
14:32:40, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
14:30:48, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
13:45:37, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → questions for writer in italics and bold and underline.)
13:42:30, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → minor edits)
13:33:04, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → Added more sources for purge of academics)
11:46:30, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
11:35:24, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
11:23:00, 31 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )

30 October 2017

11:53:04, 30 Oct 2017 . .‎ Linh Nguyen (Updated → bolded intro)
11:49:28, 30 Oct 2017 . .‎ Linh Nguyen (Updated → image)
11:22:12, 30 Oct 2017 . .‎ Cassandra Vinograd (Updated → attribution throughout, cuts unattributable bits, adds more attribution, moves news to TOP)

29 October 2017

12:39:05, 29 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )
12:37:13, 29 Oct 2017 . .‎ John Lubbock (Updated → )

Talk for Story "Turkish court bails rights activists but Amnesty chairman remains in jail"

Talk about this Story

  1. Rewrite

    Ok think I identified glitch — maybe better to address here and then can add the paragraphs back in manually? Questions in ALL CAPS and brackets.

    Ps thanks for patience

    Turkey claims the coup was orchestrated by the Hizmet movement of US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen. One piece of evidence used [BY WHO] to assert membership of this group was the use of the private messaging application. [WHAT DOES BYLOCK HAVE TO DO WITH GULEN OR ANYTHING ELSE FOR THAT MATTER? SPELL IT OUT FOR READERSS]

    While pro-government media in Turkey accused the defendants of using the Bylock application, the Electronic Frontier Foundation [[WHO IS THIS? EXPLAIN WHAT THEY ARE AND WHY THEY’RE CREDIBLE] has said that it is ‘profoundly unlikely’ that security trainers would use an application known to be insecure.

    1. Rewrite

      [THEN CAN ADD THIS BACK IN] At the start of his trial, Kılıç denied that he had used the ByLock messaging application which authorities say provides evidence of membership of a Gulenist terrorist organisation which pro-government media calls FETO [SAME QUESTION AS BEFORE]

      Kılıç was quoted as saying that two forensic reports found no evidence that ByLock had ever been downloaded on his phone. [IF THIS IS CASE THAN DO WE NEED EFF BIT AT TOP Or even mentioning pro-government MEDIA? this is in the CHARGESS, no?]]

      1. Rewrite

        I responded to these before but my version has now disappeared. Is there no way to just paste what I updated in my version into the live version? I can’t seem to find where my version has gone.

        1. Hey there. Really sorry — having some glitches over here. Very grateful for all the hard work but think it’s probably best to leave this as is for now, until there’s a new development in the case. And we can do another version then. Thanks!

          1. Rewrite

            I’m not really happy with it, to be honest. I think it could be a lot better than this and I’m not really happy having my name attached to this as it is.

            1. Rewrite

              Is there no way for me to see my original piece again?

            2. Ok. I *think* I’ve identified the glitch. You should be able to hit “edit story” now — and add your changes and updates. Hopefully I will then see those and be able to approve the changes.

              Please let me know though what you see when you hit “edit story” as the first sentence so can make sure we’re seeing the same version // glitch sorted?

              1. Rewrite

                Same as before. I can see and edit the live version, but my version with the changes I made seems to have been lost.

                  1. Rewrite

                    So should I re-do those edits I made before?

                    1. Rewrite

                      I think you should be able to go in by hitting “edit story” and add your updates. But please confirm what you are seeing as the first sentence of the story so I make sure you’re seeing the “right” version?

                    2. But also recognize you’ve put a lot of time into this already and feel very bad about the glitches so that’s why I proposed letting it drop for now.

  2. Rewrite

    Hi John — have gone back through your version and saved in “pending” with further questions to work some of those paragraphs back in. The questions/etc are in italics + underlined. Please address when you can and resave to pending so we can update. Thanks!

    1. Rewrite

      Sorry, I can’t see how to find pending…

      1. Ah sorry for jargon! If you click “edit” on story you should be able to go in and see those italics/bold/etc, yeah?

        1. Rewrite

          Ok, I’ve added clarifications to my version. I hope that’s what you wanted. I find the distinction between the live and my draft versions to be a bit confusing.

          1. Rewrite

            Sorry for the confusion! What is live is what is viewable to world. Draft is in the wordpress end, only viewable if you click in to edit. Will flag this to powers that be though in hopes of smoothing it out!

            1. Rewrite

              The questions were worked in through the edit… Did you cut and paste in the old [unedited version] or address in the document itself where the questions were marked in bold?

              1. Rewrite

                I just changed my version and resubmitted it. I can’t see any other version.

                1. Rewrite

                  When you say changed your version — by clicking “edit story” up top along the bar of this? https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2017/10/30/europe/turkey/turkey-bails-rights-activists-but-amnesty-chairman-remains-in-jail/13504/

                  Or how? Sorry for confusion and thanks for your patience. Think we have a glitch and want to make sure we fix!

                  1. Rewrite

                    Yes, I just go to Edit Story and it shows me my version, which is not the live one. I changed that one. I can’t see any other version to change.

  3. Rewrite

    NEEDS MORE + BETTER SOURCING: been purging public officials and arresting journalists on the accusation that they supported the coup, which Turkey claims was orchestrated by the Hizmet movement of US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen. One piece of evidence used to assert membership of this group was the use of the Bylock private messaging application, according to Hurriyet Daily News. Other evidence reportedly includes a map drawn by one of the participants at the training event, and an email from Idil Eser requesting funding from an embassy for a project on gender equality, according to Amnesty International.

    While pro-government media in Turkey accused the defendants of using the Bylock application, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has said that it is ‘profoundly unlikely’ that security trainers would use an application known to be insecure.

    1. Rewrite

      I have added a number of new sources. Do you feel these are good enough? If not, please explain why.

      1. Rewrite
  4. Rewrite

    Cut: Thousands of Turks remain in exile as a result of the 2016 coup and the fallout, which has left many critics of the government afraid to speak out for fear of prosecution. Academics who have been banned from teaching are struggling to support themselves, with one group opening a cafe in the South Eastern city of Mersin.

    1. Rewrite

      Is there a reason you think this should be cut?

      1. Rewrite

        The exile bit is a nice line but don’t think it’s all relevant to THIS story. Plus, the struggling to support themselves bit [don’t remember exact link] seemed like needed more attribution // clarification on the source — or direct reporting.

        1. Rewrite

          As far as I can see the live version still has nothing about the wider background with the Academics for Peace story. If you think it just doesn’t belong, I’ll stop trying to improve it and add sources.

          1. Rewrite

            I think I need some kind of advice on house style. You’ve put ‘according to X’ after everything. Is that necessary when you put the reference as a link? Also, are you going to put the list of references at the bottom or not?

          2. Rewrite

            Yup that’s because I worked the previously cut stuff back into a “draft” version so you can approve. If you clikc into “edit” yous hould see it [versus making it live w/ all sorts of editor questions].

            And yes — if it’s not on WT list of preferred sources, think it’s better to include attribution. Better to overattribute than under.

  5. Rewrite

    NEEDS ATTRIBUTION — and also does it need to be in this story?: The group ‘Academics for Peace’, who signed a letter opposing the Turkish military’s treatment of Kurdish civilians in the South East during clashes with the Kurdish PKK militant group, are accused of ‘terrorist propaganda’ by a prosecutor who is seeking seven and a half year jail sentences for the signatories. Ultranationalist mafia leader and government supporter Sedat Peker recently defended as ‘criticism’ threats he made against the group in 2016, when he reportedly said “We will shed your blood in streams and we will shower in the blood that we shed.”

    1. Rewrite

      I will find more sources for this later. Thanks.

      1. Rewrite

        Oh sorry, wrong reply. I personally think this should be in there. Does it need to be in the story? Well, I think it puts this story in a wider context that people should be aware of, so yes, I think it should be there.

        1. Rewrite

          Ok. Then need to be clearer on who Academics for peace are [this is a story about human-rights activists as of now], why they relate, and also clear up the sourcing/attribution. Peker also feels out of place.

          1. Rewrite

            Ok, will do. I know the situation quite well so perhaps sometimes I can take for granted that people know more about the situation than they do. I think Peker is a good example of a pro-govt ‘outrider’ who makes the kind of threats that are implicit from the government itself when people speak out critically about things the government are doing. The situation in the Kurdish region is particularly sensitive in this respect. As the Academics for Peace issue shows, you only have to say that the government should not be militarily occupying and destroying Kurdish towns to get accused of being a terrorist and taken to court in Turkey.

            1. Rewrite

              Gotcha. Context is always important! Thank you! Just wanted to make sure it fits into THIS piece instead of another // separate // different story. News vs. Encyclopedia entry distinction rule 🙂

              1. Rewrite

                Yeah, I think that this tangent wouldn’t go into an encyclopaedia entry (though it might be in the same Wikipedia category), but it gives context for this story to see what other prosecutions are going on right now.

  6. Rewrite

    CUT THIS: At the start of his trial, Kılıç denied that he had used the ByLock messaging application which authorities say provides evidence of membership of a Gulenist terrorist organisation which pro-government media calls FETO. Kılıç was quoted as saying that two forensic reports found no evidence that ByLock had ever been downloaded on his phone.

  7. Rewrite

    Published this but cut a lot out because there was not attribution and/or sufficient sourcing. Some was editorializing/opinion. Will cut and paste some of it herei n case it can be attributed properly and added back in.

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