HDP: Turkey freedom and democracy year in review

TITLES
*MEDIA/PRESS FREEDOM
*ACADEMIC FREEDOM
*CRACKDOWN ON NGOs &CSOs
*DISMISSALS FROM STATE INSTITUTIONS
*INTERVENTIONS IN THE JUDICIARY
*CRACKDOWN ON THE OPPOSITION
*CRACKDOWN ON HDP’S PARLIAMENTARY GROUP
*CRACKDOWN ON LOCAL AUTHORITIES
*VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
*TORTURE IN PRISONS

MEDIA/PRESS FREEDOM (Read Report in PDF )
Since the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016, 3.000 journalists have been left unemployed. According to a report by Turkish Journalists’ Association, 780 press cards were cancelled in 2016. 839 journalists stood trial for the stories they published. 189 journalists were attacked either verbally or physically.
*Imprisoned Journalists: 148 (6 journalists have been in detention for 22 days.)
*Closed TVs: 28
*Closed Radios 32
*Closed Newspapers and Magazines: 75
*Closed Publishing Companies: 29
*Other media organizations: 14

Between 20 July 2016 and 6 January 2017, 178 media institutions have been closed down in total. Only 20 of these institutions have been reopened. The number of closed media outlets is 158. Assets and proper￾ties of the closed media outlets have been seized.

Almost all of the national, local TVs and radios, broadcasting for the Kurdish and Alevi community, have been closed down. None of the politicians or commenters, disapproved by AKP government, could appear on mainstream TVs.

Turkey fell back to 151 among 180 countries in terms of press freedom according to the World Press Free￾dom list of CPJ in 2016. According to the report of ‘Freedom House’ in Washington, Turkey was relegated to
‘Not Free Country’ from its position of ‘Semi-Free Country’.

AKP government directly controls the mainstream media. Since June 2015, none of the HDP politicians have been invited to debate programs on TV. News on HDP in critical topics is presented with a very marginalized discourse.

ACADEMIC FREEDOM
Between the dates 20 July 2016- 6 January 2017, during the emergency rule, from 112 university, 4481 aca￾demics (Professors, assistant professors, associate professors, doctors and research assistants) have been
dismissed. Besides academics, 1102 administrative personnel have been dismissed. More than 11.000 aca￾demics are still under investigation. Only 16 of dismissed academics have been able to return to duty.

126 academics, demanding a democratic and peaceful solution to Kurdish issue, and hundreds of academics defending similar views on social media are among the dismissed ones. The number of the dismissed aca￾demics increases day by day.

OYP (Academic Training Program) has been cancelled by a decree. Many research assistants of this program have been transferred to 50/d position which is known for its insecure conditions. Rectorate elections have been abolished. Power to appoint rectors has been given to President by a decree. Arrested students without a conviction have been stripped off their rights to take exams. By another decree, contract teachers are now hired through interviews,, instead of written exams, which accelerates AKP’s takeover of critical institutions.

30.483 educators working for Ministry of Education have been dismissed. More than 10 thousand teachers who were members of Eğitim-Sen (Education Union) have been suspended due to their union activities.
(Almost all of these teachers returned to their jobs) 872 members of Education Union (Eğitim-Sen) have been dismissed. Contracts of 21 thousand teachers, working at private education institutions, have been cancelled.

15 Foundation Universities, 109 student dorms, 934 private education institutions have been closed down. Military high schools, where around 3 thousand 600 students were educated, have been closed down.

Turkey is the 38 among 41 countries in terms OECD’s education index.

CRACKDOWN ON NGOs and CSOs
Between 20 July 2016 and 6 January 2017, the number closed NGOs, CSOs, and organizations by 3 decrees in Turkey is 1583.182 of those closed have been re-opened. The number of currently closed organizations is On 30 December 2016, Ministry of Interior announced the suspension of 94 organizations in 20 cities, whose names have not been announced, in terms of the 11. article of the law regulating the state of emergency. It is still unknown if the 83 institutions, which were closed on 6 January 2017 by decree number Assets of these closed organizations have been seized.
*Closed NGOs&CSOs: 1401
*Closed Foundations: 123
*Closed Unions, Federations and Confederations :19

DISMISSALS FROM STATE INSTITUTIONS
According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, 135.356 public employees have gone through either investigation or dismissal since 15 July 2016. 97.679 people have been dismissed including those dismissed by the latest decree. 25.000 of the dismissed are reported to be police officers. It is stated that Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had 518.166 employees before 15 July. By December 2016, the number is reported to decrease to 355.212. Most of those were dismissed for alleged links to the failed coup attempt.

7920 military personnel and state employees were dismissed for different reasons despite having no links to the coup attempt. There were 358 generals before 15 July 2016. However, this number fell back to 201 by October 2016. 10.000 employees, previously working with 61 DBP municipalities, most of which have been seized by trustees, have been laid off due to cancelled contracts with subcontractors or termination of the contracts.

State employees or permanent workers of trustee-appointed municipalities are being dismissed with decrees. There are reports indicating that pro-AKP people are replacing the vacancies of those dismissed.

CRACKDOWN ON THE JUDICIARY
4334 personnel in the judiciary have been dismissed for alleged links to Fethullah Gulen movement after 15 July, failed coup attempt. The number of dismissed is listed below:
*3659 judges and prosecutors
* 194 member of military judiciary
* 153 Judges experts and administrative personnel of Court of Accounts,
* 91 Judges, Experts and administrative personnel of Council of State
* 183 Experts and administrative personnel of Court of Cassation
* 39 Experts and administrative personnel of the Constitutional Court
* 15 Administrative personnel of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors

During the 14 years of AKP government, rule of law principle was violated as Gulenists and pro-AKP members were assigned to critical positions in the judiciary institutions. Along with Gulenist members who were careful￾ly and intentionally assigned by AKP, other judiciary members whose opinions are not adopted by AKP have also been dismissed. Indictments prepared by the dismissed prosecutors have not been dropped off, thou￾sands of our party members, dozens of co-mayors and 11 deputies are currently under arrest as a result of these indictments.

CRACKDOWN ON THE OPPOSITION
* The number of the detained HDP members: 8930 (22 July 2015 – 10 January 2017)
* Imprisoned HDP members: 2782 (22 July 2015 – 10 January 2017)
* Attacks on HDP Offices: 494 incidents causing great damage have been recorded. Our HQ was also set on fire by racist mobs. (1 January 2015 – 1 January 2017)
* According to information released by Ministry of Interior, in the last six months, 3.170 people have been pro￾cessed, 1656 people have been arrested for allegedly ‘making terrorist propaganda’ on social media. 1.203 people have been released with judicial control. By 15 January 2017, there were 84 people detained, 767 people released after detention process.

Ministry of Interior announced that investigation and legal process on more than 10.000 people would continue, and these people’s identification details had been shared with public prosecution offices.

Ministry of Interior describes accusations against those detained, arrested or investigated as: “Inciting public hatred, praising and making propaganda for terrorist organizations, declaring links to terrorist organizations, defaming officials, attempting to damage unity of the state and safety of public…”

Ministry of Interior also announced “Higher cooperation with service providers, such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube” in its statement. However, citizens, simply sharing statements of our co-chairs on social media, are arrested on basis of “supporting terrorist organization”

CRACKDOWN ON HDP’S PARLIAMENTARY
* Number HDP deputies stripped off immunities: 55 (HDP has 59 deputies in the parliament.)
* Total number of dossiers: 518 (Almost all of which are based on speeches given at political and democratic events.)
* Number of detained deputies 22 (The detention process was carried out either when our deputies were travelling or with raids at their houses by the orders of prosecution. Despite having different cases and prosecutors, several deputies of HDP were detained by force on the same day and hour from different locations. This proves our allegations on how these investigation processes are managed from one center.
* Imprisoned deputies: 12 deputies(2 co-chairs and 2 parliamentary group deputy chairs. 1 deputy has been released. Current number of imprisoned HDP deputies is: 11)

CRACKDOWN ON LOCAL AUTHORITIES
* 61 municipalities of DBP, Democratic Regions Party, have been seized by state-appointed trustees.
* 74 co-mayors, including 6 deputy co-mayors, are currently under arrest.
* All of the trustees appointed to DBP Municipalities are district and city governors, known for their loyalty to AKP. First actions of these trustees were to close down art workshops, theatres, nurseries, social and educative projects for women, all of which were provided in Kurdish, and dismiss employees working in these fields.

The trustee appointed to Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, removed the memorial monument built in memory of 34 civilians bombed by Turkish jets in Roboski, a village of Şırnak. A replica of the Assyrian lion statues in front of the Diyarbakir Municipality, icons and cultural values of the region, were also removed by the trustee. Original forms of these statues were destroyed with bulldozers in Raqqa by ISIS.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN
In 2016, 328 women have been killed by men. 50 percent of women murders happened after the state of emergency. In 2015 the number of murders was 284.

Almost all cases regarding violence against women in public spaces are ignored by prosecution offices or presented as minor crimes, resulting in release of perpetrators. This approach encourages violence against women while it also increases the amount of violence against women.

Women’s participation in the workforce, determination and visibility at political and social level in Turkey is extremely low, while restrictions on the right of abortion and similar reductions in social life are obstructions to the construction of a free society. The more women’s status in society regresses, the more murders and violence increase.

TORTURE IN PRISONS
In penal institutions of Ministry of Justice, insults, strip searches, beatings, deprivation of food and water, keeping prisoners in cold rooms, and imposing solitary confinement are systematically carried out. Ahmet Türk, former co-chair of DTP and current co-mayor of Mardin Metropolitan Municipality, is 74 years old and has a cardiac pacemaker. His imprisonment is absolutely unlawful. He could not even complete his defense during a hearing via SEGBİS (Audio and Video Information System) due to his worsening medical condition.

His treatment is hindered as he rejects being medically examined while wearing a handcuff. Ferhat Encü, imprisoned HDP MP for Şırnak, is kept in solitary confinement in Kandıra High Secure Prison in women’s ward. As he is the only male prisoner in this ward, he is psychologically being tortured by imposed solitary confinement. Some of the violations reported by Human Rights Association are listed below:

Bolu F Type Prison: Number of the books prisoners could have, has been reduced to 5. Usage of common space has been limited. Requests of changing cells are denied. Random arbitrary searches are carried out on daily basis. Some prisoners sleep on the floor due to increasing number of imprisoned people.
Manisa T Type Penal Institution: Reports indicate that prisoners have been exposed to ill-treatment, their letters, describing the violations, have been seized by prison administration, and that many prisoners suffered from heavy beatings.
Ödemiş T Type Penal Institution: Prisoners have been transferred against their will. During their admission to the institution, they have experienced strip search, torture and verbal insults. Some prisoners fainted during torture, some were dragged on the floor.

It is well-known that similar torture and ill-treatment cases are reported from hundreds of prisons. Turkish prisons have surpassed their capacity during AKP government. Due to political and social policies of AKP government, Turkish prisons contain %100 more than their capacity. 8 people share a cell made for 3. Cells made for 10 contain 30 prisoners. Heavy conditions, including epidemics, continue to damage health of prisoners.

When AKP initially started to rule the country in 2002, the number of the arrested and convicted was 59.187. In 2008, the number rose to 103.235. By November 1, 2016 the number of convicted was 129.291, while the number of arrested was 68.006, in total 197.297. Two thousand and 445 of these prisoners are under 18 years old. By January 2017, it is known that there are more than 200 thousand prisoners in Turkey’s penal institutions.

21.01.2017

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