A government-appointed trustee in the southeastern province of Batman has removed Kurdish from the municipality's website. The municipality website now serves only in Turkish. Meanwhile, ousted co-mayor Mehmet Demir said that the trustee resumed construction in buildings that were ruled to be demolished due to being unsafe.
Truck driver Malik Yılmaz, who criticized the government's calls for staying home amid the coronavirus outbreak due to his obligation to work, was detained and released on March 29. "You're saying, 'Stay home Turkey.' How can I? I'm not rich. I'm a worker. I'm a truck driver. I can't earn my bread if I don't work. I can't pay my bills and rent. Not being able to pay these is worse than dying," he said in a video.
Twenty two journalists were sent to jail, nine others were detained, while 20 journalists appeared before the courts in Turkey in March, according to a report prepared by CHP MP Utku Çakırözer. The deputy demanded that imprisoned politicians, prisoners and human rights activists are not excluded from the government's plan to release thousands of prisoners.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has ruled for a right violation in the case into a protester hit by a gas canister fired by police during Gezi Park protests of 2013, as it also fined the state to pay 10,000 Turkish Liras to the complainant as compensation. It also questioned whether police officers who used tear gas received the necessary training, concluding that the complainant was wounded as a result of uncontrolled use of tear gas.
Turkish women organizations serving domestic violence victims have said that their helplines have had more calls since people began staying at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus. They have called on the government officials to remind the public that domestic violence victims will be protected no matter what the current agenda of the country is.
Jailed HDP former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş's wife Başak Demirtaş has cited concerns about jail conditions that could augment the spread of the coronavirus and called on authorities to release prisoners. Demirtaş's remarks came amid reports that the gov't will expedite a legal amendment to reduce the time served by inmates to facilitate their early release. However, the legal amendment will exclude political prisoners.
A Turkish court has ordered the release of rights activist Osman Kavala in an investigation linked to a 2016 failed coup attempt; however, Kavala will continue to remain behind bars as he also faces espionage charges.
Turkey's Justice Ministry has assigned inspectors to investigate the reported physical abuse that was inflicted upon OdaTV's editor-in-chief Barış Pehlivan at prison. The move came after Pehlivan filed a criminal complaint against a prison guard who he said battered him upon his arrival at the Silivri Prison on March 6.
Refugees in Istanbul have called on the authorities to act to protect migrants and refugees from coronavirus, saying that they were left to die amid the increasing number of cases. Speaking to Mesopotamia Agency, the refugees said that they took shelter in mosques since congregational prayers were suspended on March 16 to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
There are still more than 5,000 migrants waiting at Turkey’s border with Greece to cross over into Europe. Ankara maintains that some 145,000 migrants have crossed over to Europe from Turkey, a number that Greece vehemently refutes.
Jailed journalist Nedim Türfent has said that there are no precautions against coronavirus in prisons. "The prison canteen sells a mask for 17 Turkish Liras, which is very expensive," Türfent told his family in a phone call on March 15, Mesopotamia Agency reported. "No special precautions were taken for the inmates who are in high risk groups and who have chronic illnesses. Tens of thousands of inmates are sleeping on the floor in prisons," he added.
Ninety-six people were killed in Turkey during the month of February, according to a human rights report prepared by main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu. The report also stated that 115 people were tortured or improperly treated while in prison, and 227 people were taken into custody at 64 events, including press conferences, meetings, flyer distributions, and demonstrations.
Renowned philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala criticized the successive court rulings to keep him in jail, saying that they are maneuvers to keep him in prison. "I get acquitted and another court case is brought up urgently to keep me in prison. When it drops, a third case is brought up! I'm ashamed on their behalf over what has been happening," Kavala told CHP deputy Utku Çakırözer.
Women and children migrants at Turkey's border with Greece protested the European Union's refusal to allow them entry in front of the Kastanies Border Gate on March 12. The group chanted slogans such as "Greece, open the gate" and "Help us" as they marched across the encampment where they have been waiting to leave Turkey since Feb. 28.
In a morning raid on March 12, Turkish police detained nine lawyers in the southeastern provinces of Diyarbakır and Şanlıurfa. The Diyarbakır and Şanlıurfa bar associations have slammed the authorities' move saying since there was a "confidentiality" order on the investigation, they could not access information regarding the accusations against the lawyers.