Turkish prosecutors have said they have not found any reason to start an investigation into Diyanet head Ali Erbaş over his comment that "homosexuality causes disease." The prosecutors' decision came as Amnesty International called on the Turkish gov't to take urgent action to counter the increasing number of discriminatory statements and policies by state officials against LGBTI people.
The German government's Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Assistance at the Federal Foreign Office has called on Turkey to release Osman Kavala after the ECHR rejected a Turkish appeal of a Dec. 10 ruling that found the influential businessman's imprisonment to be in violation of his rights. “I therefore call on the Turkish Government to meet the obligations it has entered into under the European Convention on Human Rights,” Bärbel Kofler said on May 12.
Turkey on May 13 marked the sixth-year anniversary of the Soma coal mining disaster – the worst ever in the country's history. Family members have said that their pain is still fresh and slammed a recently passed early parole law which is expected to free mining executives who were sentenced in 2018 for their role in the coal mine disaster.
A court in the eastern province of Kars has ruled for the release of Kurdish politician, writer and lawyer Mahmut Alınak during the first hearing of the case that he was arrested. "My father was released. Hope the same happens to all political prisoners," Bişar Abdi Alınak, his son, said in a tweet on May 13.
A Turkish judge who is under fire for supporting İbrahim Gökçek, who who died on May 7 at a hospital two days after ending his death fast that lasted for 323 days, said that there is nothing more natural than defending the right to life. "I advocate the right to life for everyone. This is a constitutional right and must be defended by everyone," Judge Ayşe Sarısu Pehlivan said.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has rejected Turkey's appeal against a ruling which urged Osman Kavala's immediate release. As the ECHR's May 12-dated ruling pertains to Kavala's imprisonment stemming from the Gezi Park trial and the philanthropist is currently behind bars on new charges of "espionage," he will not be released. CHP MP Sezgin Tanrıkulu said since authorities have refashioned their old investigation into a brand new charge, Kavala needs to be freed immediately.
A Turkey-based NGO that works with seasonal farmers criticized a lack of precautionary measures in fields as harvest season starts in the country. Workers have reportedly complained about a lack of personal protective equipment, as well as crowded transportation to fields despite the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other passengers.
The administration of Istanbul's Silivri Prison has claimed that letters sent to inmates led to coronavirus (COVID-19) infections in the prison in a bid to defend itself in the face of criticisms. "It's as if they're mocking us. The only contact these people have with the outside world is the guards. They want to blame prisoners' families by linking the cause of the virus to letters," a lawyer told Duvar, adding that 20 inmates infected with coronavirus are being kept in the same cell.
A newly released report has said that Turkish jails are reporting an accelerating spread of the novel coronavirus, urging an inclusive amnesty scheme to avoid a disaster. The measures taken at the prisons fall short of preventing the disease's progression, the report said.
Turkey-backed Syrian rebels deployed child soldiers to Libya as part of Ankara's campaign to aid the Tripoli-based government in the war-ravaged country, a report prepared by the Syrians for Truth and Justice said on May 11, adding that he recruitment of child soldiers is ongoing.
A police officer has fired his gun into the air to disperse children playing on the street, before dragging a child with mental disabilities to an armored police vehicle to beat him in the Nusaybin district of the southeastern province of Mardin. The incident prompted outrage on social media, with provincial police forces trying to defend itself by saying that the children were throwing rocks at a group of officers.
A far-right group has attempted to attack the grave of Grup Yorum member İbrahim Gökçek in the Central Anatolian province of Kayseri, saying that they will burn the body as soon as police leaves the area. "We don't want a terrorist's grave. Police will wait for a couple of days and then will leave. When they're gone, we will take the body out of the grave and burn it," the group said late on May 10.
Police have fired tear gas on mourners during the funeral ceremony of musician İbrahim Gökçek, a member of Grup Yorum who died on May 7 at a hospital two days after ending his death fast that lasted for 323 days, while also taking his body away from the cemevi. Grup Yorum later said that his family took the body back and was heading to Kayseri for the burial under police escort.
Friends of renowned businessman, philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala has penned a letter to him. "We wanted to write to you from wherever we all are, on the street under the magical light of the full moon, near the sea, on the seaside, on the mountains on this May night, as a response to your April 19 letter. 'Despite all the pains, injustices and everything, thank you life, thank you Osman!'" they said.
İbrahim Gökçek, a member of Grup Yorum who ended his 323-day-long death fast two days ago, died at a hospital on May 7. Gökçek had been on a death fast with a number of demands, including the ban on their concerts to be lifted, the removal of the group's members' names from terror lists and the raids of İdil Culture Center, where the group carries out its works, to be stopped.