President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 26 that being a rich socialist shouldn't be enough to save prominent human rights activist Osman Kavala, as he commented on the Gezi Park trial. "Gezi is a betrayal against this country," Erdoğan said, while claiming that Kavala has pictures with "terrorist organizations." A day earlier, European Parliament called on Turkey to release Kavala and former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
A report prepared by the Forensic Medicine Institute after claims of police torture in the southeastern province of Urfa has said that there are scratches on the people who said that they were tortured by police, but that the wounds "are not deadly." Urfa Bar Association's Human Rights Center head Gökhan Dayık said that torture has been a systematic practice in Urfa since 2015, adding that they witnessed it countless times.
Prosecutor seeks sentence for Kurdish women over sit-in they held in solidarity for jailed relatives
A Turkish court held its first hearing on Feb. 25 of a case against four Kurdish women who attempted to hold a sit-in front of the Gebze Prison in April 2019 to raise awareness about their jailed family members' hunger strikes. The hunger strike movement undertaken by several prisoners last year demanded the end of isolation against jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.
Turkey's top court ruled that the rights of a participant in Turkey’s 2013 Gezi Park protests had been violated. The Constitutional Court said the right to life as well as right to assembly and demonstration of a lawyer had been violated after she was beaten by the police with batons in Ankara's Kızılay neighborhood. The applicant will be paid 37,500 liras ($6,120) in spiritual damages.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee has asked Turkey to submit its defense following an application by a man sacked from his post with a state of emergency decree. "The decision that will be adopted is significant in terms of showing the domestic legal system's contradiction with the norms of international law," the applicant's lawyer told Duvar.
An Istanbul court has released its reasoned decision to acquit nine people in the Gezi Park trial, including Osman Kavala. The court said no credible evidence had been provided to give substance to claims against Kavala. The philanthropist's wiretapped telephone conversations were made “unlawfully,” and therefore could not constitute as “evidence,” it also said.
Two young Kurdish men living in Fatih were beaten by the police in their neighborhood. After their mother and uncle came to the hospital to visit them, they were also beaten by the police. The hospital's security camera recording of the incident is said to be lost.
According to a recent research conducted in Turkey's eight eastern and southeastern provinces, Kurdish parents mostly speak in Turkish with their children. Majority of these parents want Kurdish to be included as a language of instruction in public schools and 72 percent of them want the government to recognize Kurdish as an official language besides Turkish.
Nine officials of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) were released on probation on Feb. 21 in the first hearing of the case in which they were charged with "promoting a terrorist organization." The HDP officials were also accused of "organizing and participating in an illegal meetings and protests." Historian and the co-chair of the party's Şişli branch in central Istanbul, Mutlu Öztürk was among those released.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Turkey to “promptly reverse” its decision to keep Osman Kavala in jail, saying extending his arrest is a "travesty." The re-arrest of Kavala "shows how Turkey’s criminal justice system is politically manipulated, with detention and prosecutions pursued at the political whim of the president,” said HRW chief Kenneth Roth.
Osman Kavala had to abandon the snails he was looking after in Silivri Prison after a court ordered his rearrest hours after another court ruled to acquit him. Following his acquittal, Kavala wanted to take the snails he looked after in Silivri Prison home, but had to give them to his lawyer when a detention warrant was issued.
Jailed mafia leader Kürşat Yılmaz said that he was shown a picture of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink in the past in order for him to murder Dink. "İsmail Issız, Ömer Küçükyurt and Hüseyin Albay came to me for the murder. I don't remember who but one of them showed me a picture of Dink and said, 'Murder him too. We will protect you,'" he said.
Muslim rights leader Malcolm X remains a role model for many 55 years after his death, his daughter Ilyasah Shabazz said at an event in the Aegean province of İzmir that was organized by the Office of the Presidency. Shabazz also said Malcolm X was arguably the most cherished Muslim-American in pop culture,.
A seminar held by İzmir Police for public servants listed "heightened sensitivity towards environmental issues, animal rights and human rights violations" as the usual qualities exhibited by people with terrorist tendencies. Other qualities included a lack of religious faith and nationalist feelings, being perceptive and spending time on social media.
World-renowned economist Daron Acemoğlu has shared a message of support and solidarity for his high school friend Mutlu Öztürk, the HDP's Şişli district branch co-chair. Along with other eight party officials, Öztürk has been held in pre-trial detention at Silivri Prison since Oct. 14, 2019.