On 2 July 2017, participants from various rights’ organizations came together at a hotel at Büyükada in order to exchange knowledge and experiences within the scope of a work meeting aiming to render rights’ defence activities more reliable, healthier, more secure and effective.
In 12 years of experience since its foundation in 2005, the Human Rights Joint Platform (IHOP) has organized numerous consultation, training and dialogue meetings with public institutions and rights-based civil society organizations, and has gained a respectable place with the contribution it made to the protection and promotion of fundamental human rights and freedoms in Turkey with its founding and member organizations.
On 5 July 2017, human rights defenders on Istanbul's Büyükada Island were unfairly arrested during a workshop on secure internet use and coping with stress. While lawyers could not get access to any evidence, documents and information on the file due to a restriction order on the investigation since the arrest of the rights defenders including our client; dailies Akşam, Güneş, A Haber, Star and some other media outlets continue to publish and broadcast false news and reports, which they obtained through means unknown to us, as well as unfounded claims intended for misleading the public opinion, not worth being called "news", clearly and deliberately stripped of facts, context and essence. These publications and broadcasts have turned into smear campaigns targeting the clients with unfounded claims.
6 of the 10 human rights defenders who had gathered on Büyükada island for a regular working meeting and arrested on a tip-off in the morning of 5 July 2017 (Veli Acu, Günal Kurşun, İdil Eser, Özlem Dalkıran, Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner) were placed under detention on remand, while 4 of them (Nalan Erkem, İlknur Üstün, Nejat Taştan and Şeyhmus Özbekli) were released subject to judicial control.
10 human rights defenders, gathered on İstanbul's Büyükada island for a regular workshop and arrested in the morning of July 5, 2017 by security forces acting on a tip-off and raiding the hotel where the event was held, were brought before the On-Duty Criminal Court of Peace this morning (18 July). The Court decided to place under detention on remand the following persons: Veli Acu and Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Agenda Association, İdil Eser, Director of Amnesty International Turkey, Özlem Dalkıran from Citizens' Assembly as well as Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner, facilitators of the working meeting. Nalan Erkem, İlknur Üstün, Nejat Taştan and Şeyhmus Özbekli were released subject to judicial control.
Early this morning, eight human rights defenders, including the director of Amnesty International Turkey, and two trainers arrested on 5 July in Istanbul during a Hivos-funded online security and information management training, were officially charged with assisting a terrorist organisation by the Turkish authorities. The charge states, without grounds, that they have provided assistance to a terrorist organisation. While four of the ten human rights defenders were released on bail, the Turkish authorities ordered pre-trial detention for the two trainers along with four Turkish human rights defenders.
On July 5th, we found out that all the participants of digital security training in Turkey, organized by Hivos, were taken into custody, with a prohibition of visit. Those arrested include a trainer from Germany and another from Sweden, Director of the Amnesty International Turkey and individual activists from various human rights organizations.
Rights Initiative, Human Rights Agenda Association, Women’s Coalition, Amnesty International Turkey, Citizens Assembly
Representatives from various human rights organizations gathered for a five-day workshop on the island of Buyukada, Istanbul, on Sunday 2nd July 2017. Their aim was to exchange knowledge and experience about defending human rights under difficult circumstances to make it more reliable, sound and effective. On Wednesday 5 July around 10 a.m. police raided the workshop allegedly acting on a tip-off and detained the human rights defenders participating. They are: Veli Acu, Özlem Dalkıran, Nalan Erkem, İdil Eser, Ali Gharavi, Günal Kurşun, Şeyhmus Özbekli, Peter Steudtner, Nejat Taştan and İlknur Üstün.
After the detention on 5 July of eight human rights defenders and two facilitators, namely: İdil Eser (Director of the Amnesty International Turkey), İlknur Üstün (Women's Coalition), Nalan Erkem (Citizens' Assembly), Özlem Dalkıran (Citizens' Assembly), Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), Nejat Taştan (Association for Monitoring Equal Rights), Seyhmus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), Ali Gharavi (workshop facilitator), Peter Steudtner (workshop facilitator), some media outlets reported from 5 to 7 July 2017 that a "secret" meeting was being held in Büyükada. Such news are unfounded and do not reflect the reality at all.
Human Rights Defenders Nalan Erkem, İlknur Üstün, İdil Eser, Özlem Dalkıran, Günal Kurşun, Veli Acu, Şeyhmuz Özbekli, Nejat Taştan, Ali Gharavi and Peter Steudtner should be released immediately!
Human Rights Joint Platform, jointly established by Human Rights Association, Human Rights Agenda Association, Amnesty International Turkey and Citizens' Assembly, held an exchange meeting on April 7-9, 2017 during which they took a joint decision to conduct a series of training seminars for human rights defenders;
Yavas-Gamats Summer School which brings together teachers from Turkey and Armenia took place in Yerevan this year. The participants of the school, Melisa Aslanyan and Elizabeth Kabe wrote what happened in the entire week and the impressions of the participans for Agos.