Record time for genocidal operations in Turkey during 2016

In this past year in Turkey, thousands of people were massacred for a one-man regime, cities were torn down, tens of thousands of people have been arrested for having different opinions than the government.

The AKP government took back power in the country after the November 2015 elections, and in the year since, turned Turkey as a whole into a prison with the judiciary placed entirely under their control. Especially after July 15, the courts are no longer able to say anything to contradict the government, and are filled with their followers. In cases where the prosecutors and judges only the police records as evidence, tens of thousands of people have been arrested. Social media posts, family chats, political activities of MPs, municipal works of mayors, articles of columnists, stories of reporters, teachers talking to their students, filmmakers’ films, academics stating their opinions – all are sufficient evidence for arrest. Thousands of people have been detained and arrested, just for not agreeing with the government. Arrestees’ defenses are disregarded, and the courts base their rulings on government policies instead of the law. Right now, there are around 200 thousand arrestees in Turkey’s hundreds of prisons. The prisons are direly overcrowded and torture, arbitrary treatment, bans and pressure are commonplace.


According to the Article 6, section D of the State of Emergency Statutory Decree No.667 published in the Official Gazette on July 23, the meetings between arrested persons and their lawyers can be recorded, authorities can be present during these meetings, documents between the lawyer and the client can be seized, and the meetings between the lawyer and the client can be restricted to certain hours or days. The regulation even stated that a lawyer can be banned from meeting with a client and/or representing them. The same Statutory Decree includes that the prisoners can only have visitors from their immediate family, they can’t meet with the 3 visitors they submit to the prison administration, and their right to phone calls can be limited to once every 15 days, with only the immediate family, and not over 10 minutes. The prison administrations arbitrarily hand out solitary confinement penalties to the arrestees and convicts, and don’t allow newspapers and books inside.


The İmralı High Security Type F Closed Prison is a world of its own among all the prisons in Turkey, with its special rules in place. Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan is held in İmralı prison and the isolation imposed upon him continues. Öcalan hasn’t been allowed to meet wit his lawyers since July 27, 2011 and was placed under strict isolation after his meeting with the visiting HDP committee on April 5, 2015. In the time since, Öcalan only met with his brother Mehmet Öcalan on September 11, after 50 people in Amed alone went on a indefinite hunger strike demanding to hear from him. In this meeting, Öcalan said his health was as usual, and sent important messages for the solution to the Kurdish issue. CPT visited the İmralı prison on May 2 to see Öcalan’s conditions after 17 years in solitary on the island. They inspected the conditions for Öcalan and 3 other convicts. CPT did announce that they visited the prison to see for themselves whether the suggestions they made in 2013 had been implemented by the Turkish authorities, but they didn’t issue any declarations or statements after their visit.


The area hit hardest by the demobilization plan the AKP government implemented in line with the Collapse Plan has without a doubt been the political area. HDP and DBP co-chairs, MPs, co-mayors, district and province branch co-chairs and administrators have been arrested all around the country. The government is trying everything to destroy HDP after their victory in the June 7 elections. There were simultaneous operations on the night of November 4 against HDP. Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, Group Deputy Chairperson İdris Baluken, HDP Şırnak MPs Leyla Birlik and Ferhat Encü, HDP Amed MP Nursel Aydoğan, HDP Mardin MP Gülser Yıldırım, Hakkari MPs Selma Irmak, Abdullah Zeydan and Nihat Akdoğan were arrested and imprisoned. Group Deputy Chairperson Çağlar Demirel and Siirt MP Besime Konca arrested on December 13, and with that a total of 12 MPs from HDP, with some six million votes, have been imprisoned. Several HDP MPs have arrest warrants issued for them due to inquiries.


The Democratic Regions Party (DBP) is the most organized party in Kurdistan and was targeted by the government. In the last year, 7250 Kurdish politicians have been taken into custody. DBP Co-chairs Sebahat Tuncel and Kamuran Yüksek, and at least 3077 people have been arrested and imprisoned. Yüksel was later released, but the municipalities have been torn from the people with the trustee policy implemented on September 11. Up to date, trustees have been appointed to 50 municipalities, including 6 provincial and 3 metropolitan municipalities. 70 co-mayors are arrested. In many municipalities, there are de facto trustees in place.


Freedom of press and freedom of expression have been trampled in Turkey, the number 1 country for imprisoned journalists in the world. Many TV networks, newspapers, radio stations and publishers have been shut down with the Statutory Decrees. The Free Journalists Platform say at least 146 journalists are in prisons, while the CPJ say the number is 81 at least. Among the arrested journalists are free press workers, 10 journalists and administrators of Cumhuriyet newspaper, and important writers like Aslı Erdoğan, Necmiye Alpay, Ahmet Altan, Kadri Gürsel and Mehmet Altan. The Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) 2016 report states that Turkey is “the worst among countries that imprison journalists”. The report includes important comments on the freedom of press in Turkey, and announces that the countries with a record number of journalists in prison are Turkey, China and Eritrea.

Source :

C. Kistler

Also editor of Nouvelle Turquie.