Description of the situation:
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary arrest of Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi, Chairperson of the Mersin Branch of the Human Rights Association (İnsan Haklari Derneği – İHD).
According to the information received, in the early morning of September 25, 2012, police teams of Mersin Security Directorate carried out simultaneous raids in the province of Mersin, in the context of operations targeting the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) – an organisation said to be the “urban branch” of the armed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). These operations resulted in the arrest of at least 42 people, including Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi, together with journalists and members of the Kurdish political party Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). Mr. Ali Tanrıverdi’s house was raided while the office of İHD was simultaneously searched for four hours and electronic devices were seized, without any search warrant being produced and while the executives of the organisation were not present. Mr. Tanrıverdi was reportedly not allowed to call his lawyer during the raid on his house, and he and other detainees were informed that they would not be authorised to consult their lawyers during 24 hours.
The Observatory recalls that this new wave of arbitrary arrests and detentions is part of a wide-range anti-terrorism operation, initiated in 2009 and intended to dismantle the KCK as an alleged “terrorist network”. In fact, this campaign has targeted dozens of peaceful activists who have been involved in advocating for a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish issue and are not involved in any terrorist acts. These peaceful activists include human rights defenders in Turkey, particularly İHD members, members of trade unions, lawyers and journalists.
Consequently, the Observatory recalls that 12 other İHD members are currently in pre-trial detention pending the outcome of trials on spurious terrorism-related charges: Messrs. Muharrem Erbey and Arslan Özdemir, Diyarbakır Branch Executives; Messrs. Şerif Süren and Orhan Çiçek, Aydın Branch Executives; Mr. Reşit Teymur, Siirt Branch Executive; Mr. Abdulkadir Çurğatay and Ms. Veysi Parıltı, Mardin Branch Executives; Doğubeyazıt Representative Şaziye Önder; Mr. Mensur Işık Muş, former Branch Chairperson; Mr. Hikmet Kapancı, Malatya Executive; Mr. Bekir Gürbüz, Adıyaman Branch former Chairperson and Mr. Osman Işçi, former staff of the General Centre.
Accordingly, the Observatory calls upon the Turkish authorities to put an end to the continuing harassment of human rights defenders and urges the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all human rights defenders currently held in detention, since their detention is arbitrary as it only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities.
i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Ali Tanrıverdi, as well as that of all human rights defenders in Turkey;
ii. Release immediately and unconditionally Messrs. Ali Tanrıverdi, as well as all human rights defenders since their detention is arbitrary as it only aim at sanctioning their human rights activities;
iii. Put an end to all acts harassment, including at the judicial level, against Messrs. Ali Tanrıverdi, as well as against all human rights defenders in Turkey;
iv. Comply with the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, especially its Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, as well as Article 12.2, which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration” ;
v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Turkey.
· President of Turkey, Mr. Abdullah Gül, Cumhurbaskanligi 06100 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: +90 312 468 5026; Email: email@example.com
· Prime Minister, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Office of the Prime Minister Basbakanlik 06573 Ankara, Turkey, Fax: + 90 312 417 0476; firstname.lastname@example.org
· Deputy Prime Minister Responsible for Human Rights, Mr. Beşir Atalay, Email : email@example.com, Fax: 00 90 (312) 422 13 98
· Interior Minister, Mr. Idris Naim Şahin, 06644 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: + 90 312 418 17 95 / +90 312 418 7696,
· Justice Minister, Mr. Sadullah Ergin, Ministry of Justice/ Adalet Bakanligi, 06659 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: + 90 312 414 62 26
· Foreign Minister, Mr. Ahmed Davudoglu, Office of the Prime Minister, Basbakanlik, 06573 Ankara, Turkey; Fax: +90 312 287 88 11
· Ambassador, Mr. Oğuz Demiralp, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Ch. du Petit-Saconnex 28b - CP 271, CH-1211, Geneva 19, Switzerland, E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org, Fax: +41 22 734 08 59
· Ambassador, Mr. Izzet Selim Yenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Avenue des Arts 36-38, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50.
Please also write to the embassies of Turkey in your respective country.
Paris-Geneva, September 25, 2012
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29