Turkey: Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Dr. İştar Gözaydın

Urgent Appeal


TUR 009 / 1216 / OBS 111
Arbitrary detention /
Denial of access to lawyers /
Judicial harassment
December 30, 2016

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Turkey .

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Dr. İştar Gözaydın, professor of law and politics and founder of the human rights NGO the Helsinki Citizens Assembly. She was also the Head of Department of Sociology at Gediz University, Izmir Province, until she was relieved of her functions on July 21, 2016, when the University was closed down under the State of Emergency [1].

According to the information received, on December 28, 2016, Dr. İştar Gözaydın was formally arrested on suspicion of “being a member of an armed terror organisation” on the basis of alleged testimonies from a secret witness and an intelligence report. Dr. İştar Gözaydın had been taken into custody from her house on December 20, 2016 at 6 am by the police of Financial and Organised Crimes Department of the Directorate General of Security with an arrest warrant issued by İzmir Prosecutor, and was brought on the same day to İstanbul by plane. She was detained at the remand centre of the police until December 28, when she was returned to Izmir by plane.

She has since been detained at Şakran prison, İzmir Province. Her arbitrary detention and judicial harassment are part of the FETÖ/PDY (Fethullahist Terror Organisation/ Parallel State Structure) Investigation launched in 2015 by İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office and Organised Crime Bureau Prosecutor’s Office into Gediz University, targeting several academics, following July’s failed coup. The investigation is based on allegations that these academics are either members, or connected to terrorist organisations.

Furthermore, Dr. İştar Gözaydın was denied proper access to her lawyer during the first days of her detention. Indeed, although her lawyer was able to meet her on the second day of her detention, he was not able to access the investigation file, as it was restricted. In addition, the police took her statement only on the fifth day of her detention. Furthermore, to date her husband has been unable to visit her while in detention.

The Observatory strongly condemns the arrest, detention and judicial harassment of Dr. İştar Gözaydın and urges the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release her as her detention appears to be a form of retaliation for her human rights activities. Dr. Gözaydın is particularly known for her positions against capital punishment and mob violence in Turkey.

Until she is released, the Observatory calls upon the Turkish authorities to ensure her physical and psychological integrity as well as that any proceedings against her are carried out in full compliance with her right to a fair trial, as protected under international law, which includes access to her lawyer.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkey asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Dr. İştar Gözaydın, as well as that of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Dr. İştar Gözaydın as her detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at sanctioning her human rights activities;

iii. Guarantee her right to a fair trial, as protected under international law, including access to her lawyer;

iv. Put an end to all forms of harassment - including at the judicial level - against Dr. İştar Gözaydın and all human rights defenders in the country so that they are able to carry out their work without hindrance;

v. Comply with all the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular with its Articles 1, 5(b), and 12.2;

vi. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and other international human rights instruments signed or ratified by the Turkey.


• President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Fax: (+90 312) 525 58 31, E-mail: contact@tccb.gov.tr
• Prime Minister of Turkey, Mr. Binali Yıldırım, Fax: +90 (312) 403 62 82
• Minister of Justice, Mr. Bekir Bozdağ, Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70; E-mail: info@adalet.gov.tr
• Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu, Fax: +90 (312) 425 61 30; Email: ozelkalem@icisleri.gov.tr
• Ambassador Izzet Selim Yenel, Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium; Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50
• Ambassador Mehmet Ferden Çarikçi, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: +41 22 734 08 59; Email: mission.turkey@ties.itu.int

Please also write to the diplomatic missions or embassies of Turkey in your respective country.

Paris-Geneva, December 30, 2016

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by FIDH and OMCT. The objective of this programme is to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
• E-mail: Appeals[at]fidh-omct.org
• Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
• Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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