Pınar Selek sentenced to life

Roj Women’s Association joins PEN International in condemning the life sentence served in late January against writer, sociologist and feminist Pınar Selek.

Source: PEN

See Roj Women’s Assembly statement about this case (in Turkish) below.

Selek is accused of involvement in an explosion over 14 years ago, although she has been acquitted three times previously. The decision was also made despite the conclusions of numerous experts that the 1998 explosion was a tragic accident caused by a leaking gas canister. Detained for two and a half years before being freed pending trial, Selek is now living abroad and the hearing was in absentia. An arrest warrant has been issued against her.

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New Report: Women Human Rights Defenders in Kurdish Regions of Turkey

New report sheds light on the multiple attacks women human rights defenders suffer at the hands of Turkish state actors in Kurdish regions of Turkey.

“You are a woman and we can shame you”

“Guys, open your eyes, these women are not here to protest against rape, they are asking for it”

These threats were made by police officers in the cities of Siirt and Mardin, correspondingly, to women who were at that moment engaging in the defense of women, ethnic and minority rights in 2011.

Roj Women’s Association has long campaigned to improve the lives of women in Kurdish regions and communities. Our aim is to further their rights and to expand the opportunities available to them by drawing attention to the factors that shape their struggle and by advocating for the necessary changes to overcome them. One of our strategies is to support the work of women who engage in peaceful defense of rights and political activism and we are increasingly concerned about the treatment these women receive at the hands of the Turkish State, particularly at the hands of policemen, village guards, soldiers and other security forces members.

Years ago campaigning to support women human rights defenders focused on sexual and physical attacks experienced by women activists at the hands of Turkish security forces; however, the last report was produced in 2003. Aware of the lack of up to date information in this regard a research delegation organized by Roj Women set off in 2011 to assess progress and to produce an updated analysis of the risks and challenges that women human rights defenders endure in Kurdish regions of Turkey.

The resulting report, ‘A woman’s struggle: Using gender lenses to understand the plight of women human rights defenders in Kurdish regions of Turkey, is based on the testimonies of 30 women from six cities across South East Turkey:  Diyarbakir, Van, Hakkari, Batman, Siirt and Mardin. The researchers observed a shift towards psychological attacks by security forces against women human rights defenders but not a reduction in their quantity and sexualized nature. The risks are indeed gendered and capitalize on prevalent honor-based and patriarchal social norms.

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Landmark Ruling on “Conscientious Objection”

For the first time, the European Court of Human Rights sentenced Turkey for a breach of Article 9 on freedom of thought, conscience and religion. Applicant Erçep’s lawyer Alsancak said the verdict manifested the right to conscientious objection in Turkey.


On Tuesday (22 November), Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the conditions of shortened military service through payment. Males 30 years of age or older will soon be entitled to apply for paid military service. They will have to pay TL 30,000 (€13,000) and will not receive basic military training. Continue reading

Remembering the 12 September 1980 military coup

1 million 683 thousand people investigated, 517 death penalty executed, 98,400 people sentenced for being  member of an illegal organization, 30,000 people were forced to go into exile, 171 people died as a result of torture, 299 people died in prison, 400 journalists were sentenced to a total of four thousand years in prison.

Source: ANF

On 12 September 1980, a National Security Council which brings together the chief of General Staff, general Kenan  Evren , and chiefs of staff of army and security forces took power by proclaiming a state of siege throughout the country. Politicians, from Ecevit to Demirel, Erbakan, Turkes are arrested, the National Assembly is dissolved and the activities of associations and trade unions are banned. The junta extends to a retired admiral, who became Prime Minister, Bulent Ulusu. Continue reading

Prisoners burnt alive until turned to charcoal

A soldier who was on duty at the Bayrampaşa prison during the “Return to Life” operation confessed  11 years later, “The detainees wanted to get out of the burning cells and surrender but the doors were not opened, the fire brigade did not intervene”.

Source: BIA

For the first time, Special Gendarmerie Sergeant Altan Sabsız talked about what happened during the “Return to Life” operation in the Bayrampaşa Prison in Istanbul on 19 January 2000.

The “Return to Life” operation was carried out eleven years ago in several prisons in order to solve the so-called “prison problem” in Turkey and end the death fast of prisoners who protested against their transfer to F type prisons with smaller cells. The operation started in the early morning on 19 December 2000 in 20 prisons simultaneously and involved thousands of convicts and ten thousands of security personnel. 32 people died in the operation, among them two soldiers. Continue reading

Human Rights violations and the Kurdish question in Iran

Since 2010 Iranian regime has hanged eight Kurdish human rights and political activists who were members of the Free Life party of Kurdistan, including one woman: Shireen Alam Hoye.

Source: ANF

On 30th of June a conference was held in Rome, at the Italian parliament, with regards to democracy, human rights violations and the Kurdish question in Iran.

In the conference some Italian  Senators, Deputy and political activists whom were present expressed their grave concerns over the violations of human rights in Iran, particularly in Kurdish regions of the country.

The Islamic regime systematically executes Kurdish political and Human Rights activists with the aim of spreading fear and of terrorizing the society in order to oblige them to accept its Islamic ideological policies. Kurds, Arab and Baloch national minorities also were present at the conference and presented valuable information about the Islamic regime’s policies against the national, religious and linguistic minorities in Iran. Continue reading

Why the journalist Suzan Zengin is still in prison

Undoubtedly one of the most important issues in international human rights is the issue of unjust imprisonment and political prisoners.

Source: ANF

In many countries in the world, people are being tried simply because of their thinking, acting, struggling or writing. Many are tortured or undergo bad treatment and violence. Police brutality during raids and arrests are known. Continue reading

Women staged protest against detentions

BDP Batman Democratic Platform and Democratic Free Women’s Movement (DÖKH) hung banners in many points of the city to protest against the detention of 28 people including BDP Headquarters administrators and civil society organizations.

Including BDP Headquarters administrators, Batman provincial and district chairs and CSO members, 25 people were detained at house-raids carried by hundreds of police officers two days ago in Batman.

The number of detentions rose to 28 with other three detainees Nesrin Dag from Diyarbakır, Nevin Gökce from Mus and Berivan Etler from Igdır, who were detained and soon after brought to Batman. DÖKH, BDP and Batman Democratic Platform carried their reaction against the detention rush to the posters they hung on billboards. The city was covered with banners written “Democratic politics can not be prevented”, “Organized women’s power can not be prevented through detentions and arrests”, “Stop military and political operations and release all political prisoners”. Continue reading

Devlet tecavuzu bir savas politikasi olarak mi uyguluyor?

14 yıllık bilançoya göre taciz ve tecavüz olaylarında polis ve askerler rekoru elde tutuyor. 331 mağdur kadından 250’sinin Kürt olması dikkat çekerken, tek bir polis ve askerin bile mahkum olmaması ise, akıllara devletin tecavüzü bir savaş politikası olarak uyguladığını getiriyor.


Gözaltında Cinsel Taciz ve Tecavüze Karşı Hukuki Yardım Bürosu’nun 14 yılı kapsayan raporuna göre, en fazla polis, asker, özel tim ve infaz koruma memuru taciz ile tecavüz suçları işledi. Ancak tek bir polis ve asker bu suçtan mahkum olmadı. 331 mağdur kadından 250’sinin Kürt olması dikkat çekerken, büronun kurucusu avukat Eren Keskin’e göre bu rakam çok daha yüksek. Kürdistan’da suç işleyen askerleri şikayet etmenin zor olduğunu belirten Keskin’e göre, şiddet suç duyurularından sonra da sürüyor. Continue reading

Turkey Convicted of Restricting Defence in Kurdish

The ECHR saw a violation of the right to a fair trial in the case of Sultan Şaman who was not allowed to see a lawyer or a translator when she was in police custody. Şaman was convicted of “membership in the PKK” by a domestic court. Turkey has to pay € 1,800 in compensation.

Source: BIA

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided for a violation of the right to a fair trial in the case of Sultan Şaman because she was not allowed to speak Kurdish in the course of her interrogation. A Turkish court sentenced Şaman to imprisonment of six years and three months on charges of membership in the outlawed armed Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Continue reading