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Urgent Interventions

Arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of Dr. Seyhmus Gökalp


TUR 010 / 1120 / OBS 135

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment


November 27, 2020

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, has received new information and requests yourintervention in the following situation in Turkey.


The Observatory has been informed by reliablesources about the arbitrary detention and judicial harassment against Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp, a physician, member of the HighDisciplinary Committee of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB)[1] and a volunteer ofthe Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT)[2].

Accordingto the information received, early in the morning of November 20, 2020, Dr. ŞeyhmusGökalp was arrested by the Turkish police and taken intopolice custody, within the scope of an investigation conducted by theProsecutor's Office in Diyarbakır.

OnNovember 23, 2020 the Diyarbakır Second CriminalCourt of Peace ordered the pre-trial detention of Dr. Gökalp in Diyarbakırprison. The justification of the Court’s decision was theexistence of a “strong suspicion of a crime”, in connection with Dr. Gökalp’salleged provision of healthcare for members of a terrorist organization in ahospital during a period he did not work in those premises, as well as with hisalleged participation in a meeting considered illegal by public authorities.

Nonetheless,no video footage or tape recording was presented by the Prosecutor to prove Dr.Gökalp’s presence at the meeting concerned. As of issuing this Urgent Appeal,no further information was available as the investigation was kept confidentialanda decision whether to press official charges or notwillbe made in the upcoming period.

TheObservatory firmly condemns the arbitrary detention and judicialharassment of Dr. Gökalp and recalls that thisis not the first time that TTB members and Dr. Gökalp are being targeted because of their peaceful and legitimate humanrights activities[3].

The Observatory urges the Turkish authorities to immediately andunconditionally release Dr. ŞeyhmusGökalp, as well as to putan end to all forms of harassment, including at thejudicial level, against him and all humanrights defenders in Turkey.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkeyasking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical integrity and psychologicalwell-being of Dr. Şeyhmus Gökalp and of all human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Immediately andunconditionally release Dr. ŞeyhmusGökalp and all other human rights defenders detained in Turkey, as theirdetention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishing them for theirhuman rights activities;

iii. Put anend to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Dr. ŞeyhmusGökalp and all human rights defenders in Turkey, and ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out theiractivities without hindrance and fear of reprisals;

iv.Refrain from the practice of abusing anti-terrorism legislation for silencingdissent and crackdown on human rights activities;

v. Comply with all theprovisions of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adoptedby the UN General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular its Articles 1and 12.2;

vi.Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedomsin accordance with international human rights standards and internationalinstruments ratified by Turkey.


· President of the Republic ofTurkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Fax: +90 (312) 525 58 31. Email:

· Minister of Justice, Mr. AbdülhamitGül. Email: Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70

· Minister of Interior, Mr. SüleymanSoylu. Email:;

· Ambassador Mehmet Kemal Bozay,Diplomatic Mission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50. Email:;

· Ambassador Mr. Sadık Arslan,Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.Email:

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


Geneva-Paris, November 27, 2020

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

The Observatory for the Protectionof Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programmeis to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against humanrights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, the European Union Human RightsDefenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

To contact the Observatory, callthe emergency line:

· E-mail:

· Tel OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39

· Tel FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18

[1] Establishedin 1953, the Turkish Medical Association (TTB) is a chamber of medical doctorsin Turkey. The TTB aspires to defend the rights of doctors, represent theprofession of medical doctors and protect the ethic codes, contribute tomedical education, improve and sensitise about public health in Turkey. The TTBcounts around 85.000 members which represents almost 60% of Turkey’s doctorsand it is affiliated to the World Medical Association.

[2] Established in 1990, theHRFT is a non governmental and non-profit organisation providing treatment andrehabilitation services for torture survivors and documenting human rightsviolations in Turkey.

[3] See Observatory Urgent Appeal TUR 001 / 0118 / OBS 014, publishedon January 31, 2018.

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