Urgent Interventions

Ongoing arbitrary detention and judicial harassment of 17 women's rights defenders


TUR 009 / 0720 / OBS 085

Arbitrary detention /

Judicial harassment


July 24, 2020

The Observatory for the Protection ofHuman Rights Defenders, a partnership of FIDH and the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT), requests your intervention in the following situationin Turkey.

Description ofthe situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliablesources about the ongoing arbitrary detention of women’s rights defenders Mses.Elif Haran, co-Chair of the Med Federation of Associations for Legal Aidand Solidarity with Families of Arrestees and Convicts (MED TUHAD-FED), HasretAlp, Bahar Akyapı and Figen Ekti, women’s rights activists from theFree Women’s Movement (TJA), as well as the ongoing judicial harassment against women’s rights defenders Mses. AyşeGüney, spokesperson of the Mesopotamia Women Journalists' Platform andeditor of Jinnews, Ayşe Gökkan, spokesperson of TJA, Zekiye Güler,Emine Kaya, Selma Metin, Ruken Şehir, Şükran Tamir, Gülseren Akkum, TekoşinTekin, and Hatice Şen, women’s rights activists from TJA, RozerinÇatak, Diyarbakır Branch Executive of the Health and Social ServiceLaborers' Union (SES), Dilan Yakut and Güneş Özel, formerexecutives of Office Workers’ Union (BES).

According to the information received, onJuly 14, 2020, police officers raided the houses of 23 women in Diyarbakır,including the above stated 17 women’s rights defenders, and took them intocustody in Diyarbakır Provincial Security Directorate. In the following days,five additional women were taken into police custody within the scope of thesame investigation, including Mses. Hayriye Türkekul and Aklime Hanas,members of Peace Mothers Initiative who are over 70 yearsold. After their interrogation at the Police Directorate was completed, fivewomen who were recently taken into custody were released, and 23 others werelater interrogated by the Prosecutor’s Office in Diyarbakır.

The women’s rights defenders are facing theaccusation of “membership to a terrorist organisation” for their membership tothe women's rights initiative TJA, their participation in meetings and pressstatements organised by TJA, their participation in other assemblies,demonstrations and press statements on gender based violence and other women'srights issues, for taking part in public statements on the hunger strike ofKurdish politicians, as well as for their attendance at the congress ofTUHAD-FED.

On July 17, 2020, a total of 18 women,including women’s rights defenders Mses. Ayşe Güney, Ayşe Gökkan, Zekiye Güler,Emine Kaya, Selma Metin, Ruken Şehir, Şükran Tamir, Gülseren Akkum, TekoşinTekin, Hatice Şen, Rozerin Çatak, Dilan Yakut and Güneş Özel were released onjudicial control by the court while the court ordered the detention of fivewomen, including Mses. Elif Haran, Hasret Alp, Bahar Akyapı and Figen Ekti. Thefour detained women’s rights defenders are being held in the Diyarbakır ClosedWomen’s Prison.

The Observatory recalls the recent investigationsopened into Rosa Women’s Association and TJA in Diyarbakır, and that tens ofwomen’s rights defenders remain in arbitrary detention for their human rightsactivities[1].

The Observatory condemns the arbitrary detention ofMses. Elif Haran, Hasret Alp, Bahar Akyapıand Figen Ekti, as well as the judicial harassment against Mses. Ayşe Güney,Ayşe Gökkan, Zekiye Güler, Emine Kaya, Selma Metin, Ruken Şehir, ŞükranTamir, Gülseren Akkum, Tekoşin Tekin, Hatice Şen, Rozerin Çatak, Dilan Yakutand Güneş Özel, as it seems to be merely aimed at punishing them forexercising their legitimate human rights activities.

The Observatory urges the Turkish authorities toput an end to all forms of harassment, including at the judicial level, againstthem and all other human rights defenders in Turkey.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities of Turkeyasking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances thephysical and psychological integrity of Mses. Elif Haran, Hasret Alp, BaharAkyapı and Figen Ekti and all other human rights defenders in Turkey;

ii. Immediately and unconditionally release Mses. Elif Haran, Hasret Alp, Bahar Akyapıand Figen Ekti and all other human rights defenders arbitrarily detained inTurkey as their detention is arbitrary since it only seems to aim at punishingthem for their human rights activities;

iii. Put an end to all forms of harassment,including at the judicial level, against Mses.Elif Haran, Hasret Alp, Bahar Akyapı, Figen Ekti, Ayşe Güney, Ayşe Gökkan,Zekiye Güler, Emine Kaya, Selma Metin, Ruken Şehir, Şükran Tamir,Gülseren Akkum, Tekoşin Tekin, Hatice Şen, Rozerin Çatak, Dilan Yakut and GüneşÖzel, and againstall human rights defenders in Turkey;

iv. Put an end to the judicialharassment and arbitrary detention of Kurdish women’s rights defenders andprovide an enabling environment in which they can continue their legitimateactivities in defense of women’s rights;

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 1,6(a), 9, 11 and 12.2;

vi. Ensure in allcircumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordancewith international human rights standards and international instrumentsratified by Turkey.


· President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. RecepTayyip Erdoğan, Fax: +90 (312) 525 58 31. Email: contact@tccb.gov.tr

· Minister of Justice, Mr. Abdülhamit Gül. Email: info@adalet.gov.tr. Fax: +90 (0312) 419 33 70

· Minister of Interior, Mr. Süleyman Soylu. Email: diab@icisleri.gov.tr; sti@icisleri.gov.tr

· Ambassador Mr. Mehmet Kemal Bozay, DiplomaticMission of Turkey to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. Fax: + 32 2 511 04 50.Email: info@turkdeleg.org; tr-delegation.eu@mfa.gov.tr

· Ambassador Mr. SadıkArslan, Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations in Geneva,Switzerland. Email: turkey.unog@mfa.gov.tr

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


Paris-Geneva, July 24, 2020

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

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

To contact the Observatory, call the emergencyline:

· E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 4355 18 80

· Tel and fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29

[1] See the Observatory Urgent AppealTUR005 / 0520 / OBS 058, published on May 27, 2020.