As the Movement for Unconditional Justice, the subject we focused on this week was freedom of expression and related rights violations.
- The imprisonment of thoughts, the trial and punishment of individuals for expressing their opinions, which is one of their most basic freedoms, is not unique to today in Turkey. From past to present, individuals have been restricted, isolated from society, tried and imprisoned many times because of their thoughts. But it has never required so much courage to write an article, to speak freely in front of a public, or even to quote someone else’s statements exactly.
- Although there are dozens of verdicts / decisions that Turkey has condemned on Freedom of Expression, which is protected by Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, most of these decisions are not implemented. Although some decisions are implemented in the case file, the judiciary continues its oppressive stance on freedom of expression. Currently, the same types of violations are frequently the subject of applications to the European Court of Human Rights.
- Ahmet Sik was arrested as part of the investigation launched in 2011, before the book he wrote was even published, and he was imprisoned for more than a year. Later on, he was arrested again in December 2016 due to his tweets, and he was also imprisoned for more than a year.
- Nazli Ilicak was arrested in 2016 for her murderous television show and was imprisoned for more than 3 years. Ahmet Altan was arrested because of the television program he participated in 2016, he was then released after being detained for more than 3 years, but he was arrested again 8 days later and finally he was released in April 2021 after nearly a year and a half imprisonment. Sedat Laçiner, former President / Rector of Çanakkale University, was also arrested in 2016. He has been in prison for more than four years and he has been under medical care in hospital due to Covid-19 pandemic. Those are just a few examples of how severe / harsh / heavy the cost of expressing opinions can be in Turkey.
- Hundreds of people who participated in the Gezi protests or expressed their opinions on the Gezi protests on the internet or social media were detained, and lawsuits / investigations were filed against them. More than 500 academics were dismissed due to the statement they published in 2016, and lawsuits / investigations were filed against for more than 650 academics.
- Kocaeli Deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioglu was revoked from his position as member of parliament due to the news he retweeted on social media, and he was arrested in March 2021. Dozens of students who criticized the appointment / assignment of a rector to Bogazici University were detained. Moreover, lawsuits were filed against 23 individuals. 10 retired admirals, including a cancer patient, were detained because of the declaration they signed last week. Housing and protection rights of 104 admirals who signed the declaration were revoked.
As the Movement for Unconditional Justice, we remind you that the duty of the state is to always and probably provide an environment for individuals to think freely and express their opinions freely. We demand end to the unlawful practices and omissions that continue within the scope of freedom of expression in Turkey.