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Turkey Regional Action Network

February 2012

1) Turkey Blog Articles Amnesty International USA website has featured three new blog articles on recent human rights issues in Turkey.

http://blog.amnestyusa.org/justice/kill-all-thelawyers-stifling-dissent-in-turkey/

a) Who Really Murdered Hrant Dink? While Turkey continues to prosecute dissenting opinions and violate the right to freedom of expression by holding thousands of journalists, publishers, academics, lawyers, elected officials, students and Kurdish human rights defenders in lengthy pre-trial detention, state officials who were allegedly involved in the killing of Hrant Dink have never been prosecuted.
Read the full blog article at:

c) Closing the Doors to Justice in Turkey A draft law which would effectively give the government the right to ban prisoners access to lawyers for up to six months is currently being considered by the Turkish Parliament. The bill was developed primarily to limit communication between convicted PKK leader, Abdullah calan, and his lawyers. However, such a bill would further curb the capacity of lawyers to meet with their clients in an environment where thousands are caught in the massive wave of politically motivated arrests in Turkey.
Read the full blog article at:

http://blog.amnestyusa.org/justice/who-reallymurdered-hrant-dink/

http://blog.amnestyusa.org/justice/kill-all-thelawyers-stifling-dissent-in-turkey/

b) Kill All The Lawyers: Stifling Dissent in Turkey This article expresses alarm over the current practice of imprisoning attorneys who defend journalists and others caught in the massive wave of arrests currently underway in Turkey. Those arrested in various crackdowns included 42 lawyers of convicted PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. Arresting lawyers because of their clients misdeeds violates UN agreements and basic human rights.
Read the full blog article at:

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2) Amnesty International News Story:

Turkey fails to deliver justice for murdered Armenian journalist as trial ends
January 16, 2012

Amnesty International (AI) has frequently called on the Turkish authorities to investigate alleged collusion and negligence by state officials in the 2007 killing of

journalist and human rights activist Hrant Dink. Nevertheless, Turkish authorities still failed to address state officials' alleged involvement as the trial of 18 people accused of his murder drew to a close. In July 2011 Ogn Samast, 17 years old at the time of the murder, was found guilty of shooting Hrant Dink and was sentenced to nearly 23 years in prison by a Children's Court. Although AI welcomed the sentencing of Ogn Samast, AI continued to call on the Turkish authorities to investigate all the circumstances around his death and bring everyone responsible to justice, whatever their position of power. Hrant Dink, a Turkish citizen of Armenian descent, was best known for being critical of the Turkish government over issues of Armenian identity and over official versions of history in Turkey relating to the massacres of Armenians in 1915. He was repeatedly targeted for expressing his opinions, including a six-month suspended prison sentence for "denigrating Turkishness" in writings about the identity of Turkish citizens of Armenian origin in 2005. Hrant Dink was killed on January 19, 2007 outside the offices of the Agos newspaper where he was the editor. In September 2010, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the Turkish authorities had failed to act on information they received that could have prevented Hrant Dink's murder and had failed to investigate the role of state officials in his death. "Hrant Dink was murdered for peacefully expressing his opinions," said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty Internationals expert on Turkey. "The security services knew of the murder plot and were in communication with those accused of the murder yet nothing was done to stop it taking place.

Read the full article at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/turkey-failsdeliver-justice-murdered-armenian-journalisttrial-ends-2012-01-16

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3) Public Statement:

Turkey: Uludere bombing investigation lacks credibility


AI index: EUR 44/001/2012 February 3, 2012

Amnesty International (AI) welcomes the fact that financial compensation has been arranged for the families of 34 civilians who died in a Turkish military airstrike near the Uludere village in the city of Sirnak, which is near the Iraqi border in southeastern Turkey, on December 28, 2011. However, AI is gravely concerned regarding other developments since the announcement of the investigation, which raise doubts about whether it is thorough and impartial and will be effective in identifying the full circumstances of the bombing and those responsible. Human rights organizations seeking to investigate the incident reported that delegates were denied permission to visit the scene of the bombing by soldiers citing security concerns. Prosecutors have reportedly not taken witness statements more than a month after the bombing took place. Furthermore, AI is also concerned at reports that prosecutors have relied on military units to provide evidence from the scene of the bombing, threatening the independence of the investigation.
Read the full article at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/EUR44 /001/2012/en/cfb17590-5101-401e-85c6200e4443d0b2/eur440012012en.html

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4) Announcement

Dr. Howard Eissenstat Presenting at the Project on Middle East Democracy


A prominent Washington think tank, the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED), has invited Dr. Eissenstat, a member of the Co-group, to speak on human rights in Turkey on February 22nd for an event entitled Turkish Democracy: A Model Abroad, Troubled at Home? Place: Stimson Center 1111 19th St NW, 12th Floor Washington DC Time: 10:00am-11:30am RSVP for the event at: http://us2.campaignarchive2.com/?u=8a185f96ecfeb10569f512 0d0&id=4c5d970487&e=2b911ad0d2

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If you are interested in the issue of Human Rights in Turkey, consider joining us on our Turkey Regional Action Network on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/AmnestyInternational-USA-Turkey-Regional-ActionNetwork/134561963283302 If you have any questions, please contact AIUSA TURKRAN coordinator: Natsumi Ajiki (najiki@mac.com).