Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Office of the Prime Minister
Vekaletler Caddesi Basbakanlik Merkez Bina’
06573 Kizilay, Ankara, Turkey
June 20, 2014
We are writing in concern for Ali Cerkezoglu, Secretary of the Istanbul Medical Association, Beyza Metin, Secretary of the Istanbul Chamber of Electrical Engineers and Mucella Yapici, General Secretary of the Istanbul Chamber of Architects.
According to news reports and Amnesty International, on June 12, 2014, an Istanbul court began hearing a case against 26 members of Taksim Solidarity, a coalition of over 100 organizations, including professional bodies, trade unions, NGOs and others. (The Taksim Solidarity Coalition was established in 2012 to contest urban development plans for Gezi Park and adjoining Taksim Square.) Five of these defendants, including the above professionals, face charges that include founding a criminal organization, violating public order, and organizing illegal protests through social media. If convicted, the accused could face up to 151/2 years in prison.
According to Amnesty International, the indictment charging these defendants does not contain any evidence of participation in or incitement to violence or any other criminal activity. Instead, the prosecution is based primarily on tweets posted on the Taksim Solidarity Twitter account and on the defendants’ individual accounts. Instead of inciting violence, the tweets called for protesting peacefully, providing information concerning makeshift health care facilities for protesters, as well as condemnation of police violence.
We are concerned that these defendants, acting on behalf of their organizations, are being prosecuted for peacefully exercising their rights of freedom of expression and of association, which is expressly prohibited by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory, as well as the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is a party.
We urge you to immediately investigate these cases and to require relevant authorities to dismiss these indictments, that are based solely on evidence of these individuals’ exercise of their human rights of expression, peaceful protest and assembly,
Sincerely,Joel L. Lebowitz, Paul H. Plotz, Walter Reich Eugene M. Chudnovsky, Alexander Greer
Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists
President Abdullah Gul, Cumhurbaskanligi 06689 Cankaya, Ankara,
President of the Turkish National Assembly, Mr. Cemil Cicek, 06543 Bakanliklar, Ankara, Turkey
Minister of Health, Dr. Mehmet Muezzinoglu, Mithatpasa Cad, No 306434 Sihhiye, Ankara, Turkey
Deputy Prime Minister Responsible for Human Rights and Counter Terrorism, Mr. Besir Atalay, Email: email@example.com
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Mr. Anand Grover, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Palais des Nations, CH-1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland
- After Gezi: Amnesty Issues Major New Report (humanrightsturkey.org)
- Turkey tries 26 for using web to urge protests (scotsman.com)
- Amnesty Goes On the Ground as Repression Worsens in Turkey (amnestyusa.org)
- At least 120 detained in Istanbul on Gezi protests anniversary (en.trend.az)