IHD’s 2016 Report on Human Rights Violations in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia Region

The ongoing conflicting environment in our country continues hurting us by multiplying the suffer that it causes. Soldiers, policemen, organization militants and civilians are losing their lives every day. In a little while, we will share with you the horrifying balance sheet and grave human rights violations which are generated and caused by this conflicting environment under categorical headings.


Ali Emiri 1.Sok. Yılmaz 2004 Apt. No: 1/3 Yenişehir/ DİYARBAKIR
Tel : 0.412. 223 30 33- 229 58 66 Fax: 0.412. 223 57 37 E-mail: diyarbakir@ihd.org.tr


Dead Injured Dead Injured
People Who Lost Their lives in Conflicts Security Forces 150 406 456 1112
Organization Militants 189  6 816 14
Civilians Who Lost Their Lives (Caused by Intervention of Security Forces, Bomb Attacks and Armed Conflicts) 214 822 451 926
Mine and Independent Explosive Material 5 28 13 37
Deaths and Injuries Caused by Formal Mistake – Neglect / Suspicious Deaths of Soldier-Police 16 7 21 7
TOTAL DEATH & INJURIES 574 1269 1757 2096
Arrested People 5387 (400 children) 6860 (150 children)
Detained People 1196 (66 children) 1724 (40 children)
Claims of Torture and Maltreatment 423 647
Interventions to Social Events Number of Events 113 78
Injuries / Battery 130 38
Number of People Exposed to Investigations / Trials / Punishments 658 761
Violations in Prisons 482 1103
                                        SUBTOTAL 10323 15107
Other Violations: (Violations of economic and social rights, suspicious deaths, violations against women, children and people with disabilities, violations of right to education-health-property-housing-travel-environment-culture, intentional forest fires, grazing land ban, curfew, discrimination) 7317 31185
                              FINAL TOTAL 17640 46292

As known, constitutional amendment proposal which was debated controversially in the Parliament and decided to be put on referendum, continues to be discussed controversially and occupies the first place on political agenda. This constitutional amendment package including amendments to the governing structure of Turkey and consisted of 18 articles, is neither occurred as result of public consensus nor serves the purpose of Turkey’s democratization and forming a peaceful society. No doubt, we are facing the need for a civil, democratic and pluralist constitution as a rising social demand. A new constitutional work in which ethnic background, language, religion, culture and differences are not ignored, common demands of different social groups are included and the freedom of thought and expression are secured must be started without losing any time. Support of non-governmental organizations should be received in this process.

We have been going through a period of violent conflicts which ravages Turkey, particularly the aforementioned region since July 2015. In this period during which soldiers, policemen, organization militants and civilians lost their lives every other day, severe human rights violations that we witnessed frequently in the 90s have entered the agenda of the society again with different dimensions. Maintaining this conflicting environment will not contribute to the future of the country and remove the obstacles against the democratization of the society; moreover, it may generate unrecoverable destructive effects. It is a concrete fact that a progress will not be made with the violent and monistic state policy tried to be used as a solution to the Kurdish question. The country needs an environment of social peace and harmony urgently. Therefore, we should return to a period without conflicts to provide negotiation terms by ending the conflicting environment.

Unfortunately, human rights violations in our region systematically and increasingly go on because of the conflicting environment occurred in 2016, as well as the applications of the state of emergency lasting for months. There have been violations in different and categorical issues such as extrajudicial execution of civilians, torture and maltreatment, interventions against the right to assembly and demonstration, freedom of thought and expression, press freedom, violence against women and children, losses in the economic and social rights.

The applications of state of emergency which was declared in the aftermath of the coup attempt in July 15 and still continues have targeted the dissident social sections approaching critically to the government policy or defending peace. With the decree-laws enacted under the scope of state of emergency, many social sections have been exposed to grave violations of rights and unjust treatment.

Thousands of public officers engaging in trade union activities were previously blacklisted despite lack of any concrete evidence, accused of “supporting terrorist activities”, suspended from their duties, some of them were taken into custody and arrested. Academics working in universities and hundreds of public officers were unrightfully discharged from their duties without any investigation.

11 MPs of HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) -including the co-leaders- are being held as detainees in different prisons. It is known that there is no other country where the members of the legislative body are being held in prison and furthermore, these detentions are unrightful and based on political reasons. Another anti-democratic application which is carried out with the decree laws is appointment of the trustees. Voters’ will was disregarded by appointing trustees to the municipalities which were elected by the public’s will and choice, as in the case of the detention of the MPs. In 2016, while trustees were appointed to 52 municipalities -49 of them belonging to the Democratic Regions Party (DBP)- tens of mayors and council members were detained then arrested. Investigations were started and court cases were filed with the claim of tens of years of sentence against some mayors.

Heavy oppression against the press and censorship has reached the level of shutting down newspapers, televisions and radios. Today, in Turkey where there are 131 journalists in prison and 229 are standing trial, a restraining attitude towards the news production of journalists has been developed and their yellow press cards were confiscated, journalists were arrested, detained and left unemployed.

The freedom of expression and organization was oppressed as a whole with proscriptive decisions by the governorships and district governorships. Public protest meetings, democratic demonstrations, marches and activities were prohibited by giving justification of “security”. Those who reacted against these anti-democratic applications were prevented by being exposed to the harsh intervention of law enforcement officers. Without having any investigation regarding them, hundreds of associations -171 of them being in the cities of the region-  carrying out advocacy activities focused on human rights, law, women and children were shut down with the accusation of “being associated with terrorist organization” and decree-laws promulgated.

With the state of emergency, there has been an increase in cases of torture and maltreatment in or out of detention centers. While 30-day detention period and restrictions on lawyer visits are violations on their own, exposing citizens to physical and psychological torture is not acceptable.  In the constitution and according to the international conventions that Turkey is a party, torture is absolutely prohibited!

Prisons have become another torture centers. As a result of administrative applications, violations of rights in several matters, particularly exiles, have been occurred. The right to health and communication of prisoners who are exposed to torture and maltreatment, has been violated and prisoners are subjected to lockdown and isolation on the grounds of various disciplinary actions. Especially we want to state that violations of right to health still continue, according to the data collected by our Association, 905 sick prisoners including 323 being seriously ill- are in fact abandoned to their fate in prison.

Another topic leading to other violations due to the practices of state of emergency and conflicting environment was special security zones and declarations of curfews. Hundreds of regions including rural settlements were declared as special security zone on the grounds that there would be military operations and again, curfews were declared many times. Prohibitions affected the natural and routine way of life of citizens living in the rural areas. This has caused trouble in exercising the right to communication, health and education, as well as livestock farming and agriculture have come to a halt. During the raids launched by the soldiers to some villages, it was claimed that citizens were exposed to torture and maltreatment.

Violence against women and children unfortunately continued increasingly in 2016 too. With the existence of the legal loophole on protection of women against male violence and the lack of constructive policy, women are killed every day and become victims of violence because the current laws do not become functional in administrative application. Again, children consisting the section which mostly experience violation of rights in our social life are murdered in the consequence of domestic violence and violence in social sphere, to which they are exposed. We witness injuries and deaths of children as result of unclaimed explosives, once again in the regions where there is conflicting environment. While increasing cases of sexual abuse against children stand out in the last year, it can be seen that there is a lack of laws securing children’s rights or the obligations arising from international conventions are not fulfilled.

As human rights defenders, we believed, believe and will keep believing in the sanctity of human life under any circumstances regardless of language, religion, race, nationality, sex, ethnic and cultural differences; we fought for this and we will keep fighting. Because we believe in a democratic way of life and a world without violations.

On this basis, we demand that the state of emergency which caused grave human rights violations be lifted, hope that conflicting environment ends as immediate as possible, and a permanent state without conflicting and resolution process to be negotiated again.

We wish an honorable life full of freedom.