Turkey: new trial against Öztürk Türkdoğan, new proof of judicial harassment

Accountability, Justice and Space for Civil Society, Democracy and freedoms, Statement, Turkey

Statement in support of IHD Co-Chairperson Öztürk Türkdoğan ahead of the first hearing of his trial on 22 February 2022.

Tomorrow starts the first hearing of the trial of Mr Öztürk Türkdoğan, a prominent human rights lawyer and Co-Chairperson of the Human Rights Association (IHD), a member of EuroMed Rights. 

Mr Türkdoğan will appear under the accusation of “membership of an illegal armed organisation”. This accusation stems from his public statements on the detention conditions of Abdullah Öcalan in İmralı Prison whom he visited as part of his mandate with the Human Rights Association. If convicted, Mr Türkdoğan faces between five and ten years of imprisonment. 

This is not the first instance of judicial harassment Mr Türkdoğan faces. In 2021, his house was raided, he was taken into police custody and was imposed an international travel ban. He also faces two additional criminal proceedings for the publication of an article calling on Turkey to stop denying the Armenian Genocide and for his rebuttal of derogatory comments made by Turkey’s Minister of Interior who threatened and insulted independent civil society in Turkey. 

“The new proceedings brought against Öztürk Türkdoğan illustrate, if there was a need, the intensity of the judicial harassment led by the Turkish authorities against independent civil society organisations. With the support of iniquitous laws, Turkey’s judicial system is now cracking down on every move from Human Rights Defenders. We denounce this harassment and call upon the European Union and its Member States to stand up in favour of Turkey’s civil society before it is too late,” declared Wadih Al-Asmar, President of EuroMed Rights.

EuroMed Rights issues its full support to Mr Öztürk Türkdoğan and its member IHD and will continue to stand alongside Turkey’s independent civil society for the respect of democracy and rule of law.