Turkish government has briefly detained Öztürk Türkdoğan, co-chair of Human Rights Association (İHD) of Turkey and some other human rights defenders, including İHD General Accountant Sevim Salihoğlu, Central Executive Board member Derya Uysal and İHD staff Besra Varlı on Yüksel Street in the heart of Ankara on Thursday. All of them were released later on the same day.
The human rights defenders were set to announce the İHD report on rights violations on the first anniversary of the “We want our job back” protests by dismissed educators Nuriye Gülmen and Semih Özakça which were staged at Yüksel Avenue every day amid mass crackdown and detention by police forces.
The detained defenders of human rights were reportedly forced into a police car that was already being kept ready in front of the Human Rights Monument in the area. Following the detentions, police forcible expelled the people that had gathered around, including reporters for Mesopotamia news agency who were battered during the intervention.
Speaking to Bianet from a detention vehicle as he was under police detention, Türkdoğan had said that they were detained in front of the Human Rights Monument as they rallied to issue a statement in protest of demonstration ban in front of the monument on Yüksel Street and said that “Ankara Governorship had imposed a demonstration ban. We believe that the police detained us based on this decision.”
“No explanation was made to us during the detention. I am in the detention vehicle at the moment. We weren’t told anything but we presume that we will first be taken to a hospital for physical examination and then to the Security Directorate by procedure. We don’t know anything. As rights defenders, we are not allowed to exercise the most fundamental rights such as issuing a statement for the press. The rights defenders weren’t allowed to make a statement about human rights. This is the consequence of arbitrary governing. The State of Emergency is practiced in its severest way,” he said.