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Turkish (Turkiye)

Forced divorce and sterilisation – a reality for many transgender persons

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Strasbourg, 31.08.2010 – “The rights of transgender persons are still ignored or violated. Stronger actions are needed to eradicate discrimination against them” said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, publishing today his latest human rights comment.

Transgender persons face obstacles in obtaining legal recognition of their preferred gender. Some Council of Europe member states still have no provision at all for official recognition, leaving transgender people in a legal limbo. Worse, most member states still use medical classifications which impose the diagnosis of mental disorder on transgender persons.”

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Statement by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance on the situation of Roma migrants in France

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Strasbourg, 24.08.2010 - The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) is deeply concerned about the treatment of Roma migrants in France today.

In a report published in June 2010, ECRI had called on the French authorities to combat the racist attitudes and hostility harboured by the majority population vis-à-vis this community. In recent weeks high-ranking officials have made political statements and the Government has taken action stigmatising Roma migrants. The latter are held collectively responsible for criminal offences and singled out for abusing EU legislation on freedom of movement. ECRI can only express disappointment about this most negative development.

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1980 coup plotters could and should be sent to jail!

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Big events may be represented in our inner world by quite irrelevant symbols. This is especially true for children. For me, the Sept. 12, 1980, military coup has always been associated with the smell of burning paper.My sister was burning books from our house in the bathroom boiler. Smoke was leaking from the boiler and, actually, not only from our house, but from the chimneys of many other houses the smell of smoke and burnt paper filled the air. Books, the evidence of ultimate guilt, were on fire. Marx could not have imagined that his book, “Das Kapital,” was heating the air in Turkey 113 years after he wrote it.

As a teenager I witnessed the Turkish left’s confrontation with the military coup. On Sept. 12, 1980, a nightmare descended upon this country. It was only many years later as a human rights defender that I realized the damage done to human rights by the 1980 coup, which I had witnessed and understood with a child’s eyes.

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NGOs gathered in Kampala Call for End to Impunity Crisis Following Israeli Attack on Aid Convoy

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We, the undersigned organisations gathered in Kampala at the International Criminal Court (ICC) Review Conference, are shocked by Israel’s killing and injury of civilians carrying humanitarian supplies to Gaza. We wish to express our sorrow regarding the loss of life and call on the international community to immediately take all appropriate measures in response to this unacceptable violence.

On 31 May 2010 Israeli forces opened fire against an international aid convoy seeking to bring humanitarian supplies into the Gaza Strip; more than 700 unarmed activists from over 40 countries were on board the 8-ship flotilla. The attack occurred in international waters and resulted in the killing of at least 9 persons and the injury of a further 60.

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An Open Call To The Grand National Assembly Of Turkey And The Constitutional Court Of The Rebuplic Of Turkey

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On 7 May 2010, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey passed a bill on Turkey’s constitutional amendments offering partial relief for the entrenched military influence over civilians that was reinforced by the army-led 1980 coup d’état. Following the Supreme Board of Elections interpretation/decision, these amendments shall be put to a public referendum on 12 September 2010.

Although current amendments are insufficient to ensure full democratization, they still provide an invaluable opportunity to create the ground for moving beyond the coup d’état Constitution, saving the judiciary from the hegemony of elites, and allowing, at least, a partial inclusion of different social segments in the judicial process. They also pave the way for bringing perpetrators of the coup d’état to justice and mark an end to the deep connection between the judiciary and the pro-coup mindset and its backers.

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Barbaric acts of Israeli soldiers, Holocaust victims, anti-Semitism!

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Anti-Semitic and racist messages are pouring into my mailbox. “Turkey should do what Hitler could not achieve,” one message says. “God has always punished perverted societies like Israel,” say another.

One other message says, “Say stop to this murderer and monstrous society which is deprived of dignity and honor,” and the angry remarks continue like that.

Nothing can justify racism. Do not forget, some declared Turkey a “barbaric nation” because of what some soldiers did to Kurds in southeastern Turkey or for what the Ittihadist regime did to Armenians. When you start making these kinds of sweeping generalizations about a nation, you are becoming nothing but a racist yourself.

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Balkans Round-Table Meeting: Summary Report

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On April 3-4, the Human Rights Agenda Association (HRAA) hosted a Round-Table Meeting in Ankara entitled, “Regional Dialogue on Human Rights in the Balkans and Turkey.” Twenty-one participants, representing seven human rights organizations from the Balkans region and five human rights organizations from Turkey, met to share experience, expertise, and future plans for human rights activities. The purpose of the meeting was to introduce these organizations to one another, identify common issues and interests, and to develop a platform for future collaboration. The Meeting was generously supported by The Open Society Institute’s East East: Partnership Beyond Borders Program.

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Elçi: prosecutor expected to deepen probe into JİTEM suspects

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Lawyer Tahir Elçi*, who has been serving in Diyarbakır since 1994, has said that they expect the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor's Office to deepen the investigation into Ergenekon suspects who are known for their ties to extrajudicial executions in the Southeast.

Pointing out that Ergenekon prosecutor Zekeriya Öz has recently sent the case file to the Diyarbakır public prosecutor in relation to those links, Elçi said there are already several cases open in Diyarbakır, Silopi, Cizre and so on, related to those criminal acts, especially in the 1990s.

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Accidentally business class

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I had quite an interesting weekend. On Saturday and Sunday I participated in a meeting on Ergenekon in İstanbul. The meeting was hosted by the Young Civilians movement and the Human Rights Agenda Association. We have been quite irritated by disinformation campaigns about the Ergenekon case for a long time.

We invited intellectuals, writers, activists and human rights lawyers to discuss the popular allegations used in disinformation campaigns about the Ergenekon case abroad and in Turkey. We wanted to see the common denominators of prominent intellectuals and human rights activists in understanding this case. We were very surprised by the high level of interest and enthusiasm of the participants in our workshops.

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2009 Annual report on the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

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Strasbourg, 14.04.2010 – The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has issued today its third annual report on the supervision of the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.

In 2009 1515 new judgments finding violations of the European Convention on Human Rights were brought before the Committee of Ministers for supervision of their execution, thus bringing the number of cases under supervision to 7 881. The compensation awarded to the victims in the new judgments 2009 amounted to some 54 million Euros.

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Genocide resolution: unwise move, unethical response

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I was once again embarrassed by the Turkish method of stopping the Armenian genocide resolution in Congress. Don’t misunderstand me; I find this resolution process wrong.

As I have written before, this resolution is a perfect example of political usage of human rights discourse, which is inherently in conflict with the spirit of defending human rights. It came forward with political force, and it was stopped by political force. It has no potential to contribute to anything. But the Turkish way of stopping it is deeply embarrassing.

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