As Turks flee oppression, Ottawa urged to speak out on human rights issues


Date posted: August 16, 2019

Maan Alhmidi

OTTAWA — It’s long past time for the federal government to publicly condemn human rights violations that have been going on in Turkey for years, an Ottawa-based human rights activist says.

More than 3,000 Turkish families have landed in Canada seeking asylum during the last three years, said Vaner Kaplan, who represents a group called Advocates of Silenced Turkey in Canada that documents human rights violations in the eastern European country and presses for change from abroad.

Asylum seekers are still fleeing Turkey for Canada and other western countries, Kaplan said. “There’s at least 14 families (in my neighbourhood in Ottawa). I mean ladies (with kids). All their husbands have been arrested (in Turkey,)” he said.

The women are not comfortable speaking out publicly for fear it could imperil their husbands behind bars in Turkey, he added.

Kaplan brought his wife and three kids to Canada more than two years ago. Before that, he used to work in a non-for-profit organization in the United States. “When my (American) visa expired, I decided to come here instead of going to Turkey and being arrested,” he said.

He volunteered to help Turkish newcomers to Ottawa. He has been able to help them find an apartment, access the social services and settle down in the capital because he speaks English and have a car, he said.

“I’m taking all these families to parliamentarians … to raise awareness (about the situation in Turkey,)” he said. “I have visited more than 200 politicians.”

Global Affairs Canada, for its part, says it is already speaking out and will continue to do so.  

“Canadians believe in the importance of standing up for human rights, and our foreign policy reflects that,” the department said in a statement. “We have voiced our concerns over the human rights situation in Turkey and have advocated for the importance of respecting human rights in public and in private.”

Following an attempted coup in July 2016. The Turkish government imposed a state of emergency that remained in force throughout the year. It paved the way for restrictions on human rights and allowed the government to pass laws beyond the effective scrutiny of Parliament and the courts, Amnesty International said in a report released last year.

More than 50,000 people were in pre-trial detention on charges linked to membership of the Hizmet movement, inspired by U.S.-based Turkish preacher Fethullah Gulen. The Turkish authorities blamed the movement for the coup attempt. Of those arrested, a number were released on bail and subjected to reporting requirements, according to Amnesty.

A number of Canadian citizens are among those currently arrested in Turkey, although how many is not clear.

“Global Affairs Canada is aware of the arrest and detention of Canadian citizens in Turkey.” the department said. “Consular services are being provided to the Canadian citizens and their families. Officials at the Embassy of Canada in Ankara are in contact with local authorities and closely monitoring.”

Global Affairs Canada refused to provide more information about the Canadians, citing privacy concerns.

Source: News 1130 , August 16, 2019


Related News

Erdoğan draws ire from all segments of society over bid to close Turkish schools

Members of opposition parties, prominent businessmen and figures in the education world have severely criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for campaigning for the closure of Turkish schools in African countries that are affiliated with the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who is a former ally of the president.

Kimse Yok Mu to distribute 90,000 food packages during Ramadan

The Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There) charity foundation will be offering aid packages to 90,000 families in all the 81 provinces during the holy month of Ramadan. The fasting month of Ramadan, deemed the sultan of all the months by Muslims, is considered the most venerated, blessed and spiritually beneficial month of the Islamic […]

Erdoğan and Gülen: The Marriage of Convenience

Religiously, the Gülen Movement both reflects the long tradition of Turkish Sufi brotherhoods, and Gülen’s own emphasis on societal change through education, humanitarian activism, and interfaith dialogue. Gülen never sympathized with, or adopted, the AKP’s more conservative form of political Islam.

German intel expert says, based on CIA, BND reports, Erdoğan was behind failed coup

German intelligence expert and author Erich Schmidt-Eenboom has said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, not the faith-based Gülen movement, was behind a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016 based on intelligence reports from the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND).

Turkey to pay huge compensation for post-coup rights violations, main opposition says

The main opposition party leader has said Turkey will pay a big price and an enormous amount of compensation for gross human rights violations caused by government decrees issued during a state of emergency declared after an abortive coup. “I saw the March 12 [1971] and Sept. 12 [1980] coups, but I never saw such a picture like today,” he said

‘Consider your husband dead, start a new life,’ prosecutor tells detainee’s wife

Cumhuriyet daily columnist Aydın Engin wrote on Wednesday that the wife of a detainee sent him a letter claiming that a prosecutor told her to consider her husband dead since he can never be freed.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Nigeria: Post-2015 Agenda – Addressing the Inadequacies in Women’s Rights

Mr. Erdogan’s Jaw-Dropping Hypocrisy

Turkish charity Kimse Yok Mu helps the homeless after floods in Zimbabwe

Meal and food support for Somalian people during Ramadan

What is the main offense that the Cemaat (Hizmet movement) has committed?

‘Selam: Bahara Yolculuk’: a true story on the big screen

Koza Altın latest victim of government silencing political dissent

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News