First Published: 2017-10-17

Turkey activists face trial next week under terror charges
All bar one of 11 activists facing up to 15 years in jail have been behind bars since police raid on Amnesty workshop in July under ‘absurd’ terror charges.
Middle East Online

Activists are accused of seeking to create "chaos in society"

ISTANBUL - Eleven human rights activists, including the two top figures with Amnesty International in Turkey, will go on trial in Istanbul next week on hugely controversial terror charges, state media said Tuesday.

All bar one of the 11 activists -- who include two foreigners -- have been behind bars since a police raid in July on a workshop run by Amnesty on a popular island off Istanbul. They face up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

The trial will begin at the main Istanbul court on October 25 after an indictment prepared by prosecutors was approved, state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The accused include the director of Amnesty Turkey Idil Eser, who was detained in the raid by police on the workshop on the island of Buyukada.

Also going on trial is Amnesty's Turkey chair Taner Kilic, who was detained in June and whose case has been merged with that of the other 10 activists.

He has been charged with membership of an armed terror group while the others are charged with "aiding" an armed terror group.

In the indictment, the activists are accused of seeking to create "chaos in society" similar to the anti-government protests that rocked Turkey in the summer of 2013.

The charges raised concerns over freedom of expression in Turkey under the state of emergency imposed after last year's failed coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ankara blamed the coup attempt on the exiled Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who denies the accusations.

Amnesty has slammed the charges as "absurd and trumped up".

It argues they include "outlandish claims" that standard human rights activities such as appealing to stop the sale of tear gas were carried out on behalf of terrorist organisations.

The two foreigners -- German Peter Steudtner and Swede Ali Gharavi -- were leading a digital information workshop on Buyukada and have been under arrest since the July raid.

Steudtner's detention has stoked tensions in particular with Berlin and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has described the terror charges as "incomprehensible".

Sweden this month summoned Turkey's ambassador over the case of Gharavi, saying it was "worried" about the accusations against him.

The suspects are accused of links to outlawed groups including the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Gulen's organisation and the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).

 

Saudi Crown Prince calls Iran supreme leader 'new Hitler'

Syrian opposition agrees to send united delegation to Geneva talks

Turkey to detain 79 former teachers in post-coup probe

Lebanon’s Hariri suspends resignation

Baghdad's Shabandar cafe marks century since opening

Erdogan says no contact 'at the moment' with Assad

Activists say 'everybody knew' about Libya slave trade

Lebanon's Jumblatt criticises Saudi Arabia, Iran

China says it will make efforts on Syria reconstruction

Hezbollah hails PM's suspension of resignation

Syrian opposition aims for unity at talks in Riyadh

Egypt police kill 3 Islamists in shootout

Turkey unsure if Assad to be part of Syria political transition

Migrant arrivals from Libya down since EU deal

Palestinian factions leave Cairo talks with little progress

Sudan’s Bashir looks to Putin for ‘protection’ from US aggression

China, Djibouti forge 'strategic' ties

IS propaganda channels fall quiet in 'unprecedented' hiatus

Kremlin to create Syria congress despite Turkey ‘reservations’

Netanyahu berates deputy minister for 'offensive' remarks on US Jews

Egypt PM heads to Germany for medical treatment

Egypt destroys 10 SUVs carrying arms on Libya border

Outrage in Iraq over 'child marriage' bill

Iraq launches operation to clear last IS holdouts from desert

Saudi-led coalition to reopen Yemen airport, port to aid

Turkey court rules to keep Amnesty chief in jail

France calls for UN meeting on Libya slave-trading

Egypt detains 29 for allegedly spying for Turkey

WTO panel to hear Qatar’s complaint against UAE blockade

Three dead as diphtheria spreads in Yemen

Israel seizes explosive material at Gaza border

Activists call for release of UK journalist held by IS

Bahrain upholds jail sentence for activist

Iraq attacks at lowest since 2014

Turkey continues crackdown in post-coup probe

Hariri back in Lebanon

Putin to hold Syria peace talks with Erdogan, Rouhani

US carries out air strikes against IS in Libya

Divided Syria opposition meets in Riyadh

Lebanon's Hariri in Egypt ahead of return home

Rebels say Sanaa airport 'ready to run' after coalition bombing

Greece to amend historic sharia law for Muslim minority

Turkey to ask Germany to extradite top coup suspect

Car bomb in northern Iraq kills at least 24

Morocco bans bitcoin transactions