Press declaration on detention of M. Raci Bilici, Chairperson of Human Rights Association (İHD) Diyarbakır Branch and Vice-Chairperson of İHD Headquarters


Mr. Raci Bilici, the Vice-Chairperson of our association and the Chairperson of Diyarbakir Branch, has been detained on March 15, 2017 after the police raided on his home. He was taken to Diyarbakır Anti-Terror Department after his home was searched through by the Anti-Teror Police. Lawyers of our association have visited him in the Police Department where they were informed that there was a confidentiality order on the investigation file due to which neither our chairperson nor lawyers could learn the alleged charges on Mr. Bilici.


With the Emergency Rule in order for 8 months in Turkey, basic rights and freedoms are systematically and widely violated and taken under pressure. A large number of politicians, journalists, academics, intellectuals, authors, students, members of unions from all sorts of groups are facing detentions and arrests. During this period of time when civil society organizations raising their voices against the unlawful practices are barred from functioning or closed down, human rights defenders are also subjected to interventions such as threats, opressions, expulsions, detentions and arrests.


Mr. Bilici has also recently been targeted by the media outlets close to the ruling elits and threatened by unidentified persons and circles and finally detained by the police.


Since its establishment in 1986, Human Rights Association (İHD) has always exerted efforts for cultivation of an awareness for human rights and culture, under all conditions sided with those whose rights were violated and against the perpetrators. It is still the oldest and the most widely organized human rights organization. İHD is one of the most dynamic forces within the Human Rigts Movement in Turkey.


Without any personal fear and concern, all members, executives and activists of İHD continue a democratic struggle in the areas such as defending right to live and freedom of expression, resisting all sorts of tortures, forced disappearences, unresolved murders, discriminations, violations of women, children and LGBTI rights, supporting the rights of immigrants, refugees and others.


Its holistic approach to the human rights and struggle against human rights violations has made İHD a target of the state which considers human rights organizations like İHD and the advocates as “dangerous domestic enemies”. Work and efforts of İHD are intended for elimination of human rights violations and anti-democratic practices in Turkey. İHD is critical and impartial for and against all sides. Therefore, the state bureaucracy and governements have always been annoyed by the work and efforts of İHD, whose executives and members faced killings, attacks, arrests and unlawful punishments by the security forces along with ceaseless pressures on its community. These actions against the human rights defenders contributing to the campaigns for human rights under all sorts of pressures and threats without any personal expectation are unacceptable and also it violates the Declaration of United Nations on Human Rights Defenders.


On the other hand, the statement by the Public Prosecutor of Diyarbakir regarding the detentions including mr. Bilici is perilous. It is completely unacceptable to show our assocation and its executives as if they are linked with illegal organizations.


Such unlawfull pressure on human rights defenders occuring especially after the release of important reports by the United Nations and the European Council pointing at grave rights violations in Turkey is absolutaly unacceptable. We call the international community to be sensitive and responsive for protection of human rights defenders.

We would like to underline that we are human rights defenders and activists who have commited to defend the right to live, protect and improve human rights, freedoms and peacefull existence of people. We have not bowwed down to pressures until this day and will not do so from now on either.


In this respect, in these days when the Turkish government officials are calling for respect to human rights by refering to the international human rights documents due to the diplomatic crisis with the European states, we are also calling the government and judical authorities to comply with human rights. We denounce the unlawful detention of Mr. Bilici and demand immediate release of him.