Human rights defender in Hakkari receives death threat

“I believe that I received a death threat because of my activities in the city as a human rights defender. In fact, it is a threat to all human rights defenders,” said IHD Co-Chair in Hakkari.

Threatened with death, Co-Chair of the Human Rights Association (IHD) Hakkari Branch, Yusuf Çobanoğlu, said that he would continue to disturb the groups that threatened him.

Çobanoğlu received a phone call on May 15. He was told that “We will murder you and people like you. We will abduct members of your organization.” Çobanoğlu filed a criminal complaint with the Yüksekova Public Prosecutor's Office.

“This threat has been made to all human rights defenders. We will see how the Hakkari governor will react to these threats. Let's hope that it doesn't go unsolved like the previous ones. If the perpetrators are not found and punished, death threats will continue,” Çobanoğlu said.


Çobanoğlu pointed out that there are paramilitary forces within the governmental institutions in Turkey. The human rights defender emphasized that these forces are encouraged by the ‘policy of impunity’ as they utter such threats. Stressing that they are not in favour of violence and that they demand that injustices be punished by law, he continued, “We want society to live in a safer way. Everyone should be able to enjoy freedom of expression. Unfortunately, we are threatened with death when we promote the language of peace and human rights. We would like to say this to those who threatened us: we will continue to advocate the language of peace and human dignity against torture. None of our friends, including me, will give in to these threats. We want to live in a democratic society, but such threats erode the democratic society.”


Çobanoğlu stated that he was threatened because of their activities carried out against the rampant violations of rights in Hakkari. “I have been working actively with the IHD for a year now. I had never been threatened with death before. I do not have the slightest problem with a client or anyone else in the city. However, I have received a death threat because of my duty as a human rights defender. We work against violations of rights in many areas such as the environment, property, right to life, torture and ill-treatment in the city. Our activities may have disturbed some power groups. These people may have been disturbed because we revealed government corruption, violations of people's right to life and murders. I believe that I received a death threat because of my activities in the city as a human rights defender. In fact, it is a threat to all human rights defenders,” he remarked.


Çobanoğlu noted that many human rights defenders have been attacked in Turkey before, adding, “We should eliminate threats and attacks through law. If we cannot show this determination, unfortunately, we may face much more painful events in future. We are not afraid. We will continue to demand an honourable peace and life. They try to criminalize our activities, but we carry out our activities by risking everything. We will continue to disturb such power groups and we will never stop advocating human rights.”