Advocacy Alert from ZERO TO THREE: A CHAMPION for BABIES Needs YOUR Urgent Action

The following message is from Matthew Melmed, Executive Director of ZERO TO THREE:

For four months now, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, a ZERO TO THREE Fellow and champion for babies, has been held in solitary confinement at Silivri Prison in the Istanbul province of Turkey. Yiğit’s arrest stems from his peaceful participation in civil disobedience in the Gezi Park protests in 2013. In what Amnesty International is characterizing as “trumped-up” accusations, Yiğit has been charged with attempting to overthrow the government or preventing it from performing its duties.

Will you help us demand justice for Yiğit by urging Turkish officials to release him and drop all charges against him?

At the time of his arrest, Yiğit was working for the Bernard van Leer Foundation, a global philanthropy that seeks to improve opportunities for socially and economically disadvantaged young children. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Yiğit and can vouch for his exemplary commitment to making the world better for all babies. A husband and the father of two young daughters, he is deeply admired and respected by his peers in his Fellows class.

As a fellow advocate for babies, we need YOU to raise your voice NOW to help Yigit! Join me in demanding justice for Yigit. Email Turkish officials (contact information below) and urge them to release Yiğit and drop all charges against him.  If you’d like, you can use the sample letter provided below.

As fellow baby champions, thank you so much for standing up for a wonderful man who has dedicated his life to standing up for babies!

Sincerely,

Matthew E. Melmed
Executive Director
ZERO TO THREE

Who to Contact:

Minister Abdülhamit Gül
Minister of Justice of the Republic of Turkey
Email: info@adalet.gov.tr 

Ambassador Serdar Kiliç
Embassy of the Republic of Turkey
Email: embassy.washingtondc@mfa.gov.tr

Email Text:

I am deeply concerned about the Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 30’s March 4th decision accepting the indictment against Yiğit Aksakoğlu and 15 other prominent civil society figures accusing of them of attempting to overthrow the government or prevent it from performing its duties during 2013’s Gezi Park protests.

These protests were peaceful in nature and there is no credible evidence linking any of the individuals named in this indictment with acts of violence or public disorder. The indictment is filled with unsubstantiated accusations that attempt to rewrite the history of the Gezi Park protests and silence some of Turkey’s most prominent civil society figures. If found guilty of these baseless charges, Aksakoğlu and the others could face life in prison without parole. 

Yiğit Aksakoğlu has been detained for almost four months based on these claims—that is four months too many. I urge you to do everything in your power to ensure that all charges against Yiğit Aksakoğlu are dropped, and that he and the other activists are released.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

Take Action on Twitter and Facebook:

.@serdarkilic9: I stand in solidarity with @hadigelyigit. Please do everything in your power to see that all charges against him are dropped, and that he is released from prison. #WeWantYigitBack #Hadigelyigit

.@abdulhamitgul: I stand in solidarity with @hadigelyigit. Please do everything in your power to see that all charges against him are dropped, and that he is released from prison. #WeWantYigitBack #Hadigelyigit

ZERO TO THREE
1255 23rd Street NW, Suite 350, Washington, DC 20037

http://zerotothree.actonsoftware.com/acton/rif/18223/s-0a04-1904/-/l-sf-contact-000b:3d2729/q-0244/showPreparedMessage?sid=TV2:B9Zlisx0w

Melissa Minkoff