Why isn’t Yiğit with us?
Yiğit Aksakoğlu was one of 13 academics, rights activists and NGO professionals, including Dean of Bilgi University Law School Prof. Dr. Turgut Tarhanlı and Prof. Dr. Betül Tanbay of the Mathematics Division of Boğaziçi University, and taken into custody during police raids on their residence early on Friday 16 November 2018.
The detainees were informed that they were being investigated under Article 312 of the Turkish penal code, which regulates crimes involving attempts to overthrow government or obstruct its functioning. They were questioned regarding theGezi Park demonstrations of 2013 and alleged connections with Mr. Osman Kavala, who has been in prison pending trial since 2017.
While all other detainees were released during the day or the following day, Yiğit was placed under arrest on Saturday 17 November 2018 by the 6th Magistrates’ Court.
What accusations lead to Yiğit’s arrest?
The justification given for Yiğit’s pre-trial arrest is his alleged moderation of a civil society seminar which, according to the Prosecution, aimed to incite “civil disobedience” and “non-violent action.” The Court has stated that it had not been able to “ascertain the precise nature and proceedings of this seminar” though the Court has stated that it was “persuaded that the activity’s aim was to propagate and deepen Gezi Park demonstrations”. However the criminal nature of the event, the legal basis of the accusations and the existence of valid evidence remains uncertain. Furthermore, no evidence regarding Yiğit’s alleged involvement with Mr. Osman Kavala and Anadolu Kültür (Charity founded & run by Mr. Kavala) has yet been provided by the prosecution.
About Yiğit Aksakoğlu
Yiğit Aksakoğlu is an NGO professional working on rights-based approaches to early child development.He graduated from St. Joseph High School in İzmir in 1994 and continued his education at Yıldız Technical University graduating as a Civil Engineer. During his university studies, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, started his NGO activities through active involvement in AEGEE (Association des Etats Generaux des Etudiants de L’Europe). His line of work was on European integration, youth participation and good governance.
After his graduation from Yıldız Technical University (Istanbul), he continued his post graduate studies at London School of Economics on “NGO Management and Development in Developing Countries”. He worked at TESEV (Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation) and Istanbul Bilgi University’s NGO Training & Research Center professionally. Between 2003 and 2008, he lectured on “Advocacy and Influencing Policy” and “Project Management”. He also published two books in the same period, titled “Advocacy and Influencing Policy” and “Preparing Project Proposals for NGOs”.
Since 2011, he has been working as a consultant and later as the official representative of Netherlands based Bernard van Leer Foundation, working for children aged between 0-3 yrs., in the fields of early childhood development, well-being of mothers and supportive and safe city planning and development.
Yiğit Aksakoğlu is married and has two children.