Prosecutor Seeks Life Imprisonment for Yiğit
Yiğit Aksakoğlu was one of the 13 academics, rights advocates and non-governmental workers who were detained in their homes in a police operation on November 16, 2018. Aksakoğlu spent 221 days in pre-trial solitary confinement.
The prosecutor used Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code “attempt to overthrow the government of Republic of Turkey by using violence” in the indictment, even though no concrete evidence of such actions was presented. According to the indictment, Yiğit Aksakoğlu had carried out the Gezi Park protests that took place in 2013 under the order of Osman Kavala, whom Yiğit had never met and who has been held in detention since 1 November 2017. At the first hearing on 26 June 2019, judges overseeing Aksakoğlu’s trial voted to release him from pre-trial detention. Thus, Yiğit, who reunited with his family, friends, and children, returned to work to continue the projects he developed for children aged 0-3.
On February 6, 2020, the Prosecutor’s Office recommended a sentence of lifetime imprisonment without possibility of parole for Yiğit Aksakoğlu together with Osman Kavala and Mücella Yapıcı. His lawyers, family, and friends are seriously concerned about the case being concluded unfairly under political pressure. Aksakoğlu has dedicated his life to promoting peaceful coexistence and now stands poised to be unjustly convicted for attempting the overthrow of the government through violence.
Following a trial process full of major due process violations, the next, and probably the last, hearing will take place in Silivri on February 18th. On trial day, Yiğit Aksakoğlu and his family need to know that they are not alone.
As friends of Yiğit, we invite the public to watch the hearing on Tuesday, February 18, and to take a stand for law and justice on social media (#yigitisnotalone), by calling and sending emails/tweets to their Embassies in Turkey, and by sending their messages of support to Yiğit and his family on this website.
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.
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News about Yigit's Case in International Media
Le Figaro, “Le pouvoir turc resserre l’étau sur la société civile”, 20 Kasım 2018
Reuters, “Turkey escalates crackdown on dissent six years after Gezi protests”, 19 March 2019
Le Figaro, “Turquie: un des seize accusés du procès Gezi relâché sous contrôle judiciaire”, 26 June 2019
Al-Monitor, “Turkish activists brace for ruling in landmark protest trial”, 11 February 2020