Citation: 2020 RLLR 127
Tribunal: Refugee Protection Division
Date of Decision: November 16, 2020
Panel: Josée Bouchard
Counsel for the Claimant(s): Rebeka Lauks
RPD Number: TB8-30121
Associated RPD Number(s):
ATIP Number: A-2021-01106
ATIP Pages: 000071-000076
 MEMBER: This is the decision for following Claimant, [XXX], File Number TB8-30121. You are claiming to be a citizen of Turkey and are claiming refuge protection pursuant to section 96 and 97 (1) one of the Immigration and Refuge Protection Act. I have considered your testimony and the other evidence in the case. And I am ready to render my decision orally. I find that you have established a serious possibility of persecution in Turkey by virtue of your imputed political opinion and your membership in a particular social group namely because of your familiar relationship to your father. The specifics of your claim are said out in the narrative of your Basis of Claim Form filed as Exhibit 2. The following is a summary your allegations.
 You are a citizen of Turkey. You fear persecution at the hands of Turkish authorities and members of the Justice and Development Party or AKP… AKP. Because of your imputed political opinion as a former [XXX] who is perceived to be a member or supporter of Gulenist Movement and oppose to the government and AKP… AKP. You also allege a fear of persecution at the hands of Turkish Authorities and Members of the AKP because of your membership with the particular social group namely your familiar relationship to your father who is under investigation for his imputed membership in the Gulenist Movement. You allege that there is no state protection for you or an Internal Flight Alternative. Your personal identity as a citizen of Turkey has been established by your testimony and the supporting documents filed as Exhibit 1, namely your passport issued by the government of Turkey and your Turkish Identity Card. I find that on the balance of probabilities, identity and country of reference have been established. I find that there is a link between what you fear in one of grounds under section 96 of the Immigration and Refuge Protection Act, namely political opinion and membership in a particular social group. Therefore, I assessed your claim under section 96 of that act. The test under section 96, is whether there is a serious possibility of persecution should you return to Turkey and I have found that you have met that test.
 In terms of your general credibility, I found you to be a credible witness and I therefore believe what you have alleged in your total… oral testimony in your Basis of Claim Form. Your evidence was detailed and consistent both internally and with your documentation. Throughout the hearing you were articulate, responsive and forthright. You are able to elaborate on your narrative and gave detailed explanations to the questions. Your claim was well supported and I know that no material inconsistencies or omissions searched at presumption of truthfulness could be rebutted.
 Specifically you have established on a balance of probabilities of following. In [XXX] 2012, you joined Turkish Armed Forces as a [XXX]. You were also chosen to attend in [XXX] 2016, training at the [XXX] (phonetics) second main [XXX]. You filed documents in support of this claim. You heard about the July 15, 2016 coup attempt which according to the authorities, more specifically the Justice And Development Party or AKP was conducted by the Gulenist Movement. You heard about the attempt that day while visiting your parents. Your [XXX] ordered you to return to the [XXX] which you did that day. You were ordered to stay at the [XXX] until [XXX] 2016. On July 31, 2016, Decree 669 ordered the closer of ail military schools and aca… academies. All cadets of military academies and military high schools including [XXX] were dismissed from the military. You filed excerpts of Decree 669 in support of your claim. The stated aim of the decree was to take the necessary measures to fight against terrorism. The AKP in power during attempted coup blamed the Gulenist Movement and labelled it a terrorist movement. You justified that the dismissed [XXX] were perceived as affiliated to a terrorist organisation the Gulenist Movement. Decree 669 provided that senior [XXX] up to graduate would still receive Diplomas from different Universities.
 You received your Diploma from [XXX] University in [XXX]. The Diploma states that it is issued pursuant to Decree 669. You filed the Diploma as an exhibit. You believe that, this confirms that you have been a permanently blacklisted by the regime as a terrorist. You had several former [XXX] classmates who have had to flee Turkey and become refugees elsewhere who have been killed by lynching and who have been sentenced to life imprison for their imputed affiliation with the Gulenist Movement. In [XXX] 2017, you filed a petition to the Ankara 6th administrative court to get reinstated into the military. You filed as an exhibit the decision of the court rejecting your petition. On [XXX] 2018, the police raided the house of your closest friend and former [XXX] classmate. He had to flee to Germany, where he is now a refugee. That is when you realize that you would also be targeted. On [XXX] 2018, arrest warrants were released for 120 [XXX]. You hid until you had the means to leave for Canada on [XXX] 2018.
 In [XXX] 2020, your uncle and father informed you that there is a warrant for your arrest. Your father tried to get further information about the charges, but was not provided with such information. You filed statements from your uncle and father and supported this claim along with an official document informing your father that the charges against you are confidential, but providing a file number for the case against you.
 Before the coup attempt, your father was a [XXX] in the General Directorate of [XXX]. He was dismissed on [XXX] 2017 by decree 679. He later learned that… that he was named as Gulenist Movement follower. Your father filed a petition to the Ankara 16th administrative court to be reinstated into the [XXX]. You filed as an exhibit the decision of the Ankara 16th administrative court, rejecting your father’s petition. You filed the decision of the Ankara 25th administrative court supporting your claim that there is an on-going investigation into your father’s imputed involvement with the Gulenist Movement. You testified that one of your former [XXX] classmates was arrested just last week by the Turkish authorities.
 You also produced a significant amount of documentation in support of your claim. These documents include the following filed as Exhibit 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3, your [XXX] identification card supporting the claim that you were a [XXX] in the [XXX]. The authorities in Turkey announced that 95 percent of [XXX] were followers of the Gulenist Movement. Your [XXX] and [XXX] indicating that they were issued in accordance with decree 669. Your Turkish [XXX] student vacation document confirming that you stayed at the [XXX] (phonetics) second main [XXX] for two weeks following the coup attempt.
 Record document from the Ankara 16th administrative court, supporting the claim that your father petitioned to reverse your dismissal as a [XXX]. A letter of support from a close friend and former [XXX] supporting the claim that he was targeted by the authorities and is now a refugee in Germany. It also supports that the claim that some of your former [XXX] colleagues were sentenced to life imprisonment after the coup attempt.
 Letters from your and uncles supporting the claim that in [XXX] 2020, the authorities approached your uncle looking for you and told your uncle that there was an arrest warrant against you. A petition made by your father in [XXX] 2020, requesting to know the crime for which you are sought by police, the authorities released the number of the case against you, but no further information. Documents supporting your claim that your father was [XXX] with the General Directorate of [XXX] that he was suspended after the attempted coup and eventually dismissed. A decision from the 25th administrative court of Ankara from the summer of 2020 supporting a claim that there is an on-going investigation against your father. There is no reason for me to cast any doubt on the voracity of these documents and as such, I pla… place great weight on these documents to support the allegation and overall claim.
 I find that your subjective fear is established by your credible testimony and I believe what you have alleged on a balance of probabilities. The objective country reports are consistent with your evidence about the plight of former [XXX] who are imputed to be followers of the Gulenist Movement. The National Documentation package for Turkey dated March 31st, 2020 at exhibit 3 item 1.7 states that the Gulenist Movement is a term used to describe those who follow the US based Islamic Cleric Fethullah Gulen. The movement is not a political party neither is it a religion. The Gulenist Movement is believed to have a large number of sympathizers in Turkey, some estimate the number to be in millions.
 In May 2016, the Turkish government declared that the Gulenist Movement was an illegal terrorist organisation and in June 2017, the Supreme Court appeal ruled that the Gulenist Movement is an armed terrorist organisation. The coup attempt of the 15th July, 2016 was attributed by the Turkish Government to members of Gulenist Movement. A state of emergency was put in place in Turkey a few days after the coup. And this has been renewed since then. By September 2017, 21 emergency decrees had been issued and the scope of the emergency law had been broadened to include those who belong to, connect to or have contact with the Gulenist Movement. One of the emergency decrees provided that, officials involving… involved in putting down the coup, tackling-related threats and implementing state of emergency measures would not face prosecution. Since the 2016 coup attempt, authorities have dismissed or suspended more than 45,000 police and military personnel, and more than 130,000 civil servants, dismissed one-third of the judiciary, arrested or imprisoned more than 80,000 citizens and closed more than 1,500 non-governmental organisations on terrorism-related grounds primarily for alleged ties to the movement of cleric Fethullah Gulen whom the government accuses of masterminding the coup attempt and designated by the government as the leader of the Fethullah terrorist organisation.
 Exhibit 3, item 8.7 states that in the period between the unsuccessful coup in 2016 and March 2017, the Turkish government fired more than 22,000 sol… officers, soldiers, and cadets for alleged links with the Gulen Movement. In March 2017, the then Turkish Minister for National Defense announced that those fired consisted of 6,511 officers and 16,409 soldiers and military cadets. The latter group consisted of 4090 cadets at military colleges, 6,148 training centres for non-commissioned officers including privates and corporals and 6,179 at University Military Training Institutions.
 In January 2019, the Turkish authorities reported that at least 58 Generals and 629 Senior Officers have been sentenced to life imprisonment for involvement in the failed coup and for links with the Gulenist Movement. In January 2019, the Turkish authority also arrested 63 people on charges of involvement with the Gulenist Movement including 46 helicopter pilots in active service. Earlier that month, more than 100 soldiers and former cadets at Military Training Institutions were arrested throughout Turkey.
 The claimant filed at Exhibits 5.1 and 5.2, several recent articles about the continued persecution of former military cadets. For instance in September 2017, internet news reported that arrest warrants have been released for 69 former cadets. In November 2017, Turkish media Memurlar reported that 30 cadets were among the 240 taken into custody. In December 2017, Memurlar reported that dismissed cadets were among 62 suspects taken into custody. In March 2018, the Turkish states news agency Anadolu agency reported that former cadets were among the 19 suspects arrested in Manisa and Usak. In March 2018, Anadolu reported that among 35 suspects apprehended for their imputed support of the Gulenist Movement were dismissed soldiers and military school students. In March 2018, The World Bulletin reported among 20 suspects arrested in the northern Kastamonu province were on duty soldiers and former cadets. In June 2018, a pro-Turkish news agency The Daily Sabah, reported that former military cadets were among the 102 suspects for which arrests warrants were issued. On July 3rd, 2018, Anadolu reported that a dismiss cadet was among the 13 suspects arrested in Eastern Turkey.
 You feel being targeted by the Turkish authorities for imputed political opinion, but also for your relationship with your father who is targeted for his imputed membership into the Gulenist Movement.
 The NDP or National Documentation Package for Turkey and Exhibit 3 at item 2.1 provides a basis for that fear. United States Department of State report notes that family members of targeted individuals are also at risk of persecution. It states that, using anti-terror legislation, the government targeted family members to exert pressure on wanted suspects. Government measures included cancelling the passports of family members of civil servants suspended or dismissed from state institutions as well as those who had fled authorities.
 Exhibit 3 item 13.6, the United Kingdom’s Home Office reports that members of families of people who are critical of the government will be targeted. If the police cannot find the person they are looking for, they will take another family member. This was very common during the emergency. Families were threatened by phone and their houses were raided. A report of the Asylum Research Consultancy found at Exhibit 3 item 1.4 also notes following his visit to Turkey in September 2016, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights found that a series of measures of particular concern to the commissioner are those which target directly or are liable to affect family members of suspects in an automatic fashion.
 In addition to the evictions termination of lease agreement and freezing up assets of the said suspects, which are likely to create unnecessary hardship and victimisation for family members. The commissioner notes other measures of an administrative nature such as a possibility of annulling passports of spouses of suspects who are themselves not under investigation and the unlimited access by administrative authorities to the personal data of family members of suspects. This approach raises extremely serious concerns. The commissioner is worried that such measures will inevitably fuel the impression of guilt by association already voiced by many of their interlocutors. In the opinion of the commissioner, any measure treating family members of a suspect also as potential suspect should not exist in democratic society even during a state of emergency.
 As you have established, your subjective fear and an objective basis for that fear, I find you will have established of well-founded fear of persecution.
 I turn now to state protection. When making a refugee claim, the claimant must establish on a balance of probabilities that adequate state protection is not available. There is a presumption that state protection is available and the onus is on the claimant to provide and clear and convincing evidence to be part of such… such protection.
 In this case, the agent of persecution is the state that is the persecution you would face should you return to Turkey as at the hand of authorities. This is supported in part by the investigation conducted by the authorities against the claimant’s father for his imputed political opinion as a supporter of the Gulenist Movement and also the evidence said that there is an arrest warrant against you for your imputed political opinion as a supporter of the Gulenist Movement. The country condition documents outlined in this decision also support the claim that the authorities are the perpetrators and persecutors of those involved or perceived to be involved in the Gulenist Movement.
 Accordingly, I find that there is no state protection available for you. I have also considered whether a viable Internal Flight Alternative exists for you, the agent of persecution is the Turkish government. The evidence reviewed above confirms that oppressive treatment of those suspected of supporting the Gulen Movement is nationwide. I find that there is a serious possibility of persecution for you throughout tricky and therefore find that there is no viable Internal Flight Alternative.
 In conclusion, based on the totality of the evidence, I find you to be a convention refugee because you have demonstrated a serious possibility of persecution in Turkey by virtue of your imputed political opinion and membership in a particular social group, namely your familial relationship with your father who is imputed to be a supporter of the Gulenist Movement. I accept your claim.
 CLAIMANT: Thank you very much.
 COUNSEL: Thank you Madam Member.
 MEMBER: Welcome to Canada.
 CLAIMANT: Thank you so much.
 MEMBER: Thank you very much for your detailed testimony. (voice overlapping). Thank you Mr. Interpreter for coming at the last minute and doing such a good job on the interpretation.
 INTERPRETER: Thank you Madam.
 MEMBER: And thank you Counsel, this was a very well documented file. And 1. 1 thank you for your work.
 COUNSEL: Thank you.
 MEMBER: And this concludes our hearing.
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