Migration Monitoring Association (Göç-İz), founded in Istanbul in 2016, aims to strengthen solidarity among groups forced to migrate and to advocate for their demands for a better life. Documentation, witnessing and reporting within the domain of forced migration are their main activities that contribute to memorialization. Until now, Göç-İz has faced two trials related to the activities they have conducted. The executives of the association were fined for violating the Law on Associations. The association is undergoing an investigation regarding the “public degradation of the military or security forces of the state” allegation.
Göç-İz started their activities around forced migration as a form of human rights violation five years ago. The association aims to support survivors of human rights violations and abuses in their quest for justice, to strengthen collective memory around these violations and abuses in service of peace and democracy. It strives towards recognition and reparations of grave violations of human rights.
Forced migration in the context of Turkey mostly refers to the population movements enforced by public officers in the Kurdish provinces between the years 1989-1999. Göç-İz not only searches for ways to ameliorate the lives of Kurdish citizens who had been subjected to expropriation and deskilling for the past ten years (including searching for ways for voluntary return, demining of villages and other areas etc.) but also makes recommendations for reckoning with the past and document migration movements currently taking place.
One of the most recent activities of Göç-İz was the drafting of Edirne Refugees Observation Report which compiled data from onsite monitoring of incidents that took place in March 2020 following the opening of borders. Göç-İz published another report on June 25, 2019 from the data collected and observations made during curfews declared in 2015-2016. The report focuses on the human rights violations experienced by women during this period and builds on 480 interviews conducted with women living in the provinces and districts of Diyarbakır, Mardin, Hakkari and Şırnak, along with others living in İstanbul, Mersin and Van. The Internal Migration Report published the same year reflected on migration tendencies by surveying bus passengers leaving from 8 provinces that have the highest rate of migration to other cities.
Çobandüzü (Hespenek) village in Erciş distrcit of Van was raided by the gendarmerie in November 2018 and resulted in burning down a house in the village. The family whose house was burnt down had to leave the village. Göç-İz published their analysis-evaluation of the incidents following the operation. Also in 2019, they published the “Guide on Right to Legal Remedies for the Forcibly Displaced in Turkey”.
Following an audit and report drafted the by the Ministry of the Interior on March 4, 2020 Göç-İz was found to have two unregistered activities and some official documents missing from their records. This led to the Directorate of Provincial Associations to request an investigation on June 4, 2020. This request not only mentions the missing documents but also includes quotations from the guide for survivors of forced migration and the report focusing on curfews and women’s experiences. It claims that the association intends to “create a perception that the legitimate institutions of the state force its own citizens to migrate, that the separatist terrorist organization has legitimacy in pursuit of their activities, and publicly degrade the institutions of the state”.
On September 17, 2020, an investigation was launched by Chief Prosecutor’s Office of Bakırköy addressing the claims that the association was “Violating of the Law on Associations” and “Publicly Degrading the Military or Security Organizations of the State”. On November 27, 2020, 38th Criminal Court of First Instance of Bakırköy decided to fine the executives of the association 15 thousand TL each for violating the Law on Associations. The investigation regarding the “public degradation of the military or security forces of the state” allegation is ongoing.