The Elazig Shelter case was concluded the day before. Unfortunately, what happened in the shelter belonging to the municipality of Elazig, which came to light with its incredible conditions, where thousands of animals died, unfortunately was not corrected even during the long process of litigation. In the hearings, a process similar to the political cases that we had to follow during the last period has been going on for three years. In order to avoid the defendants being punished, the case was concluded in favor of the innocent animals, despite the lawyers and the representatives of the institution who tried to defend themselves with documents which were presented in court with evidence, not on the crime, but with fabricated reports and slanders about the plaintiff. An exemplary decision was made for all shelters in the first lawsuit filed in Turkey against rights violations in shelters. In these established centers for the care and healing of animals, the way to investigate, track and bring to justice experienced negativities, animal mistreatment, deaths and abuse of power is open. This case is a very important step both to raise awareness and lift the shield of impunity, to prevent recklessness, cruelty, lack of scruples, wickedness, torture and violation of the right to life. In fact, it is also a signal to reconsider the titles of the current incomplete and incorrect animal rights law regarding shelters, changing the terms of reference and follow-up regulations.
On the day of the decision, there were riot police outside the courtroom, requests to participate from non-governmental organizations and animal rights bars were denied, attempts were made to prevent lawyers to be admitted to the room. By being protected and guarded as in political cases, the defendants received a sentence of 6 months in prison, which is the lowest limit, and benefited from the adjournment of the verdict. The case, in which two veterinary directors and two shelter workers went on trial, was an incredible process. It turned out that healthy animals got sick, they were not sterilized, drugs were not used, and animals starved and died. For the defense, even an “expert” report that cats naturally eat each other was found and presented in court. At the beginning of the process, a sanction was pronounced in the event that the governorate wanted to ignore it by not giving the authorization to investigate. It is a success. But it is also the beginning of the road.
This success is due to the Angel of the Sanctuary and the defenders of rights that he accompanies in his case. Known for her social media account as Shelter Angel, Türkan Ceylan is an indomitable and struggling young advocate, a helpful person. He is a veterinarian who has just graduated from Elazig Fırat University. Despite numerous slanders, threats and harassments, he followed the legal process he started when he was a student without giving up and completed it as a doctor at the decision stage. He says they will apply to the superior court so that the criminals can get the punishment they deserve, and that they will follow the still-unchanged conditions in the shelter. The failure of the mayor and the authorities to take action to redress this shelter, where 1,062 animals have died in 4 months and animal rights activists have had to file criminal charges again with its terrible conditions, also underlines the fact that only a few people can no longer be responsible for this process, and that it is not closed only with their trial. During the trial, the mayor should consider fixing the wrong button and ironing the shirt instead of taking legal action for every post mentioned about him via social media monitoring. Of course, we have seen and know that he has no conscience, but he must at least realize that he is obligated to protect his right to life and to do his duty. This case is also important for that.
I’m lucky. Because I know Türkan. I am a witness of his own struggle for life, his success, his efforts and his achievements which began in the Kiraz district of Izmir. We owe him a debt of gratitude for the countless lives he has protected since his high school days, achieved the impossible, and moved them from town to town, country to country, and saved their lives. I witnessed the earthquake of Izmir, the forest fires in the Aegean Sea and its insomnia until the last life was saved. He has one of the most sensitive and deep hearts I have ever seen. He is someone who has written his own story working and toiling despite the hardships, but who cannot be comfortable with his successes, always putting his hand under the responsibility of the best. Sometimes I’ve seen him alongside the souls of the streets he didn’t leave behind, and sometimes in the struggle to return tortured elephants across borders to the wild. Evil knows no bounds. He has been the target of many slanders and has been the subject of investigations. He came out of each of them with a flow. Until he is alone in his struggle with a clean conscience, more lawsuits will be won, more lives will be saved. It’s our duty. For kindness will save the world as much as beauty.
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