Board of Directors

Cross Border Jurists

Board of Directors

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Mehmet Bakır ÖZKAN

(Co-Chair)

He was born in 1975 in Varto. He is married and the father of two children. He graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Law in 1997…

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He was born in 1975 in Varto. He is married and the father of two children.

He graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Law in 1997. In 2003, he completed his master’s degree in Marmara University, Institute of Social Sciences, Department of Public Law with his thesis on “Problems of the Turkish Criminal Justice in the Framework of the Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the Right to a Fair Trial”.

He worked as a judge / prosecutor in different cities of Turkey between January 2001 and July 2016. He carried out domestic and international works and studies on corruption-related crimes.

He participated in domestic and international studies on the control of communication and the use of digital data in criminal procedure and served as an educator on the same field.

His mother tongue is Kurdish (Kurmanji) and he can speak Turkish, as well as German, Zazaki and his English level is intermediate.

He was dismissed from his job and deprived of his freedom, like thousands of members of the judiciary, on the pretext of the coup attempt in 2016 by the Turkish political power forces. He still carries out academic and civil studies on human rights along with his foreign language studies.

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Melike DEMİR

(Co-Chair)

She graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Law in 2011. She completed her master’s degree in Public Law at Yıldırım Beyazıt University in 2016…

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She graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Law in 2011. She completed her master’s degree in Public Law at Yıldırım Beyazıt University in 2016. Between 2013 and 2016, she served as an investigative judge at the Council of State. After the 15 July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, she was detained on the charges of carrying out a coup and being a member of an armed terrorist organization on 19 July 2016 without relying on any evidence, ignoring the principles of national and international law.

After completely unlawful filings and processes, she was dismissed from her post on July 16, 2016, and later on, she was purged, sharing the same fate with nearly 4,500 colleagues who shared the same fate as her, violating all her constitutional rights.

She is fluent in French and intermediate in English.

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Tuğba DEMİR

Board Member

She graduated from Uludag University Faculty of Law in 2012. She started her master’s degree in the field of Public Law at Erzincan University, but she…

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She graduated from Uludag University Faculty of Law in 2012.

She started her master’s degree in the field of Public Law at Erzincan University, but she had to leave her master’s degree unfinished due to the coup theater in 2016.

She served as a judge in Niğde and Erzurum Courthouses between 2014-2016.

After the 15 July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, she was detained on charges of membership in an armed terrorist organization without relying on any evidence, ignoring the principles of national and international law.

She dismissed from her post, and was later purged, like his 4500 colleagues who shared the same fate, in violation of his constitutional rights.

She speaks intermediate level English and German. She is married with one child.

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Esma ÜÇLER KOÇ

Board Member

She graduated from Marmara University Faculty of Law in 2009. She worked as a lawyer between 2012-2013 and she served as a judge between 2014-2016…

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She graduated from Marmara University Faculty of Law in 2009.

She worked as a lawyer between 2012-2013 and she served as a judge between 2014-2016.

Following the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, she was detained on October 14, 2016 without any concrete evidence, ignoring the principles of national and international law, and was subsequently arrested.

She was deprived of her liberty for 16 months in the worst prison conditions.

She purged from her post on October 14, 2016, and was later purged, like his 4500 colleagues who shared the same fate, in violation of his constitutional rights.

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Hilal ÜNAL OCAK

Board Member

She was born in Kırıkkale in 1989. She graduated from Konya Selçuk University Law Faculty in 2012. She started to work as a Judge in Mersin in 2014…

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She was born in Kırıkkale in 1989.

She graduated from Konya Selçuk University Law Faculty in 2012.

She started to work as a Judge in Mersin in 2014.

In the ongoing process after 15 July 2016, she was detained on the charge of being a member of an armed terrorist organization, unjustly and unlawfully, without any reasonable and legal justification.

She was deprived of her freedom for 16 months under completely harsh and inhuman conditions that amounted to torture.

Like thousands of her colleagues who shared the same fate, she was purged from the profession of judge, disregarding her constitutional rights.

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Saim NERGİZ

Board Member

He was born in Diyarbakır in 1971, and graduated from Dokuz Eylül University History Department and Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Law…

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He was born in Diyarbakır in 1971, and graduated from Dokuz Eylül University History Department and Dokuz Eylül University Faculty of Law. He also completed his master’s degree at Dokuz Eylul University. He started his law career as an intern judge after exam he passed judgeship exam in 1998.

He served as Judge and Head of High Criminal Court in different cities of Turkey. He took part in many projects during his tenure. He was dismissed from his profession and deprived of his freedom as a victim of the plot staged by the political power with its collaborators in the judiciary on 16 July 2016.

After his captivity ended, he volunteered to help of thousands of victims` legal matters. He continues to work in the field of human rights law. He speaks intermediate level English and German.

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Esat ÖZDEM

Board Member

He was born in Ağrı, in 1969. He is married and the father of three kids. He became a Judge in 1992, and worked in the legal field as a successful judge in…

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He was born in Ağrı, in 1969. He is married and the father of three kids.

He became a Judge in 1992, and worked in the legal field as a successful judge in the different cities of Turkey until July 15, 2016.

He was granted Education Formation Certificate after he participated Education of Educators` Seminars organized by Gazi University in 2005.

He taught Family, Inheritance, Non-Profit Organizations laws and Civil Procedure between the years 2008 and 2015.

He took part in the project titled ` The Prevention of Violence Against Women and Child Abuse` which organized in collaboration between the Swedish Helsingborg courthouse and the Sincan courthouse and supported by European Union.

On 17 December 2013, an investigation was launched by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against the people who were among the ministers and members of the ruling party. After this investigation, the government used its majority in the parliament for its favor and made important changes in legal and administrative institutions. The ruling party caused disunities in the judiciary system by using the means and power of the Ministry of Justice. All members of the judiciary were labeled as those who close to the government and those who are not by the government. Members of the judiciary, who were labeled, were dismissed by accusing them as terrorist and using the so- called coup attempt.

Esat Özdem was dismissed from his job as a judge, which he enjoyed and successfully practiced, on 15 July 2016, ignoring all of his job-related guarantees and legal rights.

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Osman Nesuh YILDIZ

Board Member

Osman Nesuh Yıldız graduated from Istanbul University Law School in 2001. Then, he completed his master education on private law in Kocaeli…

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Osman Nesuh Yıldız graduated from Istanbul University Law School in 2001. Then, he completed his master education on private law in Kocaeli University School of Social Sciences in 2014. While he was working on his PhD thesis in Kocaeli University after the failed so-called coup attempt in July 15 2016, he was dismissed from the university in the aftermath of the coup attempt; therefore he couldn’t complete his PhD.

He worked as a judge in courts in various cities of Turkey between 2004 and 2011. Then, he worked as a specialist in the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) between 2011 and 2014. In 2015, he was appointed as public prosecutor to Erzurum without his request and while working as a Judge in Yalova city courts. After that, he was also appointed on temporary duty  to one of the small towns in Erzurum called Karayazı. In July 2016, he was dismissed from his job.

He had attended to European Court of Justice as an intern between March and April 2013.

Between 2012 and 2013, he worked as a member of the Consultative Council of European Judges (CCEJ). In this position, he took part in the preparation of Opinion 16 called “Relations between Judges and Lawyers.”

Between 2012 and 2014 he attended meetings of the European Networks of Councils for the Judiciary (ENSJ) representing the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) from Turkey  and he took active parts in the preparation of ENCJ’s annual reports between those years.

After the failed coup attempt in July 2016, he was taken into custody and detained for 17 months based on the accusations of attempting a coup and being a member of an organized and armed terrorist organization without any solid evidence and against all national and international judicial procedures and norms.

He was dismissed from his job along with his 4500 colleagues, judges and prosecutors, on 16 July 2016, based on illegally compiled blacklists and processes in violation Turkish Constitutional rights. .

He is fluent in English and speaks German. He is married with three children.

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Dr. Hasan DURSUN

Board Member

He graduated from Marmara University Faculty of Law in 2001. He completed his master’s degree in field of civil law at Gazi University Institute of Social…

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He graduated from Marmara University Faculty of Law in 2001. He completed his master’s degree in field of civil law at Gazi University Institute of Social Sciences in 2007.

He completed his doctorate in Ankara University Institute of Social Sciences in the field of Public Law in 2016.

His legal articles have been published in various academic journals.

Between 2004 and July 2016, he worked as a prosecutor in different cities of Turkey. Between 2011 and 2014, he served as an expert in the Council of Judges and Prosecutors.

During his tenure, he took an active role in the in-service training activities of both courthouse personnel and judicial law enforcement officers.

In the framework of these duties, he gave lectures on how to serve better in the context of fundamental rights and freedoms.

He was an intern at the European Court of Human Rights from January- June 2012.

On 15-25 September 2013, he participated in the “Access to Justice” training program at T.M.C Asser Institute in Hague, Netherlands.

In 2012-2013, he served as a member of the European Consultative Council of Prosecutors (CCPE) the Council of Europe. Within the framework of this duty, he actively participated in the reporting of the Opinion No. 8 on “Prosecution and Media Relations” prepared by the CCPE.

After the 15 July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, he was detained and arrested on the charges of carrying out a coup and being a member of an armed terrorist organization on 16 July 2016 without relying on any evidence, ignoring the principles of national and international law. He was imprisoned for 30 months under harsh conditions.

After completely unlawful filings and processes, he was dismissed from his post on July 16, 2016, and later on, he was expelled, sharing the same fate with nearly 4,500 colleagues who shared the same fate as him, violating all his constitutional rights.

He speaks fluent English and intermediate German, is married and has two children.

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Ömer BOZOĞLU

Board Member

He was born in Karacasu in 1980. He is married and the father of two kids. He finished Marmara University’s faculty of law. Bozoğlu completed Turkey’s…

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He was born in Karacasu in 1980. He is married and the father of two kids.

He finished Marmara University’s faculty of law. Bozoğlu completed Turkey’s Justice Academy as a 2nd semester graduate in 2006. He completed his Master’s degree in 2010 at Selçuk University’s Liberal Arts Institute in the field of Special European Union Law.

He completed a law internship between 2003-2004, and finished his magistracy and prosecution internship between 2005-2006.

He served as a public prosecutor in various cities in Turkey in 2006-2012.

He was a military prosecutor at the 7th Army Corp in the city of Diyarbakır between 2007-2008.

He was a reporter judge in the 7th Criminal  Division of  Supreme Court and General Directorate of Prisons and Detention House between 2012-2014.

He worked as a public prosecutor in Muğla/Marmaris and İstanbul/Gaziosmanpaşa between January 2014 and July 2016.

While he was working in Marmaris, he perfectly finalized the investigations of advanced organized crimes.

During his tenure, he took an active role in the education of doctors who prepare forensic reports  within the scope of Istanbul Protocol.

He got education on the field of the investigation techniques of human trafficking and immigrant smuggling in April 2009.

In May 2009 he participated in the educational meetings of the application of Istanbul Protocol and prevention of torture.

He worked on a Project jointly handled by Euro Just in January 2010.

In March 2013 he participated in the certificate programs of European Prison Rules and other international standards, effective administration of prisons, and effective leadership and service standards.

In October 2013, he attended the High Security Execution Institution’s Safety Raising program.

He contributed to improving prison conditions, and establishing attorney meeting rooms, family meeting rooms, and SEGBIS rooms.

After the coup attempt of 15 July 2016 in Turkey, he was detained and arrested on the charges of carrying out a coup and being a member of an armed terrorist organization on 16 July 2016 without relying on any evidence, ignoring the principles of national and international law. He was imprisoned in Silivri Prison for 14 months under harsh conditions during the State of Emergency.

After completely unlawful labeling and processes, he was dismissed from his duty on July 16, 2016, and later on, on August 24, 2016, he was dismissed from the profession of the Public Prosecutor by violating his all Constitutional rights.

He currently is learning English and German.

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Çiğdem TURAN ÖNELGE

Board Member

She graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Law in 2012 and served as a judge from 2014 to 2016.
After the coup attempt of 15 July 2016 in Turkey

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She graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Law in 2012 and served as a judge from 2014 to 2016.


After the coup attempt of 15 July 2016 in Turkey, she was detained and arrested on charges of attempting to stage a coup on 11 August 2016 without any evidence and being a member of an armed terrorist organization, ignoring the principles of national and international law and the guarantees of judgeship. He was unlawfully detained for 21 months.
Like thousands of judges who shared the same fate as her, all her constitutional rights were violated and she was expelled from the profession of judge, which she loved to practice.
She has an intermediate level of English and is still studying German.