Turkey: Alarming Deterioration of Rights – Coup Attempt No Justification for Crackdown on Peaceful Critics

Riot police use tear gas to disperse protesting employees and supporters of Zaman newspaper in front of its headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, early March 5, 2016. REUTERS photo
Riot police use tear gas to disperse protesting employees and supporters of Zaman newspaper in front of its headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey, early March 5, 2016. REUTERS photo


Date posted: January 12, 2017

Human Rights Watch Report

(Istanbul) –Turkey’s president and government instrumentalized the violent military coup attempt of July 2016 to crack down on human rights and dismantle basic democratic safeguards, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017.

In the last six months of the year, the government carried out mass arrests of journalists, closed multiple media outlets, and jailed elected opposition politicians. It dismissed or detained without due process over 100,000 civil servants including teachers, judges and prosecutors, suspended hundreds of nongovernmental groups, and consolidated government control over the courts.

“Instead of building on the cross-party unity opposed to the coup to strengthen democracy, Turkey’s government has opted for a ruthless crackdown on critics and opponents,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “With hundreds of thousands of people dismissed or detained without due process, an independent media silenced and Kurdish opposition members of parliament in jail, Turkey has been plunged into its worst crisis in a generation.”

In the 687-page World Report, its 27th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth writes that a new generation of authoritarian populists seeks to overturn the concept of human rights protections, treating rights as an impediment to the majority will. For those who feel left behind by the global economy and increasingly fear violent crime, civil society groups, the media, and the public have key roles to play in reaffirming the values on which rights-respecting democracy has been built.

The attempted coup left at least 241 citizens and government law enforcement officers dead. The coup plotters used fighter jets to bomb Turkey’s parliament. In the aftermath, the government declared a state of emergency, jailed thousands of soldiers, and embarked on a wholesale purge of public officials, police, teachers, judges and prosecutors. The government misused terrorism laws against followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom the government accuses of masterminding the July coup attempt, The mass arrests and removal of safeguards against detainee abuse led to rising reports of torture and other ill-treatment in custody.

The escalating conflict in the predominantly Kurdish southeast of Turkey during 2016 also led to serious and widespread human rights violations in the region followed by a harsh crackdown on the Kurdish political movement and the jailing of thousands of Kurdish activists, among them democratically elected members of parliament and mayors. In 2016 repeated bombings in Turkey’s major cities by individuals with alleged affiliations to the extremist group ISIS or the Kurdish militant group TAK led to hundreds of deaths.

Turkey also continued to host 2.7 million refugees from Syria while entering an agreement with the EU to accept forcible returns of refugees who had crossed into Greece. Reports also persisted throughout the year of Turkish border guards pushing back refugees at the Syrian border and shooting at several refugees seeking to cross to safety in Turkey.

Source: Human Rights Watch , January 12, 2017


Related News

Gülen’s attorney: Media speculation about extradition not true

The lawyer of Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen said in a statement on Monday that the speculation in the media regarding the extradition of his client is far from the truth and that the extradition request itself is unlawful.

Gülen calls on int’l community to pressure Turkey over rights violations

Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has made a call to the international community, asking them to warn Turkish authorities to take the necessary measures to restore the rule of law and protect fundamental human rights in the country.

With Husband Already In Jail, Woman Along With Two Children Detained In Post-Coup Witch Hunt

Nearly seven months after former public worker B.K. was arrested, his wife and two children were also detained as part of a government witch hunt against the Gülen movement. She is also diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Portrait of an Anatolian Muslim with no schooling*

It seems like this season is a season for losing fathers. Yesterday, like many friends around me, I too lost my father. All fathers are great, but mine was different, an extraordinarily good person. He had a finger in every innovation that was brought to the village. Although he never went to school, he could speak and write in Ottoman and [modern] Turkish. He would read history books for the curious in the house.

A Different Kind of Coup? Why You Should Care About A “Reclusive” Turkish Imam in Pennsylvania

We should consider not only what people say about Fethullah Gülen, but what he says himself. Decades of speeches and publications make this possible and reveal certain attributes. For example, Gülen advocates a form of Sufi humanism. He seeks collaborative relationships across religious, cultural, and national borders. He is concerned about the poor and marginalized around the world.

Gülen-linked GYV brings message of peace, dialogue to polarized Turkey

The 20th anniversary of the traditional annual dinner hosted by the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV), whose honorary chairman is Fethullah Gülen, was held on Tuesday in İstanbul, with a message focusing on peace, solidarity and dialogue against the backdrop of a highly politicized climate that has recently divided and polarized Turkish society. “Let’s emphasize […]

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

Filipina, infant freed from Turkish jail, but…

Eid-al Adha Holiday Tradition Benefits Local Soup Kitchen

Coup and Countercoup in Turkey

Toward the ‘Mubarak model’

Mining disaster victims commemorated by Senegalese students

Turkish finance minister declines to comment on ‘color lists’

Turkey’s Erdoğan Regime Extends Post-Coup Witch Hunt Targeting Gülen Followers Abroad

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News