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

4 people trying to escape persecution in Turkey missing after boat capsizes in Evros River

A woman and her three children went missing after a boat carrying several Turkish asylum seekers who fled Turkey due to an ongoing government crackdown on followers of the Gülen movement capsized in the Evros River along the Turkey-Greece border on Wednesday night, Euronews Turkish reported.

17th TUSKON trade summit sees 25,000 B2B meetings

The 17th edition of the Turkey-World Trade Bridge summit, organized by the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), saw 1,160 foreign and 1,000 Turkish businesspeople discuss partnerships in an estimated 25,000 separate meetings on Thursday. The first day of meetings at the event brought businesspeople from a number of sectors, including textile and machinery, […]

Pak-Turk school teachers to be deported as Erdogan visits Pakistan

“PakTurk International Schools and Colleges are deeply concerned over the abrupt decision of the Government requiring the Turkish teachers, management and their family members numbering to approximately 450 individuals including the school-going children, infants and ladies to leave the country within three days – an extraordinary time constraint – in consequence of non-approval of their requests for extension of visa.

Education [for Kurds] in mother tongue

The Wise People Commission has prepared a report on its two months of work and submitted it to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. What does Turkey — east and west — think about the settlement? What are the basic expectations and demands? How will concerns that the country could be partitioned be eliminated? Will Turkey […]

World’s oldest temple closed to visitors due to excavation team links with Gülen

Gobekli Tepe, the world’s oldest temple at more than 11,000 years, has been closed to visitors for 15 months due to alleged links of the excavation team leader and sub-contractor to the faith-based Gülen movement.

Turkey: Babies behind bars

Huseyin Sahnaz is seriously worried about his wife and infant child. After all, prisons are not exactly family-friendly institutions. Both have to share a cell with 30 other inmates. And temperatures during this time of year tend to reach 30 degrees Celsius (around 90 Fahrenheit) or higher.

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

Parents criticize gov’t-led police raids on educational institutions

Samples of Kimse Yok Mu Ramadan Aid Activities Worldwide (I)

Kimse Yok Mu delivers humanitarian assistance to Yazidis, Turkmens

Ahmet Şık’s book and Ergenekon’s media campaign (2)

A Genocide in the Making – Genocidal action stage by stage by the Turkish government against the Hizmet movement

Outgoing chairman proudly admits Istanbul Bar Association refused to serve Gülen followers

Pak Turk Schools employees in UN protection after visa extensions turned down

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News