Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a statement assessing the developments in Turkey within the last two days and stated that these developments point out the deepening of the crackdown.
a statement on the operation against Cumhuriyet, shutdown of the
media outlets and the arrest of co-mayors of Diyarbakir, HRW stated
that these developments prove the deepening of the crackdown led by
the government and the president in Turkey.
HRW, in a statement assessing the recent developments, stated: “Targeting one of Turkey’s last independent opposition newspapers with ludicrous charges shows the depths of the Turkish government and president’s crackdown.”
Emma Sinclair-Webb, Turkey director at Human Rights Watch, stated: “Over 160 media outlets have been closed down since the failed coup, and there are few critical voices that have not been ruthlessly silenced.”
Webb also added: “Jailing elected mayors and the assault on independent media seriously call into question whether Turkey’s political leaders have any regard for basic democratic principles.”
HRW also pointed out that 15 media outlets, majority of them being pro-Kurdish, had been shut down during the weekend, before the operation against Cumhuriyet was launched.
“Kurdish voters' will is denied”
Noting that co-mayors of Diyarbakir Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı are arrested on trumped up charges of “membership of an armed organization”, HRW stated that this “is the most dramatic evidence to date of the government’s willingness to deny the people of southeastern Turkey the right to democratically-elected political representatives.”
Reminding that Kışanak and Anlı were elected by getting 55% of the votes in the election 2014, HRW pointed out that the co-mayors “will be replaced with government-approved trustees.”
“Investigations and prosecutions are arbitrary”
Noting that trustees had been assigned to 27 municipalities in the southeast of Turkey, HRW pointed out that “the mayors removed were elected by an estimated 1,959,000 voters.”
“The jailing of Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı without credible evidence of criminal wrongdoing is the most dramatic evidence to date of the government’s willingness to deny the people of southeastern Turkey the right to democratically-elected political representatives,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb.
HRW reminded that “Turkey is a member of the Council of Europe and the Organization on Security and Co-operation in Europe, and a party to several human rights treaties, including the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Following the attempted coup on July 15, the government declared a state of emergency and invoked its right to temporarily place extraordinary restrictions on (i.e. derogate from) some of the standards in the treaties. But its actions do not reflect any good faith effort to respect its human rights obligations. On the contrary, the actions clearly violate many guarantees, including the rights to freedom of expression, liberty, and security, and access to justice.”