HRW: the crackdown indicates government’s increasing authoritarianism

Human Rights Watch reviews more than 90 country in World Report 2017. HRW, in Turkey chapter of that report, states: “The crackdown that followed the coup attempt was symptomatic of the government’s increasing authoritarianism."

HRW issued a world report for the 27th time this year. In the 687-pages- report, HRW reviewed the violations of rights in more than 90 countries. Turkey is one of them. 

Turkey chapter of the World Report 2017 covers the crackdown after the coup attempt, restraints to freedom of expression and assembly, human rights violations in southeastern cities, arrests of MPs, conditions of refugees, woman's rights and international actors' statements on the developments in Turkey.

The report states that the government uses the coup attempt as means for repressing human rights and abolishing the basic democratic safeguards.

Here are the highlights of the report:

“In the last 6 months, government embarked on a wholesale detention of journalists, closed down many media outlets and arrested the elected opposing politicians.”

“More than 100,000 public officials, including teachers, judges and prosecutors, have been sacked or detained without due processes.”

“Activities of hundreds of civil society organizations are stopped and government's control over the judiciary is solidified.”

“The attempted coup left at least 241 citizens and government law enforcement dead. During the attempted coup fighter jets bombed 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."

"Counter-terrorism law is misused"

"Misusing the counter-terrorism law, the government moved towards the supporters of Fethullah Gülen, the US-based cleric accused of being the mastermind of the attempted coup."

"Reports of torture in detention increased"

"The weakening of safeguards against abuse in detention under the state of emergency was accompanied by increased reports of torture and ill-treatment in police detention, such as beating and stripping detainees, use of prolonged stress positions, and threats of rape, as well as threats to lawyers and interference with medical examinations."

"Turkey temporarily derogated from (asserted the right to place extraordinary restrictions on) many of the protections in the European Convention on Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, although it is prohibited from derogating from core obligations, including the absolute prohibition on torture or ill-treatment of detainees."

"Crackdown on Kurdish political movement"

"Escalation of conflicts in southeastern region, where majority of the population is Kurdish, led to serious and widespread violations of human rights in the region.”

“The crackdown also extended to the pro-Kurdish opposition party, with two leaders and other MPs arrested and placed in pretrial detention, along with many of its elected mayors, denying millions of voters their elected representatives."

"Bomb attacks"

"In 2016, hundreds of people have been killed in the largest cities of Turkey in bomb attacks allegedly carried out by TAK or ISIS."

"Border, refugees"

"While Turkey agreed on a deal with EU implementing the readmission of refugees who went to Greece, Turkey continued to host an estimated 2.7 million Syrian refugees."

"Syrian refugees attempting to cross into Turkey at unofficial crossing points are summarily pushed back into Syria and some asylum seekers and smugglers attempting the crossing have been shot dead or beaten by Turkish border guards."

Roth: media and civil society have important parts to play

HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth stated: "A new generation of authoritarian populists seeks to overturn the concept of human rights protections, treating rights not as an essential check on official power but as an impediment to the majority will."

"This global assault on human rights requires a vigorous reaffirmation and defense of its basic values, with media, civil society, and government all having important parts to play."

Williamson: worst crisis in a generation

HRW Europe and Central Asia Director Hugh Williamson stated. "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.”  

For reading the Turkey chapter of the report, click here


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