Photo Credit: Amnesty International
Download a PDF of UA 138/17 Turkey
Photo Credit: Amnesty International
Download a PDF of UA 138/17 Turkey
Responding to the news that Taner Kiliç, the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, was today detained by police along with 22 other lawyers in Izmir on suspicion of having links with the Fethullah Gülen movement, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said:
“The fact that Turkey’s post-coup purge has now dragged the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey into its web is further proof of just how far it has gone and just how arbitrary it has become. Taner Kiliç has a long and distinguished record of defending exactly the kind of freedoms that the Turkish authorities are now intent on trampling.
“In the absence of credible and admissible evidence of their involvement in internationally recognized crimes, we are calling on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Taner Kiliç along with the other 22 lawyers, and drop all charges against them.”
The dismissal of more than 100,000 Turkish public sector workers is arbitrary and has had a catastrophic impact on their lives and livelihoods, a new report published by Amnesty International reveals.
No end in sight: Purged public sector workers denied a future in Turkey finds that tens of thousands of people including doctors, police officers, teachers, academics and soldiers, branded as ‘terrorists’ and banned from public service, are now struggling to make ends meet.
“The shockwaves of Turkey’s post-coup attempt crackdown continue to devastate the lives of a vast number of people who have not only lost their jobs but have had their professional and families lives shattered,” Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s researcher on Turkey.
“Tainted as ‘terrorists’ and stripped of their livelihoods, a large swathe of people in Turkey are no longer able to continue in their careers and have had alternative employment opportunities blocked.”
Responding to the ongoing detention of Oğuz Güven, the web editor of the prominent Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet after he was taken into police custody this morning, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey Researcher, said:
“Since their crackdown on the media escalated dramatically following the coup attempt last July, the Turkish authorities have been relentless in their hounding of Cumhuriyet, which is now one of the country’s last remaining opposition newspapers. 12 Cumhuriyet staff members are currently held in prison pending trial, and Oğuz Güven’s detention is yet another demonstration of the authorities’ intent to stamp out independent journalism for good.
“Reports that Oğuz Güven was apparently detained on the basis of a single headline reflect the terrifying new reality for journalists in Turkey, where one word out of place can get you locked up. His detention is another dark day for media in Turkey, which since last year, has held the disgraceful record for being the world’s biggest jailer of journalists.”
Top journalists, cartoonists and world-renowned artists have joined a campaign to demand the release of more than 120 journalists jailed in Turkey following last summer’s coup attempt and an end to the ruthless crackdown on freedom of expression in the country.
The campaign, which has attracted 250,000 supporters since February, will see protests in cities around the world timed to coincide with World Press Freedom Day and the publication of an Amnesty International briefing, Journalism is not a crime: Crackdown on media freedom.
“A large swathe of Turkey’s independent journalists are languishing behind bars, held for months on end without trial, or facing prosecution on the basis of vague anti-terrorism laws,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“Today our thoughts are with all journalists who are imprisoned or facing threats and reprisals, but our particular focus is on Turkey where free expression is being ruthlessly muzzled. We call on Turkey’s authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all journalists jailed simply for doing their job.”
Reacting to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe vote to reintroduce full monitoring of the ‘functioning of democratic institutions’ in Turkey, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher said:
“This welcome decision sends a clear and powerful message that Turkey must end its crackdown on human rights.
“With this vote, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has made it clear to the authorities that human rights cannot be trampled underfoot without scrutiny and ultimately consequences.
“It sends a strong signal to Turkish civil society, journalists and victims of human rights abuses that the Council of Europe is willing to use all the available tools to bring Turkey back to compliance to the commitments it signed up to when it joined the organisation.”
On 3 May World Press Freedom Day, Amnesty International will turn the spotlight onto Turkey’s treatment of journalists, calling for their release from pre-trial detention.
#FreeAJStaff support new #FreeTurkeyMedia campaign
The three former Al Jazeera journalists imprisoned in Egypt for more than 400 days have joined thousands of other journalists, artists and activists in an Amnesty International campaign to demand the release of more than 120 journalists jailed in Turkey in the wake of last summer’s failed coup.
Mohamed Fahmy, Peter Greste and Baher Mohammed added their voices to the Free Turkey Media campaign which will culminate in a global day of action on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May.
“In the purge that followed the failed coup, Turkey has become the world’s biggest jailer of journalists. Many have been held for months and still have no idea of what they’ve been charged with,” said Gauri van Gulik Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director.
As US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits Turkey to meet with President Erdoğan and others in Ankara today, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia, Gauri van Gulik said:
“During his visit, Secretary of State Tillerson cannot ignore the fact that Turkey is the world’s biggest jailer of journalists. Nor should he overlook the plight of the more than 100,000 public sector employees, dismissed after the coup and the estimated half-a-million people displaced amid military operations and curfews in the south-east.”
“He should urge President Erdoğan to release journalists currently being held on pre-trial detention and call for an end to the ongoing crackdown against perceived government critics. Failure to do so sends the wrong message about the need to respect human rights and is a missed opportunity to remind the Turkish authorities that journalism is not a crime.”
"Now I know they jailed me to teach me a lesson - and that lesson, I learnt it."
Celebrated novelist Aslı Erdoğan
Turkey has earned an accolade which holds no glory: according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, it is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world.
Globally, one third of all imprisoned journalists, media workers and executives are in Turkey’s prisons, with the vast majority among them waiting to be brought to trial.
Some have been languishing in prison for months. An ongoing state of emergency was declared in July, following a violent coup attempt, blamed by the President and the government on those loyal to the cleric Fethullah Gülen. Journalists have been targeted in an unprecedented crackdown on all strands of opposition media.
Coupled with the closure of more than 160 media outlets, the message - and the resulting effect on press freedom - is clear and disturbing: the space for dissent is ever-shrinking and speaking out comes at an immeasurable cost.
Following findings by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that Turkish security operations displaced up to half a million people between July 2015 and December 2016 in southeast Turkey, John Dalhuisen Amnesty International’s directory for Europe said:
“These findings mirror our own recent research that concluded that the brutal crackdown by Turkish authorities which has displaced entire populations in southeast Turkey may amount to collective punishment.
“The state’s obligation to ensure security cannot be used as a pretext for use of excessive force, blighting the lives of ordinary people by ongoing round-the-clock curfews in some places for more than a year, leading to forcible displacement and the demolition or expropriation of property.
“Our research found that residents displaced from Diyarbakır province have been unable to find adequate affordable alternative housing and struggled to access essential services. Already impoverished families have been pushed into greater hardship with employment and education opportunities curtailed and without adequate compensation provided.
Released 00.01 14 February 2017
The EU-Turkey refugee deal has left thousands of refugees and migrants in squalid and dangerous living conditions, and must not be replicated with other countries, Amnesty International said today ahead of the deal’s one year anniversary.
The deal aimed at returning asylum-seekers back to Turkey on the premise that Turkey is safe for them, has left thousands exposed to squalid and unsafe conditions on Greek islands. In the new briefing “A Blueprint for Despair” Amnesty International also documented unlawful returns of asylum-seekers to Turkey in a flagrant breach of their rights under international law.
“The EU-Turkey deal has been a disaster for the thousands who have been left stranded in a dangerous, desperate and seemingly endless limbo on the Greek islands,” said Gauri van Gulik, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe.
Tens of thousands of residents of the UNESCO world heritage site of Sur are among an estimated half a million people forced out of their homes as a result of a brutal crackdown by Turkish authorities over the past year which may amount to collective punishment, said Amnesty International in a new report.
Eren Keskin will not be quiet.She protested when the army killed a 12-year-old boy. She wrote a report about how soldiers harmed some women. When the government told a minority group of Kurds* they could not use their own language, she stood up for them. She has criticized the government for their policies many times.
Eren Keskin is a lawyer, a human rights activist and she used to be a journalist. She lives in Istanbul, one of Turkey’s largest cities.
The government of Turkey has punished Eren Keskin for being so outspoken, so vocal.
Over the last few years, they have forced her to go to court more than 100 times. Once they put her in jail for six months just for using the word “Kurdistan”** in an article.
The detention of 12 deputies from the Kurdish-rooted leftist Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) since last night marks the latest escalation in the onslaught on dissent amid Turkey’s state of emergency, Amnesty International said today.
The detentions – on a range of “terrorism”-related charges – come on the heels of mass closures of Kurdish media outlets, the ousting of at least 24 pro-Kurdish mayors and rolling blackouts on internet access that hinder communications. They were followed this morning by an explosion killing at least eight people in Diyarbakır in the mainly Kurdish south-east of the country.
“Today’s detention of HDP deputies is the latest escalation in the government’s evisceration of Kurdish opposition voices in public life,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.
In response to this morning’s detention of 11 journalists and staff from Cumhuriyet newspaper and the shutting down of 15 media outlets over the weekend, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen, said:
“Today’s detention of journalists and staff from Turkey’s only remaining mainstream opposition newspaper is part of an ongoing systematic attempt to silence all critical voices. Together with the shutting down of media houses over the weekend, this is the latest wave in a post-coup purge which has turned Turkey’s once vibrant media landscape into a wasteland.”
“The blatant misuse of emergency powers to shut down media houses must stop and more than 130 journalists currently in pre-trial detention must be immediately released.”