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Turkey

    May 02, 2017

    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.”

    April 25, 2017

    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.

    Background

    April 21, 2017

    #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.

    March 30, 2017
    Spokespeople available Journalists urged to support #FreeTurkeyMedia campaign

    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.”

    +++++++

    March 10, 2017

    "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.

    March 10, 2017

    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.

    February 13, 2017

    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.

    December 06, 2016
    First anniversary of round-the-clock curfew in UNESCO world heritage site Forced displacement may amount to collective punishment

    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.

    November 04, 2016

    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.

    October 31, 2016

    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.” 

    October 19, 2016

    We, the undersigned organisations, recognise that the Turkish government has the right and responsibility to investigate the violent events of the July 2016 coup attempt and to bring all those responsible to justice.  We also recognise that the immediate aftermath of the attempted coup is the type of exceptional circumstance in which a government could legitimately invoke a state of emergency but still has to comply with their human rights obligations. 

    We are however increasingly concerned that the far-reaching, almost unlimited discretionary powers exercised by the Turkish authorities during the first three months of the state of emergency – now extended for a further three months - endanger the general principles of rule of law and human rights safeguards.

    We call on the Government of Turkey to revoke the measures under the state of emergency, the application of which, in practice is incompatible with Turkey’s human rights obligations.

    September 21, 2016

    Responding to news that the government of Turkey has postponed the visit of Juan E. Méndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe said:

    “The postponement this visit is a setback for those concerned about human rights in Turkey. Following the failed coup, credible evidence emerged that detainees were being subjected to beatings and torture in official and unofficial detention centres. There have also been allegations of severe overcrowding and poor conditions in many places of detention across the country.”

    “Whilst official statements that Turkey has a policy of zero tolerance policy toward torture are welcome, these need to be backed up with greater transparency. Despite pledges by the Turkish authorities to allow independent international monitors to visit all detainees in the places they are being held, so far only one body - the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) - has been granted such access.”

    August 18, 2016

    Responding to reports that at least six people, including four police officers, were killed and scores wounded when two car bombs exploded in eastern Turkey, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher Andrew Gardner said:

    “Today’s car bombings are the latest in a series of reckless and brutal attacks in eastern Turkey which have claimed the lives of members of the public, including children.”

    “Those responsible for these crimes show a contempt for the right to life and must be brought to justice.” 

    *****

    For media inquiries, please contact Jacob Kuehn // 613-744-7667, ext 236 // email: jkuehn@amnesty.ca 

     

    August 08, 2016

    Responding to a speech yesterday by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in which he said that “most of the world” has the death penalty and he would approve a decision of the Turkish parliament to reintroduce the death penalty in Turkey, Fotis Filippou Amnesty International’s Deputy Europe Director said:

    “Amnesty International is alarmed by statements that the death penalty could be reinstated retrospectively as a punishment for those responsible for the coup attempt. Such a move would violate international human rights treaties to which Turkey is a party, as well as Turkey’s own constitution.

    “The appalling violence committed by those behind the 15 July failed coup led to the tragic loss of more than 200 lives and the Turkish government must bring all those responsible for these crimes to justice. However, this should be done through fair trials not subject to the death penalty.

    “Turkey abolished the death penalty for all crimes in 2004 and is one of 103 countries to have done so. Reintroducing this ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment would be a major setback for human rights.”

    August 02, 2016

    Responding to a speech today by Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in which he criticized Amnesty International’s findings that some people detained in connection with Turkey’s failed coup attempt had been beaten and tortured, Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “From day one, Amnesty International has repeatedly condemned the appalling violence committed by those behind the 15 July failed coup attempt. The organization has called for the Turkish government to bring the coup plotters to justice.

    “At the same time Amnesty International has urged Turkish authorities to respect the rule of law and the rights of all those detained. The government must release all detainees unless there is a reasonable suspicion that they have committed a recognisable criminal offence.

    “The serious human rights violations documented by an Amnesty International team on the ground in Turkey are alarming. These findings are based on detailed interviews with lawyers, doctors, family members and an eyewitness to torture in a detention facility.

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