Human Rights Violations in Turkey

A leader woman of the People’s Democratic Party in the Turkish Parliament was arrested by the police in a series of arrests of 44 members of the pro-Kurdish pro-government Peoples’ Democratic Party. The woman was tortured and humiliated after the police brutally attacked her home and broke the door of her house. The deputy head of the party’s bloc, Sarohan Oluche, criticized the arrest, calling on the Ministry of Justice to conduct an urgent investigation into the attack.

The former head of the Counter-Terrorism Department of the Turkish National Intelligence Service, Mehmet Eymur, stated that the Turkish Intelligence Service had practiced torture and ill-treatment against detainees, saying that he had tortured many people in the course of his work. He justified the use of torture, saying that many detained persons were stubborn and did not intend to speak and confess. He added that many of the disappeared people in Turkey were the result of “intelligence operations,” saying, “There was a very big battle and the services had to win that battle.

The Turkish Human Rights Foundation said that it would file a criminal complaint over Eymur’s statements as they constituted a “confession,” and that torture should never be exceptional under any circumstances.

Turkey topped the list of states whose people are subject to human rights violations in 2018, as it ranked fourth in the number of cases of violations.

Furthermore, the European Court of Human Rights sentenced Turkey, last May, to pay a compensation of 40,000 Euros to two journalists who were placed in pre-trial detention for “membership of a terrorist organization.”, where they were deprived of their liberty, which in turn had a significant impact on freedom of expression through the intimidation of society.

During the periodic review of the human rights situation at the United Nations Human Rights Council; rights organizations had confirmed the deterioration of the human rights situation in Turkey in a way they described as “frightening and systematic” during 2020.

According to the United Nations report, the Turkish government has not fulfilled its commitments to the promotion of fundamental rights and freedoms. On the contrary, it has imposed almost complete restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression, imprisoned political opponents and activists on charges related to the war on terrorism and it failed to provide them with fair trials. The Turkish government continues to prosecute and investigate people for exercising their legitimate right to peaceful expression and refers them to courts.

A report by the Maat Foundation for Peace, Development and Human Rights (an Egyptian non-governmental organization working to promote and respect human rights in Africa and the Middle East) also confirmed that Turkey had used torture against citizens to extract confessions, after more than 1855 people had been tortured in Turkish prisons during 2020, 38 of whom had died. About 48 journalists were arrested on various charges, including insulting the Turkish president.

Moreover, Turkey had announced its withdrawal from the “Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence,” known as the Istanbul Convention. The withdrawal was seen by the United Nations Office for Human Rights as a significant decline in Turkish efforts to promote women’s rights, especially as gender inequality and gender-based violence are of serious concern in Turkish society.

The Human Rights Office called on Turkey to reverse its withdrawal from the Convention, to hold consultations with civil society and women’s associations, and to make concrete efforts to promote and protect the safety and rights of women and girls.

The spokesperson for the Human Rights Office also stressed the importance of Turkey’s taking consistent measures to apply its obligations under human rights laws regarding the freedom of expression and opinion, the right to peaceful assembly and association, participation in public affairs and respecting human rights while fighting terrorism.

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