In a statement this week, Amnesty International condemned the 11 May bomb attacks in the Turkish border town of Reyhanlı. According to Amnesty Researcher Andrew Gardner, the attacks, which have left at least 50 people dead and more than 100 injured, ”show contempt for the right to life and the fundamental principles of international law.” Continue reading
This May 15, International Conscientious Objectors Day, is an opportunity to both celebrate the steady acceptance of this fundamental right and to highlight those countries who have not taken the basic steps to protect it.
In Europe for example, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recognized conscientious objection as a protected right in 2011 when, in Bayatyan v Armenia, it ruled that conscientious objection was subject to Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. Unfortunately, as an Amnesty statement released today highlights, three European countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, still refuse to accept this basic obligation under international law. [To read the rest of this blog, click here to go to Amnesty USA's Human Rights Now blog]
World Press Freedom Day (May 3) was an opportune moment for calling attention to the sorry state of press freedoms in Turkey. Amnesty International – Turkey did so with a protests in downtown Istanbul and flash mobs elsewhere in the city, featuring activists wearing tape over their mouths and marked with the most offensive legal restrictions on freedom of expression.
The plight of jailed journalists in Turkey is, by now, well established. The vast majority of those held are Kurds jailed under anti-terrorism statutes. According to a study by the OSCE, however, a significant number of the jailed journalists were imprisoned in the Ergenekon trials, and nearly 20% are listed as “other.” Continue reading
In Turkey, too many men still avail themselves to the defense once used by Turkish Arabesk star, Ibrahim Tatlises who said, in 1984, “I have the greatest respect for women, but I’ll still beat ‘em.”
A recent study by a Turkish NGO and Kırıkkale University suggest that in the decades since a shocking number of Turkish men still feel that way. Continue reading
Amnesty International – Turkey calls attention to limits on Freedom of Expression on World Press Freedom Day
Amnesty International commemorated World Press Freedom Day by highlighting the shocking limits on freedom of expression in Turkey.
You can see the photos on Flickr. And then you can lend your voice to the fight for freedom:
Amnesty on the May Day Violence in Turkey: Denial of right to peaceful protest and excessive use of force
“Mayday celebrations in Istanbul, Turkey were again marred by police violence and attempts by the authorities to prevent demonstrations from going ahead,” Amnesty International declared in a statement released today. [Turkish version of the statement is available here].
In truth, vast sections of Istanbul looked like a war zone, as authorities closed down public transportation and security forces employed water cannon and tear gas against peaceful protestors. Continue reading
Freedom House has published in 2013 annual report on freedom of the press. This year, yet again, Turkey came away with less than passing marks.
Turkey remained a regional outlier [in the Western Europe region] with a score of 56, deep inside the Partly Free range, as the government continued to crack down on journalists in 2012. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press and expression are only partially upheld in practice, undermined by restrictive provisions in the criminal code and the Anti-Terrorism Act. Continue reading
“[A] missed opportunity for the government to deliver genuine human rights reform.” That is how John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe and Central Asia Director, described the much awaited Fourth Judicial Package that, with Turkish President Abdullah Gül’s confirmation, has been passed into law this week.
Yesterday, Amnesty gave its official response to the judicial package, saying that, “the reform package will allow abusive prosecutions to continue, forcing still more political activists, journalists and human rights defenders to face jail sentences for carrying out their work.”
There are now some 300,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, 190,000 of whom are in Turkish refugee camps. In a recent briefing, Amnesty International recognizes the considerable effort that Turkish authorities have made to accommodate the increasing number of Syrian refugees, and calls upon the international community to step up its support to ease the burden this crisis places on Turkey and other nations bordering Syria. Continue reading
With Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s planned visit to the United States only weeks away, US – Turkish relations are very much on the American policy agenda. Syria, Iran, and Turkish-Israeli relations are likely to top that agenda, but human rights advocates hope that Turkey’s record on freedom of expression and other HR issues are not forgotten.