The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights issued a report this week detailing a “constantly deteriorating human rights situation, exacerbated by the erosion of the rule of law” including the imprisonment of moms who had just given birth on suspicion of being foes of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Since the July 15, 2016, coup attempt, Erdoğan’s government has conducted massive sweeps of perceived opponents; U.S. consulate employees have been among those arrested, as well as pastor Andrew Brunson, who faces up to 35 years in prison, and NASA scientist Serkan Gölge, who was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison. Turkish authorities accused both American citizens of having CIA links.
The UN report uncovered “interference of the executive with the work of the judiciary and curtailment of parliamentary oversight over the executive branch of Government; arbitrary mass dismissals of civil servants and private sector employees; arbitrary closure of civil society organizations, including prominent human rights non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and media; arbitrary detention of people arrested under state of emergency measures; the use of torture and ill-treatment during pretrial detention; restrictions of the rights to freedoms of expression and of movement; arbitrary expropriation of private property; and methods of collective punishment targeting family members of individuals suspected of offences under the state of emergency.”
By the end of 2017, according to Turkey’s official statistics, 159,506 people had been arrested in relation to Erdoğan’s post-coup emergency decrees. Some 300 journalists have been arrested for “verbal act offenses” against the Islamist regime. Last year alone, Turkey blocked more than 100,000 websites, many of them Kurdish.
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