October 9, 2019
Responding to the Turkish government’s statements that its forces are set to cross into northeast Syria “shortly” as part of an offensive to move US-backed Kurdish forces away from its border, Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf said:
“As the Turkish military gears up to attack Kurdish forces in northeast Syria, it is imperative that all parties to this conflict respect international humanitarian law, including by refraining from carrying out attacks on civilians and civilian objects, as well as indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.
“As in other parts of Syria, scores of civilians in northeast Syria have already suffered from the impact of successive military offensives, multiple displacements and dire living conditions. Turkey has an obligation under international humanitarian law to take all possible measures to protect civilians and to ensure they have access to humanitarian aid. Civilians wishing to flee the fighting must be given safe passage to do so.
On Wednesday July 5th, Turkish authorities detained Amnesty International’s country director, Idil Eser, along with eight other human rights activists and two foreign trainers as part of a raid on a human rights workshop that Idil was attending.
For over 24 hours, they weren’t allowed to contact their families or see a lawyer — and no one even knew where they were.
Idil and the others were doing nothing wrong. Some are being questioned on suspicion of “membership of an armed terrorist organization,” a baseless and ridiculous accusation.
“The absurdity of these accusations against Idil Eser and the nine others cannot disguise the very grave nature of this attack on some of the most prominent civil society organizations in Turkey. If anyone was still in doubt of the endgame of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown, they should not be now. There is to be no civil society, no criticism and no accountability in Erdoğan’s Turkey.” – Salil Shetty, AI Secretary General.
In the wake of the failed coup in Turkey, the Turkish government has unleashed a dangerous crackdown.
From purging the country’s academic leaders to shutting down news outlets, hard-won human rights victories are under serious attack.
At least 260 people were killed and more than 2,000 injured amid the failed coup attempt, according to government accounts.
Many news websites have been blocked, arrest warrants have been issued for journalists (some of whom are now in detention) and tens of thousands of people have been suspended or removed from their jobs – including police, judges, prosecutors and others.
What began as a peaceful demonstration to save a park in Istanbul has turned into a terrible wave of police repression against protesters throughout Turkey.
More than 100,000 people have turned out to protest the shockingly excessive measures used by police to disperse peaceful demonstrators. Amateur video footage from one demonstration shows police officers kicking seemingly defenseless protestors and beating them with batons.
This is an escalating human rights crisis. Thousands of protesters have been injured, many seriously, and there is at least one confirmed death.
In fact, the use of tear gas in closed areas is now becoming a health risk for protesters and bystanders alike. Not only have police used tear gas canisters as a weapon by deliberately firing them directly at nonviolent protestors, but tear gas has also been fired directly into homes, businesses and even at the entrance of a hospital. Video footage has also captured very young children being treated for the effects of tear gas.