Apr 20 2018

Torture, forced disappearance, arbitrary detention in Turkey, says U.S.

"Alleged torture of detainees in official custody, allegations of forced disappearance; arbitrary arrest and detention under the state of emergency of tens of thousands" are among the most significant human rights abuses of Turkey, the U.S. State Department noted in its annual Human Rights Practices of 2017 country report. The report lists the following in its first page as the most significant human rights issues of Turkey:

Turkey's most significant human rights issues included alleged torture of detainees in official custody; allegations of forced disappearance; arbitrary arrest and detention under the state of emergency of tens of thousands, including members of parliament and two Turkish-national employees of the U.S. Mission to Turkey, for alleged ties to terrorist groups or peaceful legitimate speech; executive interference with independence of the judiciary, affecting the right to a fair trial and due process; political prisoners, including numerous elected officials; severe restriction of freedoms of expression and media, including imprisonment of scores of journalists, closing media outlets, and criminalization of criticism of government policies or officials; blocking websites and content; severe restriction of freedoms of assembly and association; interference with freedom of movement; and incidents of violence against LGBTI persons and other minorities.

The Turkey chapter of the report, a yearlong study inspecting human rights violations across the world, covers rights issues in Turkey at a whopping length of 64 pages. 

The report also says Turkey has not taken enough measures to go after officials who are allegedly violating the rights of citizens: "The [Turkish] government continued to take limited steps to investigate, prosecute, and punish members of the security forces and other officials accused of human rights abuses; impunity for such abuses was a problem."

The first section of the report addresses "Arbitrary Deprivation of Life and Other Unlawful or Politically Motivated Killings," and notes "There were credible allegations that the government contributed to civilian deaths in connection with violent clashes between government security forces and the terrorist PKK organization in the southeast, although at a markedly reduced level compared with 2016."

This year the State Department's report was released by Acting Secretary of State John J. Sullivan, who read his own remarks on Friday from the press room. Ambassador Michael Kozak from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor followed with a short statement and took questions from the reporters at the State Department briefly. Kozak in his initial statement said that tens of thousands of Turkish citizens had been jailed, including journalists and academics, and that the ongoing state of emergency in Turkey was ''undermining the rule of law''.

Reporters' questions about U.S. president Donald Trump's bellicose approach towards the free press in America or his good relations with some of world's autocratic leaders as well as his administration's discriminatory policies against transsexual individuals in the Army dominated that briefing. 

 

https://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm#wrapper