Dec 09 2018

Turkey's ruling AKP sees human rights as a burden - fmr opposition MP

Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) sees human rights as a burden, a former opposition deputy and journalist Barış Yarkadaş said on Sunday.

Yarkadaş, in a statement he released for the 70th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Human Rights Day. said that the AKP systematically annihilated human rights such as fair trial, right to information, rights of working and sheltering, freedom of speech, freedom of thought, right to health and right of organisation.

The government has been ignoring human rights for the last 16 years and it was enough to understand the wide-scale human rights abuses in Turkey by only examining the thousands of people who were dismissed from their jobs with decree-laws, Yarkadaş stated. 

"Academics, teachers, civil servants, students, soldiers and policemen were transformed into social deaths by the AKP. Their work rights were taken away. Most basic human rights were destroyed," Artı Gerçek news site quoted Yarkadaş as saying.

Yarkadaş also said 162 journalists were behind bars, former deputy and journalist Eren Erdem was one among them. "With arresting journalists, AKP usurps one of the most basic human rights; the right to information," he continued. 

AKP's implementations reveal that it sees human rights as a burden, according to Yarkadaş. 

"The AKP considers human rights as a burden and a danger for the survival of its power, and therefore it violates all rights," he said.

Yarkadaş also recalled that Osman Kavala, a Turkish philanthropist, peace campaigner, human rights activist and businessman, has been arrested more than 400 days without an indictment. "Kavala is just one the thousands of people whose rights for a fair trial were violated," he stressed.  

The former MP also said the government had been oppressing the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and jailing HDP members and politicians unlawfully. 

The prison sentences against HDP deputies Sırrı Süreyya Önder and İdris Baluken and former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş were also violating the fair trial principle, he stressed.

A Turkish court in September sentenced Demirtaş to more than four years in jail on terrorism charges, marking the first conviction for him after 23 months in prison.

Önder was sentenced three years and six months in prison, while Baluken received seven years and six months prison sentence over terrorism charges.