Turkey’s martial law engagement and constant arrests of citizens are still ongoing. On July the 5th Turkey’s police force arrested Amnesty Internationals director for the country, Idil Eser and nine other human rights activists and staffers.
They are accused of being members of an “armed terrorist organization”. Amnesty’s general secretary Salil Shetty calls the accusations absurd. ““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.” says Shetty.
A month before the July arrests the Turkey authorities arrested Amnesty Turkey’s chairperson Taner Kılıç. He has remained arrested without valid grounds and is accused of working for Fethullah Gülen. Gülen is the person Turkey’s authorities blame, without evidence, for last year’s coup d’etat attempt.
“This is the first time in our history that Amnesty International has a director and chair from a single country both behind bars. They, along with all other detained human rights defenders, must be immediately and unconditionally released.” demands Shetty.
This is not the first or probably the last time president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been the subject for an appeal by Amnesty International but he has also been the person appealed for.
In 1998 Amnesty appealed for the release Erdoğan as a prisoner of conscious because of the denial of his freedom of expression. He was at that time the mayor of Istanbul and lost the position due to the imprisonment. Erdoğan had been sentenced for 10 months imprisonment, of which he sat four, for a speech he conducted in Siirt in 1997. The speech involved a poem, that was also at that time included in school books, that the Turkey authorities took offence to.
Amnesty appealed also to the participants of the G20 summit to demand the human rights abuses to stop and the release of falsely imprisoned or detained persons in Turkey. No proof has been acquired of other countries demands towards Turkey as of this time.