Turkey detains 10 at human rights meeting, U.S., EU concerned
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish police have arrested 10 people, including the local Amnesty International director and other human rights suspected of belonging to a terrorist organization, Amnesty on Thursday, which he called a “grotesque abuse of power.”
The arrests came less than a month after a court ordered the arrest of the chairman of Amnesty Turkey’s branch, Taner Kilic, for the same charge when it comes to an attempted military coup in July 2016. Kilic remains In jail awaiting trial.
The director of Amnesty Turkey Idil Eser and others have been removed from a meeting held in a hotel in Buyukada, an island south of Istanbul, and taken to several police stations in Turkey’s largest city Wednesday, a lawyer for some Bahri said Bethlehem Reuters.
Belen said prosecutors had decided a seven-day tenure, which must be approved by a judge. Police were not immediately available for comment, but Belen said an explanation could come on Friday, when militants are transferred to police stations at the Istanbul police headquarters.
Amnesty International Secretary-General Salil Shetty said the absurd charges against 10 people attending a workshop on digital security and information management.
“Their fraudulent detention during a routine workshop was quite bad: they are currently being registered in an armed terrorist organization, unlikely,” Shetty said in a statement.
Eser and seven other human rights were carried out with two foreign trainers – a German and a Swedish national, Amnesty said. In an earlier statement, he also said that the hotel owner had been arrested.
The United States is “deeply concerned” about the arrests, State Department spokesman Heather Nauert said in a statement.
“As with previous arrests of human rights activists, journalists, academics and activists, we emphasize the importance of respecting due process and individual rights, as enshrined in the Turkish Constitution and in line with international commitments Of Turkey, “said M. Nauert. “More voices, not less, are needed in difficult times.”
Since the coup failed there a year, Turkey has jailed more than 50 000 people awaiting trial and suspended or expelled about 150 000 people, including soldiers, police, teachers and public officials about alleged links with terrorist groups.
The purge, which also led to the closure of some 130 media outlets and the imprisonment of 150 journalists, has alarmed Turkey’s Western allies and human rights groups, who say President Tayyip Erdogan using the coup as a Pretext to dissuade.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in Turkey on Thursday to talk about his performance in the negotiations for EU membership, said he had lifted the arrests with Turkish officials.
“… (But) I have not had an adequate response to it. We will continue to follow,” said he was at a press conference at Ankara airport.
Hahn also said that he had emphasized the need for Turkey to respect the rule of law and the rights of individuals to a fair trial.
More than 240 people were killed during last year’s coup attempt and the government said security measures are necessary because of the seriousness of the threats that Turkey is facing.
The president of Amnesty Turkey was held in early June with 22 other lawyers on alleged links with the Muslim cleric network Gülen, which Ankara accused the state kicked beat.
“If anyone was still in doubt about the end of Turkey’s repression after the coup, it should not be now,” said Ms. Shetty Amnesty. “There is no civil society, without criticism or accountability in Turkey Erdogan.”