UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY) – Amnesty International has accused the Turkish authorities of publishing a “horrific climate of fear” following the failed coup in 2016 by targeting human rights defenders in particular.
The report stressed that “a terrible atmosphere of fear spread in Turkish society as the government continues to use the state of emergency to reduce the space allocated to the views of the opposition and alternative.”
The state of emergency was declared in July 2016, days after a coup attempt by opposition military has been renewed continuously since then.
In this context, Ankara conducted an unprecedented clean-up operation, which resulted in the arrest of more than 50,000 people and the dismissal of more than 140 thousand others or the suspension of their duties.
The purges were extended to pro-Kurdish and opposition circles, targeting judges, professors and journalists.
“The Turkish authorities deliberately and systematically dismantled civil society, imprisoned human rights defenders, shut down organizations and created a climate of fear,” Amnesty International’s Director of Europe’s Program, Gauri van Goleck, said in a statement.
According to the organization, more than 1,300 institutions and 180 media outlets were closed.
Ankara attributes the attempted coup to US-born Fathullah Gulen, who denies any involvement.
“The continued and increasing repression hampers the work of the necessary human rights defenders in Turkey and sinks a large part of society in constant fear,” the organization said in a statement.
The report presents several cases, including the head of Amnesty in Turkey Taner Kilic, who has been detained since June 2017, and human rights activist Othman Kafala, who has been detained since last October and is accused of involvement in the failed coup.
The organization considers that the work of human rights defenders has been “eliminated” because of the measures taken following the state of emergency.
The report also deals with the status of gay rights organizations, which forced human rights workers to work “in secret,” according to Amnesty International.