HRW Calls on Turkey to End State of Emergency in Southeast

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ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Rudaw) — The recommendation by Turkey’s Council of Ministers for an extension of a state of emergency on Monday, April 17, should be reversed by its government or by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to unify the country, an international organization for human rights has contended.

“After securing a narrow victory in Sunday’s referendum, the government and president should govern in the interests of everyone in Turkey, not just their political supporters,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Turkey’s government and president need to end the state of emergency and the repressive campaign against the media and the pro-Kurdish political opposition.”

HRW has expressed that the constitutional referendum victory provides Erdogan the opportunity to move into a “new political system” where the “highly repressive climate” is no longer needed.

“Ruling by emergency decree, the president and government controlled the media, dominated the public sphere, and jailed critical journalists and leaders of the pro-Kurdish parliamentary opposition,” HRW wrote.

It is the third extension since last July’s failed military coup, which Turkey blames on followers under the direction of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who lives in the United States.

The crackdown saw roughly 100,000 people lose their jobs, including judges, lawyers, teachers, journalists, military officers and police. More than 40,000 people have been arrested and jailed, including pro-Kurdish lawmakers including Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chairs Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas on charges alleging links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

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“The motion which will be submitted to parliament on the extension of state of emergency for three months as of April 19, 2017 at 1 a.m. [Tuesday] was signed by the Council of Ministers,” Numan Kurtulmus, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, announced.

The Council, which was chaired by Erdogan, advised the extension of the current state of emergency “in an attempt to provide the continuance of measures aimed at securing the rights and freedoms of citizens,” according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.

Topics: Kurds, Turkey
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