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Human Rights Watch Reports

Lawyers on Trial: Abusive Prosecutions and Erosion of Fair Trial Rights in Turkey

April 2019 / (62 Pages)

Since the July 2016 coup attempt, Turkey has seen mass arrests and trials on terrorism charges of thousands of people not involved in any violent act. Among them are journalists, human rights defenders, and opposition politicians tried in proceedings which rights groups have documented as politicized and unfair. While lawyers always have a critical role to play in protecting the rights of suspects in police custody and defendants in court, their role in protecting the rule of law and human rights is all the more fundamental in the context of the current crackdown in Turkey. Yet, or more likely because of that, as this report demonstrates, authorities have also targeted lawyers, in particular criminal defense lawyers. Read More

 

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Turkey: Events of 2016 

January 2017 / (8 Pages)

On July 15, 2016, elements of the military attempted to carry out a coup d’état against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. In the aftermath, the government declared a state of emergency, jailed thousands of soldiers and embarked on a wholesale purge of public officials, police, teachers, judges, and prosecutors. Most of those jailed, dismissed, or suspended were accused of being followers of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen. However, the crackdown also extended to the pro-Kurdish opposition party, with two leaders and other MPs arrested and placed in pretrial detention, along with many of its elected mayors, denying millions of voters their elected representatives. Read More

 

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In Custody: Police Torture and Abductions in Turkey

October 2017 / (49 Pages)

Based on interviews with lawyers and relatives, and on a review of court transcripts, this report looks in detail at ten cases in which security forces tortured or ill-treated a total of 22 people, and an eleventh case in which police beat scores of villagers, 38 of whom lodged formal complaints of torture. The report also presents details of five individual cases of abduction that likely amount to enforced disappearance by state authorities since March 2017. Read More

 

 

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Silencing Turkey’s Media: The Government’s Deepening Assault on Critical Journalism

December 2016 / (81 Pages)

The attacks on independent media after the attempted coup was defeated in July marked an intensification of a crackdown on media freedom that had already been going on for over a year. Censorship of journalism has been going on for much longer. The authorities use ever more creative ways to silence serious reporting and news coverage that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party government disagree with. Read More

 

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A Blank Check: Turkey’s Post-Coup Suspension of Safeguards Against Torture

October 2016 / (54 Pages)

Based on interviews with more than 40 lawyers, human rights activists, former detainees, medical personnel and forensic specialists, this report looks at how the state of emergency has impacted police detention conditions and the rights of detainees. It also details 13 cases, in one case involving multiple detainees, of alleged abuse including torture. Read More

 

 

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Turkey’s Human Rights Rollback: Recommendations for Reform

September 2014 / (44 Pages)

The report outlines some of the areas where the government needs to take urgent steps to reverse this authoritarian drift. It focuses on four areas: human rights steps in the peace process with the PKK; threats to the rule of law; the reinforcement in the present of a culture of impunity, including a pattern of impunity for violence against women; and restrictions on speech and media, and on the rights to assembly and association. Read More

 

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World Report 2018: Turkey

January 2018 / (7 Pages)

The new presidential system, which consolidates the incumbent’s hold on power, is a setback for human rights and the rule of law. It lacks sufficient checks and balances against abuse of executive power, greatly diminishing the powers of parliament, and consolidating presidential control over most judicial appointments. The presidential system will come fully into force following elections in 2019. Read More

 

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