Turkish Government’s Abuse of Counter-Terrorism Laws
January 2019 / (20 Pages)
Over the past several years, Turkey is facing complex security challenges, dealing with a number of serious terrorist attacks targeting the Turkish people. The Syrian refugee crisis and violent extremism, followed by the creation of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, as well as the attempted coup in Turkey – have all contributed to political, economic and social distress. The Iraqi and Syrian conflicts spillover into Turkey has only exacerbated the fragile security environment. There were no terrorist attacks in 2014 – 4 attacks (149 victims) in 2015 and 22 attacks (more than 317 victims) in 2016. Among other very serious attacks, on May 11, 2013, two car bombs exploded in Reyhanlı (Hatay province), killing 51 Turkish nationals. In the early hours of January 1, 2017, a terrorist attack claimed the lives of 39 innocent people from fifteen nationalities at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul. At least 70 others were wounded. Since at least 2014, the government of Turkey, however, has shifted its primary focus to the Hizmet/Gülen Movement, accusing it of being a terrorist organization and detaining or arresting anyone with the slightest perceived link or connection with the group.