UN calls for Turkey to end state of emergency

The United Nations called on Turkey to end the state of emergency in place since July 2016 that it said had led to widespread human rights violations including the arrest of 160,000 people and dismissal of nearly the same number of civil servants
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 18:12

Extensions of the state of emergency in Turkey have led to "profound" human rights violations for hundreds of thousands of people, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Tuesday.

"Routine extensions of the state of emergency in Turkey have led to profound human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people – from arbitrary deprivation of the right to work and to freedom of movement, to torture and other ill-treatment, arbitrary detentions and infringements of the rights to freedom of association and expression," the office said in a press release presenting its report.

According to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, almost 160,000 people were arrested during an 18-month state of emergency, while "152,000 civil servants dismissed, many totally arbitrarily; teachers, judges and lawyers dismissed or prosecuted; journalists arrested, media outlets shut down and websites blocked."

"The sheer number, frequency and lack of connection of several [emergency] decrees to any national threat seem to…point to the use of emergency powers to stifle any form of criticism or dissent vis-à-vis the Government," the report reads.

Ankara objects to the UN Human Rights Office's report on the prolonged state of emergency measures in Turkey and possible violations of human rights, and believes it to be prejudiced and unacceptable, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said Tuesday in a press release.

The ministry also stated that the report ignored the "severe and multiple terrorist threats," and, in particular, the effects the failed coup attempt of July 2016 had on human rights.