The UN hits out at Turkey

The UN hits out at Turkey
By Catherine Hardy
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Ankara's detention or suspension of more than 110, 000 officials since a failed coup in July may go "beyond what is permissible", the organisation says.


The UN says Turkey’s detention or suspension of more than 110, 000 officials since a failed coup in July may go “beyond what is permissible”.

“There needs to be a presumption of innocence when you are going to suspend somebody from their job, when you are going to detain somebody, you need to do this in line with due process,” said UN Human rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.

“And, given the numbers, we are worried this is not the case.”

“Turkey must ensure transparency”

The UN expressed concern last week about Turkey’s detentions and suspensions of elected lawmakers.

However, the situation has since worsened, Shamdasani says, and the crackdown on the media is very worrying.

Turkey must ensure transparency and guarantee that its actions are governed by due process under the law, Shamdasani added.

“We are concerned that while they have declared a state of emergency and they have declared derogation of certain principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the steps that the authorities are taking go beyond what is permissible in these cases,” she said.

Friday arrests

Police have raided the homes and detained the joint leaders of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the second-biggest opposition party in the national parliament.

Nine other HDP lawmakers were detained early on Friday after they refused to give testimony for crimes linked to “terrorist propaganda”.

The HDP, which has Kurdish roots and is the parliament’s third-biggest grouping, will show a “democratic reaction” to the detentions, spokesman Ayhan Bilgen told reporters.

He described the arrests as an attempt to provoke a civil war.

Earlier on Friday, a spokesman for the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party said the detention of its two leaders and at least nine other lawmakers risked triggering civil war.

What the HDP says

The arrest of around a dozen opposition lawmakers mainly representing the country’s largely Kurdish southeast lacks any legal basis and is politically motivated, a People’s Democratic Party (HDP) spokesperson says.

“The detentions are aimed at achieving what the ruling party failed to do at the ballot box in two general elections last year, when the People’s Democratic Party won more than five million votes,” said party spokesman Ayhan Bilgen.

“We know these days will be left behind as well but we want to tell you this coup, this siege, will be left behind but it will leave a dark stain on Turkish history,” he said.

Bilgen’s comments were made a few hours after at least eight people were killed and more than 100 wounded in a car-bomb attack in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the southeast.

What the Turkish government says

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters that elected officials who incited and encouraged terrorism must face legal proceedings.

They have been detained, he said, because they refused to give testimony.


Diyarbakir bomb

A car bomb killed eight people and wounded more than 100 on Friday.

It happened in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey’s largest city.

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