News / Europe

Turkey Condemned for Civil Rights Abuses

People demonstrate in support of Kurdish politicians near a courthouse where more than 150 Kurds, including a dozen elected mayors, went on trial in Diyarbakir, 18 Oct 2010
People demonstrate in support of Kurdish politicians near a courthouse where more than 150 Kurds, including a dozen elected mayors, went on trial in Diyarbakir, 18 Oct 2010

Multimedia

Audio
  • Bulent Aliriza, Center for Strategic and International Studies, speaks with VOA's Susan Yackee

EU candidate Turkey has been strongly condemned in a report by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch for jailing peaceful Kurdish demonstrators.

The 75-page report by the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, says hundreds of people have been imprisoned for participating in a peaceful Kurdish rights demonstration.  Report author Emma Sinclair Webb says it is a worrying new trend.

"In the penal code you have some very widely drawn provisions which have been used in the last three years to charge demonstrators and prosecute demonstrators as though they are members of an armed terrorist organization," said Webb.

The report says that is because Turkey's highest court has ruled that anyone who participates in a demonstration that is being supported by the banned Kurdish rebel group the PKK or its media affiliates can be considered to be a member or supporter of that organization.

Bulent Aliriza, Dir. of the Turkey Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, recently returned from Turkey:


The PKK has been fighting the Turkish state for greater Kurdish rights for the past 25 years.

Sinclair Webb says the report includes 26 cases studies.

"The implications are that for offenses as minor as clapping or shouting a pro-PKK slogan or doing a victory sign during a demonstration you can get a six- or seven-year sentence," she said.

In one case, a student was jailed for six years for making a victory sign at a funeral for PKK rebels.  In another, a mother of three children was sentenced to seven years for holding a banner calling for negotiations with the jailed leader of the PKK.  

At a press conference, Sinclair Webb said there appears to be a systematic crackdown on the legal activities of the country's legal Kurdish rights movement.

Turkey's bid to join the European Union is stalled over opposition from some members because of what they see as Turkey's poor human-rights record.  But Turkey's government justifies its actions by saying it is engaged in a fight with a ruthless terrorist organization that has infiltrated large segments of the country's Kurdish population.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid