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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid