News / Europe

    Turkey Rounds Up Human Rights Lawyers

    Dorian Jones
    Security forces in Turkey have detained more than a dozen lawyers as part of a nationwide sweep against illegal leftist groups. Among those detained include some of the country's most well-known human rights advocates.
     
    In a crackdown on the activities of an illegal left wing group, 15 lawyers were among 85 people detained under anti-terror laws by Turkish security forces in a nationwide operation.

    Turkish police try to push back protesters trying to enter a courthouse where prosecutors were to deliver final arguments in a trial against nearly 300 people accused of plotting to overthrow the government, in Silivri near Istanbul. Turkey, December 13, 2012.Turkish police try to push back protesters trying to enter a courthouse where prosecutors were to deliver final arguments in a trial against nearly 300 people accused of plotting to overthrow the government, in Silivri near Istanbul. Turkey, December 13, 2012.
    x
    Turkish police try to push back protesters trying to enter a courthouse where prosecutors were to deliver final arguments in a trial against nearly 300 people accused of plotting to overthrow the government, in Silivri near Istanbul. Turkey, December 13, 2012.
    Turkish police try to push back protesters trying to enter a courthouse where prosecutors were to deliver final arguments in a trial against nearly 300 people accused of plotting to overthrow the government, in Silivri near Istanbul. Turkey, December 13, 2012.
    With many of the detained lawyers being well-known human rights defenders, several human rights groups around the world have voiced alarm.

    Emma Sinclair Webb, who is with U.S.-based Human Rights Watch, said, "It's very concerning to find lawyers the targets of police operations at four o'clock in the morning, having their doors broken down. These lawyers are all known for their activities in defense of human rights, for pursuing police violence cases."

    Security forces said they target members of the Revolutionary People's Liberation Front (DHKP-C), a group blamed for a number of attacks in Turkey since the 1970s. The Turkish government has accused the lawyers of transferring instructions from the group's imprisoned leaders to militants.

    Seven of the detained lawyers belong to the Progressive Lawyers Association, which last year launched a telephone hot line for people to report police abuse.

    In a statement, the lawyers' group condemned the detentions, calling them an attack against people and institutions that oppose the government and struggle for democracy and freedom.

    The arrests also included five members of a popular left-wing folk music group.

    Sinclair Webb of Human Rights Watch said the detentions part of a worrying trend. "This looks to be part of wider clampdown under anti-terror laws, which we have seen in Turkey over the last few years increasing,"he said. "This clampdown affects journalist's, human rights defenders and lawyers."

    According to international human rights groups, Turkey imprisons more journalists than any other country in the world. The government claims none of them are in jail for their pursuits of journalist activities.

    In a report this week, the watchdog group Freedom House categorized Turkey as only a partially free country in its "Freedom in the World Report," due to what it described as a serious decline in civil liberties and political rights.

    You May Like

    Pentagon: Afghan Hospital Bombing Not a War Crime

    US Central Command's Joseph Votel says probe found tragedy was result of 'extraordinarily intense situation' that included multiple equipment failures

    US Minorities Link Guns with Other Social Ills

    New study finds reduction in gun violence could help lower America’s incarceration rate – the world’s highest - and improve relationships between police, citizens in minority communities

    US Millennials Beat Baby Boomers as Largest Living Generation

    America's young people are about to take over and here's what we can expect from them

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
    January 18, 2013 3:00 PM
    Here we go again, back to the dastardly Ottoman empire way of conducting gvmt business. First the Human rights organizations, then Journalists, now the lawyers. No question in my view, that Erdogan continues to systematically destroy, by deliberate increments, all of what is left of the democratic institutions in Turkey. Minority rights were already oppressed. The more he moves up the road to a full dictatorship, the more Turkey will start to become politically unstable. Given all the different extremist groups accross in Syria, it will not be a surprise, if some of the extremist move into Turkey; an oppressed people will start working against the state, with the extremists.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkey Islamists

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora