Saturday, November 19, 2016

UN special rapporteur: Turkish society faced with unprecedented pressure

The press, individuals online, artists, opposition voices and many others faced unprecedented pressure, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye said following a week-long official visit to Turkey.

He urged the Government to reverse this course “and return to protecting and promoting the rights that all people in Turkey enjoy under their Constitution and international human rights law”, the UN reported.

Kaye admitted that Turkey was currently facing a wide range of serious threats, particularly after the 15 July attempted coup, to which Mr. Kaye expressed sympathy for those who continue to feel its shock. The coup attempt resulted in a number of deaths and injuries as well as assaults on the country’s democratic institutions.

David Kaye insisted that the country must be responsible for the lives of its citizens and the continuation of its democratic freedoms. While the Government expressed to him its concerns about national security, he said “the unjustified attacks on lawyers, judges, journalists, artists, academics and activists undermine security and generate polarization and long-term instability.”

“I call on the Government in the strongest possible terms to immediately release all those held in prison for exercising their rights to freedom of opinion and expression,” Mr. Kaye urged.

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