Turkey: Amnesty International’s Brief on The Human Rights Situation


After two years of rapid deterioration in the human rights situation, Turkey’s state of emergency finally
ended on 18 July 2018. This long overdue and welcome news, however, was not accompanied by
concrete steps to normalize the human rights situation in the country. Instead, many of the measures
introduced during the state of emergency remain in force today and continue to have a profound and
devastating impact on public life in Turkey.
The state of emergency was used to consolidate draconian government powers to silence critical voices
and strip away fundamental rights and freedoms. Far from being reversed, many of these measures have
continued unabated since the end of the state of emergency.
Since 18 July 2018, the Turkish authorities have continued to target different groups in society under
various provisions in order to crack down on dissent and maintain a climate of fear. Human rights
defenders and trade union representatives have been rounded up in successive waves of detentions. The
government has introduced into ordinary law dismissal procedures similar to those it used during the
state of emergency to dismiss over 130,000 public sector workers and introduced suspensions for newly
qualified doctors who fail opaque security checks. As many as 123 journalists and other media workers
remain in prison while many university students are on trial facing terrorism related charges for merely
expressing dissenting views or participating in peaceful protests.
The human rights cost of the state of emergency has been massive and the consequences of the
government crackdown in the aftermath of the attempted coup of 15 July 2016 continue to be keenly
felt today. Over one hundred thousand public sector workers, publicly labelled as having links to terrorist
organizations and banned from public service for life, are still waiting for an effective remedy, while
facing destitution and tremendous social stigma. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people are languishing
in lengthy and punitive pre-trial detention, in many cases, without credible evidence of internationally
recognizable criminal acts.

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