Main opposition MP questions Turkish PM about detention of human rights activists
ANKARAMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul lawmaker Sezgin Tanrıkulu has asked Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım about the reasons behind the detentions of human rights activists in Istanbul.
Ten human rights activists were detained on July 5 at a conference on Istanbul’s Büyükada Island, prompting outrage among human rights groups and calls for the authorities to release them.
Tanrıkulu said in his parliamentary question that “the human rights defenders’ activities were open to public.”
“They are all members of associations that were founded within the law and their activities are open to public. The reasons behind their detentions are unknown due to the confidentiality order,” he added.
“On which grounds were they detained? What’s the reason behind detaining them in such secrecy? Are the allegations regarding the activists being kept in different police posts true? If true, what’s the reason for it?” Tanrıkulu said.
İdil Eser, the director of Amnesty International’s Turkey office, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, Günal Kurşun and Veli Acu from the Human Rights Agenda Association, Nalan Erkem and Özlem Dalkıran from the Citizen’s Assembly, Nejat Taştan from the Association for Monitoring Equal Rights, lawyer Şeyhmuz Özbekli, activist Peter Steudtner and moderator Ali Garawi were all detained during the July 5 meeting.
The detentions came less than a month after a court imprisoned the chairman of Amnesty’s Turkey branch pending trial, Taner Kılıç, on charges of “membership of a terrorist organization.” They come during an ongoing state of emergency declared following the failed July 2016 coup attempt, widely believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Meanwhile, Eser has sent a letter via her lawyer, saying “she feels at peace for being on the side of human rights and what’s right.”
“I have committed no crime other than defending human rights regardless of the identity of those in need. Everyone needs human rights, law and justice,” Eser said in her letter.