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RIGHTS >Main opposition suggests bleak picture on Turkey’s human rights under AKP rule

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The number of arrested and convicted individuals have risen by 232 percent in Turkey in the last 15 years, while the population increased only by 13.8 percent, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said in a communique it released to lay out human rights violations committed under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) since it came to power in 2002, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Feb. 12

The communique prepared by party members and led by Zeynep Altıok, the party’s Human and Nature Rights representative and deputy chair, laid out compiled numerical data on human rights violations that occurred in various fields under the 12-year rule. 

The number of arrested and convicted individuals in jail was 59,429 when the AKP took office. In 2016, the number rose to 197,297, showing a 232 percent hike, which is disproportionate to the 13.8 rise in population, according to the data. 

Between 2010 and 2015, the number of unsolved murders was 432, of which 21 parliamentary inquiries about them were sent to probe, but had been dropped after AKP deputies disapproved to follow the cases. 

During the five years, 1,299 people had been convicted without fair trial, the report said, adding that according to the Rule of Law Index 2016 results, Turkey ranked 99th among 113 countries. Turkey was also ranked sixth among countries that had the least control over their governments. Meanwhile, Turkey in 2015 topped a list of European countries that violated the European Convention on Human Rights, with 20 violations to the right to fair trial and 28 violations of freedom of expression. 

The number of people probed for insulting the president was also a worrying issue, according to the CHP. The number of dossiers opened for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan skyrocketed to 1845 when compared with cases for former presidents Abdullah Gül and Ahmet Necdet Sezer, who respectively had 139 and 26 cases only. 

The CHP also said the state of press freedom was concerning and appalling, noting that between 2002 and 2015, there were 184 journalists arrested, while 150 journalists in total were arrested since July 27, 2016. According to World Press Freedom Index, Turkey ranked 151st among 180 countries, and in a report by the Committee to Protect Journalists, it appeared as the top country in the world with the highest number of journalists in jail. During the 15-year AKP rule, some 112,024 websites were shut down, categorizing Turkey as “not free” in internet freedom. 

The report also shed light on the number of dismissed public officials and academics as part of state of emergency decree laws that were issued after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, saying that the number was more than those dismissed during the September 12, 1980 military coup in Turkey. It added that only in 161 days, 30,470 teachers, 3,957 academics, and 3,456 judges and prosecutors had been dismissed.

February/12/2017

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