Rights violations surging

Rights violations surging

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Rights violations surging

Turkey’s Human Rights Foundation recent report says more than 4,000 were detained and 1,833 were arrested in the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) case in 2011. AA photo

On the occasion of world Human Rights Week, lawyers, human rights workers and academics said Turkey has been taking backwards steps on human rights issues, especially since 2005.

“The regulations in the enlargement of the police authority after 2005 and changes in Turkey’s anti-terror law in 2006 leave Turkey with an unsatisfactory judicial process,” head of Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Metin Bakkalcı told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey’s (TİHV) recently released 2011 report shows in the past year 473 people have applied to the association for being subjected to violence and 19 people have been killed by police and security forces for failure to obey stop warnings or by police’s haphazard shots. 

“It is easy to say ‘zero tolerance to violence’ but the government should prosecute security forces’ ill-treatment of civilians,” Zafer Üskül, former president of Parliament’s Human Rights Commission told the Daily News.

“Unfortunately only a small percentage of the security officers who exert violence are investigated. During my term, only two percent were convicted,” Üskül said, adding that another contradictory point is where there is an investigation into the security forces exerting violence, there is also an investigation opened against the victims. 

Relations with the EU

The report also shows almost 45 percent of the people in prisons have not yet been convicted. The rate is close to 90 percent when looking at child prisoners.

“Arbitrary detentions and arrests have tremendously increased and the Turkish judicial system has become nothing more than allegations and punishments. There is no judgment process,” lawyer Hülya Gülbahar told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Human Rights Foundation of Turkey’s report also shows that Turkey has imprisoned 322 people this year with for speech, writing or ideas.

“During the early 2000s, Turkey was making strides towards improved human rights and this was backed by its relationship with the EU and its regulations,” Gülbahar said. 

“However, after the 2005 regulations Turkey has left behind the steps to be taken.”

“Turkey put its signature under European Convention of Human Rights, which directly affects internal law and regulations, yet such criteria cannot really be applied,” Üskül said. “However, Turkey cannot take the risk of leaving the European Council.”