UN head ‘deeply concerned’ by ongoing arrests in Turkey

UN head ‘deeply concerned’ by ongoing arrests in Turkey

UN head ‘deeply concerned’ by ongoing arrests in Turkey

AFP photo

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed “deep concern” about the nationwide wave of arrests in Turkey following a failed coup attempt, during a phone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. 

Ban expressed solidarity with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government during the phone call, a readout on the phone call said, while urging Ankara to “adhere to its human rights obligations.”

“The secretary-general also expressed his concern over the extent of the recent governmental decree regarding the implementation of the state of emergency, which enlists a number of measures restricting the full exercise of individual rights,” U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said. 

In his conversation with the foreign minister, Ban “referred to worrying reports of mistreatment and abuse of some of those who are still in custody and their detention conditions, and underscored his deep concern about the scope of continuing widespread arrests, detentions and suspensions,” Haq said. “Credible evidence on those under investigation has to be presented swiftly to the judicial system so that legal determination can be made before the court of law.”

The U.N. chief said that while he recognized the “extraordinary circumstances prevailing in the country following the coup attempt,” he expected Turkey to uphold fundamental rights and to adhere to its international obligations.

Ban has spoken out repeatedly on the need for Turkey to respect freedom of speech and assembly and to uphold due process.

More than 15,000 people, including military officers, were detained during the massive sweep that followed the failed July 15 coup, and at least 8,000 remain in custody.

On July 27, Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants for dozens of journalists, including 47 former staff of daily Zaman, one of the country’s biggest newspapers.   

The U.N. chief “trusts that the government and people of Turkey will transform this moment of uncertainty into a moment of unity, preserving Turkey’s democracy,” the spokesman added.