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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gives a military salute during an address to parliament in Ankara on Oct. 30. (Burhan Ozbilici/AP)

Late one night in June, Nurcan Baysal, a Kurdish journalist and human rights defender, was watching TV at her home in Diyarbakir, in Turkey’s southeast. Her younger son was playing with Legos, and her oldest was busy with his phone. At half past midnight, a terrifying noise shook them all. At first they thought it was an earthquake, or perhaps a bomb. Baysal sent the boys back to their rooms and ran to the door.

Some 20 or so anti-terrorism officers were trying to break down her front door, which proved too solid; the walls cracked instead. She let the balaclava-clad agents wielding rifles in through the veranda door.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Turkish police officer watches a political rally in Istanbul in front of posters of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, left, and the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Lefteris Pitarakis/AP)

Turkey recently called snap elections to be held June 24, even as it extended the state of emergency for a seventh time since a failed coup attempt in 2016. And in the wake of a 2017 constitutional referendum that vested extraordinary powers in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, observers warn that Turkey is on the fast track to authoritarianism.

While not part of the European Union, Turkey is member of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). The court retains the force of law over contracting states and has previously ruled on contentious issues from prisoners’ right to vote to the treatment of terrorism suspects in custody.…  Seguir leyendo »

Soldiers and government supporters in Taksim Square, Istanbul, during the coup attempt on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, in July 2016. Credit Emrah Gurel/Associated Press

Editors’ note: On Feb. 16, a Turkish court sentenced Ahmet Altan, a novelist and former newspaper editor; his brother, Mehmet Altan, an economics professor and political commentator; Nazli Ilicak, a prominent journalist; and three media employees to life imprisonment without parole for involvement in the July 15, 2016, coup attempt in Turkey.

The Altan brothers had appeared on a television program hosted by Ms. Ilicak a day before the coup attempt. Turkish prosecutors claimed that they gave “subliminal messages” announcing the coup on the program.

Turkey says that a network led by Fethullah Gulen, an Islamist cleric based in the United States, orchestrated the coup, which included an attempt on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s life, the bombing of the Parliament and the deaths of more than 270 people.…  Seguir leyendo »

Osman Kavala in Brussels in 2014. He has been charged with trying to overthrow the Turkish government. Credit Wiktor Dabkowski/Deutsche Presse-Agentur, via Associated Press

The ever-expanding crackdown by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey against real and perceived enemies has reached outlandish levels.

On Oct. 19, Osman Kavala, one of Turkey’s most prominent businessmen and civil society activists, was detained at an airport in Istanbul. On Wednesday a court charged him with trying to overthrow the government and “attempting to abolish the constitutional order.”

A lanky, charismatic man with a shock of curly hair, Mr. Kavala is well known in Turkey, Europe and parts of the Middle East for his tireless work to heal the country’s multiple fractures.

Mr. Kavala was returning from Gaziantep, a city in southeastern Turkey that houses about 350,000 Syrian refugees.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les Nations unies viennent de publier un rapport accablant sur les « graves violations des droits de l’homme » et des crimes de guerre perpétrées par la Turquie dans « ses » provinces kurdes (« Report on the Human Rights Situation in South-East Turkey. July 2015 to December 2016 », HCDH).

Le rapport dénonce en particulier la destruction partielle d’une trentaine de villes et localités, souvent à l’arme lourde, et les massacres de civils dans le cadre du conflit contre la guérilla du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK).

Derrière la triste des noms de villes victimes, il y a des hauts lieux de l’histoire et de la mémoire collective des populations locales.…  Seguir leyendo »

Solidaridad con la otra Turquía

Si este periódico se publicara en Turquía, este artículo podría estar vacío, sin nada más que la fotografía del autor y las palabras “124 días privado de libertad”, en gran tamaño. Eso es lo que está publicando el periódico más importante que le queda a la oposición, Cumhuriyet,en nombre de sus columnistas encarcelados, con los días que llevan presos y que van aumentando. Uno de ellos, Kadri Gürsel, que es además miembro de la junta directiva del International Press Institute, envió recientemente una carta conmovedora que empieza: “Os saludo a todos afectuosamente desde la galería b, módulo 25, de la prisión número 9 de Silivri”.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman reacts after a blast in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern city of Diyarbakir, November 4, 2016. Sertac Kayar/Reuters

In Turkey’s April 16 referendum, voters will decide whether to allow president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to consolidate his powers and extend his term. This article, originally published on February 28 2017, celebrates the country’s formerly inclusive, multicultural democracy and asks whether it is already past the point of no return – with or without referendum.

I write life for those who can catch it in a breath, in an exhale. Like one picks a fruit on a branch, like tearing out a root.

– Asli Erdoğan, from Taş Bina ve Diğerleri.

Until very recently, Turkey was the place to be.…  Seguir leyendo »

When Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, recently paid a visit to Washington, he gave Americans a taste of the kinds of policies he employs at home. His guards reportedly roughed up reporters outside a think tank while an LED-lit van that said “Truth + Peace = Erdogan” drove around the United States capital.

Many American policy makers are horrified by Mr. Erdogan’s efforts to kill off what is left of free speech in Turkey. Even President Obama admitted that he was “troubled” by the direction of the country, a NATO ally.

While the American public is right to be concerned about Mr.…  Seguir leyendo »

The sentences handed down Monday by the Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 13 against 275 defendants in the “Ergenekon trial” brought to a close perhaps the most politically divisive trial in Turkey’s history.

The defendants (66 of whom were in prison at the time of the verdict) received a range of long sentences, including life imprisonment, with the vast majority convicted of aiding and abetting or membership in a “terrorist organization” (the “Ergenekon” gang), which plotted coups against the government in 2004.

Those convicted include retired and serving military personnel, academics, journalists and some organized crime figures. Defendants are likely to appeal their sentences all the way to the European Court of Human Rights.…  Seguir leyendo »

A new political order is emerging in the Middle East, and Turkey aspires to be its leader by taking a stand against authoritarian regimes. Earlier this week, Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, went so far as to denounce the Syrian government’s continuing massacres of civilians as “attempted genocide.”

Turkey’s desire to champion human rights in the region is a welcome development, but Mr. Erdogan’s condemnation of Syria is remarkably hypocritical. As long as Turkey continues to deny crimes committed against non-Turks in the early 1900s, during the final years of the Ottoman Empire, its calls for freedom, justice and humanitarian values will ring false.…  Seguir leyendo »

There has been much discussion in the U.S. and European media of Turkey as a rising star after its recent stance on Syria and its general support for the "Arab Spring."

Turkey is viewed as the successful merger of Islam and modernization. The Muslim religious coloring of the ruling Justice and Development Party is not seen as being at odds with its democratic, pro-Western outlook. The government has won popular support in the region, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan greeted rapturously on his recent tour of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Turkey's vibrant economy contrasts with the economic crises in Europe and the United States.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Turquie, qui est membre du Conseil de l'Europe depuis 1949 et qui a ratifié la Convention européenne des droits de l'homme en 1954, connaît encore des difficultés à se conformer à cette dernière. 1 676 arrêts de violations ont été rendus par la Cour européenne des droits de l'homme et, à ce jour, 12 029 requêtes sont encore pendantes. Les violations sont souvent graves : elles concernent les atteintes à la vie, l'interdiction de la torture et des traitements inhumains, l'habeas corpus, mais également la liberté d'expression ; cela reflète à quel point le respect de la Convention en Turquie demeure fragile.…  Seguir leyendo »

Par Claude Edelmann, cinéaste et membre du Collectif pour les droits de l'homme en Turquie (LE MONDE, 05/10/06):

Un père affectionné nous offre la main de sa fille malade en mariage. La belle est éblouissante. Et, comble de bonheur, ce père nous assure que la promise, soignée, est en voie de guérison. "Je ne minimise pas le travail qui nous reste à accomplir", ajoute-t-il, comme s'il s'agissait d'un détail secondaire. C'est ce qu'écrit M. Abdullah Gül, vice-premier ministre, et ministre des affaires étrangères de Turquie (Le Monde du 26 septembre). Il nous accorde que les obstacles ne manquent pas sur le chemin de l'adhésion de son pays à l'Union européenne.…  Seguir leyendo »