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HRS statement on mass arrests in Turkey

Human Rights Solidarity is deeply concerned about the mass arrests of people with alleged relations to imprisoned members or imputed members of the Gulen Movement. The victims of this latest campaign of arrests are reportedly unemployed and impoverished relatives of already imprisoned people who have accepted humanitarian aid from third parties in times of difficulty.

Supporting relatives of inmates serving their terms is a virtue. However, forcing relatives of inmates to hunger and misery is the actual crime. This is kin punishment.

In a press release today, Turkish Interior Minister Mr Suleyman Soylu stated that the Turkish police launched a mass arrest campaign against people who are accused of financially helping relatives of prisoners affiliated with the Gulen Movement and the recipients of such help. According to the statement, police raided houses in 59 different cities, searching for 704 people, 543 of whom are already detained.

Human Rights Solidarity is concerned that;

  • In the run-up towards an early election in the country, these operations will be intensified and used to create a sense of security threat to crystalise public support around President Erdogan,
  • Such mass campaigns are organised in response to international criticism about Turkey’s application of its vague anti-terrorism laws to silence dissent. Turkey was recently criticised in the Council of Europe’s Monitoring Committee Report prepared by British parliamentarian John Howell and his Latvian colleague Boriss Cilevics. In his talk of support at the Parliamentary Assembly, British Parliamentarian Sir Edwar Leigh had labelled Turkey’s proscription of the Gulen Movement as a terrorist organisation as a “ridiculous” act unsupported by any Western intelligence organisation.
  • Such mass arrests give credence to the 2020 observation of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that the mass arrests of the alleged Gulenists “may establish a pattern amounting to crimes against humanity.”

Human Rights Solidarity, we invite all concerned individuals and organisations to raise their voices against these arrests.

The frontier for the fight against human rights violations anywhere is everywhere.