Amnesty rages at ‘grotesque’ arrest

Amnesty rages at ‘grotesque’ arrest

Amnesty International says the Turkish police, in a “grotesque abuse of power”, have detained its country director and other campaigners.

Idil Eser, director of Amnesty International Turkey, was taken into custody during a “digital security and information management workshop” on Buyukada (pictured), one of the Princes’ Islands near Istanbul, Amnesty said.

The Hurriyet newspaper said 12 were detained in the police raid on the popular retreat with Istanbul residents.

The Turkish authorities have also banned television dating shows, which the Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek has called “strange programmes that would scrap the institution of family, take away its nobility and sanctity”.

There has also been online censorship, including a block on Wikipedia, and attempted restrictions on Facebook and Twitter.

The authorities were unavailable to comment and it is unclear where those detained were being held.

“We are profoundly disturbed and outraged that some of Turkey’s leading human rights defenders, including the director of Amnesty International Turkey, should have been detained so blatantly without cause,” said Salil Shetty, the body’s secretary general.

He demanded they be “immediately and unconditionally released”.

Amnesty Turkey chairman, Taner Kilic, was arrested on what the organisation called “baseless charges” for alleged links to the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, the supposed architect of the botched July 15 coup last year.

Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the coup. Gulen denies any involvement.

Amnesty said other activists arrested included Ilknur Ustun of the Women’s Coalition, lawyer Gunal Kursun and Veli Acu of the Human Rights Agenda Association.

Two foreign rights specialists training at the workshop, German and Swedish nationals, and the hotel owner, were also taken away, Amnesty said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned Germany’s refusal to let him address Turks at a rally on the sidelines of this weekend’s G20 summit. Before meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, he said Germany was committing “political suicide.”

“What kind of mentality is that? That’s very ugly. I have never seen anything like that. Germany is committing suicide. That’s a political suicide,” Erdogan was reported saying by Die Zeit magazine.

“Germany must correct this error,” he said, that he “could not be silenced”.

Erdogan hoped to address German Turks with an appearance in Dortmund.

Earlier this year, the president claimed Germany’s behavior was “Nazi-like”.

Buyukada, one of the Princes’ Islands off Istanbul. Picture credit: IHA


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