Amnesty International has called on the EU to pressure members to get Turkey “back in line” and halt its human rights crackdown.
“We believe the arrest of both the (local) chairman and director of Amnesty International signifies a step change in the human rights crisis in Turkey,” said Amnesty head Salil Shetty following a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels on Tuesday.
Shetty was referring to Ankara’s detention of Idil Eser, the Amnesty International Turkey’s director, and nine other activists, including a German and a Swedish national earlier in the month, as well as the last month detention of Amnesty International’s Turkey chair Taner Kilic over suspicion of links to an anti-Ankara movement led by US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed by Ankara for the 2016 failed coup.
“The EU has to make it clear that they have definitely crossed a red line and that it requires a resetting of the relationship with the EU,” he added.
He added that the coup “has become an excuse to lock up anybody asking a question, starting a debate.”
Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when a faction of the Turkish military declared that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was no more in charge of the country.
Over the course of some two days, however, the coup was suppressed. Almost 250 people were killed and nearly 2,200 others wounded in the abortive coup.
Since then, Ankara has been engaged in suppressing perceived putschists and sympathizers.
“This is totally beyond the pale; for the sake of the Turkish people, for Europe, Turkey has to be brought back in line and this is the moment to do it,” he added.
In November last year, the European Parliament suspended the accession talks with Ankara over concerns regarding human rights and the rule of law following the July 15 coup attempt against Erdogan.