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HomeHeadlineRivers of Human Rights Tears in Turkey (1)

Rivers of Human Rights Tears in Turkey (1)

In principle or theory, the ideals of moral political scientists from auditoriums and good governance rostrums, and the vows made by political leaders, converge or revolve around an old adage archived in the Roman Latin language: “Vox populi; Vox Dei (est)” — meaning “People’s voice (is) God’s voice.” To both the rulers and the ruled, this is implicit and non-negotiable.

However, what is experienced out in the field is mostly divergent. Why do we have dictators, corrupt leaders, and governments that are rife with intolerance, discrimination, oppression, repression, and disrespect for human rights? When the ‘populi’ want to express their ‘vox,’ the rulers put the ‘Dei’ aspect aside and often act in self-serving ways, even resorting to the unthinkable, as moralist and Islamic scholar Said Nursi observes in “The Seedbed of Light.”

Such off-the-course misbehavior by leaders, governments, and countries eventually attracts foreign attention to the extent of being seen as non-performing and called upon to rethink and rectify their mode of operation to get back on track. Isn’t that exactly where Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party have come to? What is the quality of leadership and the state of humanity being exhibited in Turkey today?

Within the echoes or vibrations of the Seventh Anniversary of the July 15, 2016 horrific coup, now known to be an inside job blamed on Fethullah Gulen, rivers of human rights tears emanate from malfunctions on the ground. Reports, global pleas, and more flew in the direction of Ankara, if only anyone would care to pay attention to their content.

First, a Turkish journalist released firsthand information confirming that the coup was a state conspiracy from start to finish. I covered this in my earlier article titled “July 15th is not a coup; A-Z state conspiracy” which Politurco ran. However, the journalist’s impeccable source, retired serviceman Tugeneral Gokhan Sahin Sonmezates, sentenced to 141 years of aggravated imprisonment, made an observation relevant to this analysis.

In total disregard for the gravity of his prison sentence, Sonmezates said: “There are thousands of women and children in prisons. They have nothing to do with me. I have nothing to do with them. I have nothing to do with these collapsing companies either. I didn’t get money or give money. If it went to the state coffers, I wouldn’t say anything; if it went to someone’s pocket, I don’t know. I don’t know what Bylock is. Anyway, it’s not something used by soldiers who joined (were trapped in) the revolution (coup)…” In short, Sonmezates, unconcerned about his own fate, is disturbed by the degree of human rights violations, corruption, and the use of false premises for arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning people in Turkey.

Commemorating what it called “the seventh anniversary of the tragic… staged coup,” the Alliance for Shared Values (AFSV) assures the world that “July 15 was the beginning of the demolition of the remaining pillars of Turkey’s semi-democratic system and the turning of the country into a one-man regime.”

AFSV, targeting the promotion of peace and social harmony by reducing misinformation and false stereotypes about ethnic, cultural, and religious communities, argues that “July 15th turned the judiciary into a punitive instrument of the Erdoğan government, investigating close to a million citizens, including teachers, doctors, journalists, lawyers, and housewives, and imprisoning hundreds of thousands of them.”

AFSV draws attention to Human Rights Watch’s labeling of the government’s actions as a “blank check” for police torture, Amnesty International’s report on torture and the arrest of its own chair in Turkey, Reporters Without Borders declaring Turkey the worst jailer of journalists in the world, and the European Court of Human Rights establishing Turkey’s violations of European conventions on human rights. It underlines the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights classifying Erdogan government’s actions, such as jailing pregnant women, as “simply outrageous, utterly cruel, and surely having nothing to do with making the country safer.”

The state of persecuting Erdogan’s perceived enemies is worsened by the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) conducting hundreds of cross-border operations, sometimes colluding with local authorities to illegally kidnap and transfer Turkish citizens living abroad, making Turkey one of the worst perpetrators of international repression.

In these circumstances, the AFSV message “urges the international community to require the Turkish government to take concrete steps to improve human rights, such as releasing women prisoners, prisoners of conscience, journalists, and political dissidents; stopping the intimidation and prosecution of lawyers; and allowing citizens who are trying to escape persecution to leave the country before providing any diplomatic or economic assistance to Turkey.”

The Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU) has expressed concern over prosecutorial practices in terrorism cases in Turkey, particularly in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016, coup. In its report titled “Perils of Unconstrained Prosecutorial Discretion: Prosecuting Terrorism Offences in Post-Coup Turkey,” the report lists “18 most commonly used criteria for charges under counterterrorism legislation based on a detailed analysis of 118 indictments that accuse individuals of membership in the faith-based Gulen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding the coup attempt and labels a ‘terrorist organization.'”

Among the criteria are using or downloading the Bylock messaging application, being an executive or a member of a trade union that has been closed/dissolved under a post-coup state of emergency for alleged links to the movement, subscription to periodicals closed/dissolved under the state of emergency for alleged links to the movement, donations made to relief organizations with alleged links to the movement, expressing support for opposition parties or criticizing the government for human rights violations, possessing a 1 USD banknote, traveling abroad, and anonymous tips/denunciations or secret witness statements.

The report says victims of Turkey’s trials claim they are unable to lead normal lives, find jobs, and support their families due to coercive state power coupled with the reversal of the presumption of innocence, severe financial and psychological problems, and hate speech employed by the government and its supporters against them.

This is where Turkey stands today, seven years down the post-coup crackdown lane, with flowing rivers of human rights violation tears.

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