In the previous article, more light was shed on the tragic coup that took place on 15th July 2016 in Turkey, confirming it as a thorough state conspiracy, after which the Erdoğan government embarked on a path of demolishing the pillars of democracy. Seven years have passed since then, during which the regime has transformed the judiciary into a punitive instrument, leading to investigations of about a million of its citizens, including housewives.
Similar actions have been taken against the parliament and the executive pillars, and the media has not been spared either. Unfortunately, there are no signs that this distressing state of governance and humanity is waning. This has prompted individuals, as well as national and international rights groups, to call for strategic multi-pronged global action to force Erdogan to uphold the rule of law.
The urgency for such action is heightened by the recent seventh anniversary of the coup and the controversial parliamentary and presidential polls in Turkey, which have effectively handed over even more power to the oppressive and repressive Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party for another five years. This situation can be likened to the African indigenous proverb, “wamujweka eishansha” – which means adorning a mad person with a crown of dry banana leaves.
The question is: Why is this multi-approach reaction to the situation in Turkey so crucial? The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights put it aptly when it classified the current actions of the Erdogan government, such as jailing pregnant women, as “simply outrageous, utterly cruel, and surely cannot have anything whatsoever to do with making the country (and the world) safer.”
A recent report from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Poverty Solidarity Office has revealed the gravity of the economic crisis in Turkey, with 51.6 million people (equivalent to 60.4% of the population) living below the hunger line. This deepening economic crisis exacerbates the poor human rights records in the country.
Furthermore, troubling statistics from MHP Deputy Chairman and Istanbul Deputy Feti Yildiz reveal that a significant number of people perceived as members of the Hizmet (Service) Movement have been detained and arrested. The report by academician-cum-sociologist Bayram Erzurumluoglu sheds light on “151 crimes against humanity,” some of which revolve around disturbing actions against families, including attempts to sever adopted children from their families and harassment to break the social ties of the family. Other crimes include civil death, torture, hate crimes, and economic and social pressures.
The report also highlights the shocking mistreatment of women during detention and childbirth, including denying access to health services, depriving babies of breast milk, and forcing babies and children to stay/live in prison with their mothers without proper care.
On the judicial front, the report reveals arbitrariness and discrimination, where individuals are considered guilty until proven innocent. Trials are conducted by specially appointed judges, and the punishment system is biased against the accused.
Given the worsening human rights situation in Turkey, it is crucial for the international community to take concrete steps to improve human rights in the country. This includes releasing prisoners of conscience, journalists, and political dissidents, stopping the intimidation and prosecution of lawyers, and allowing citizens seeking refuge from persecution to leave the country.
Recent statements from German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn underscore the need for the international community, especially the European Union, to reconsider their cooperation with Turkey, as long as human rights abuses persist.
The world must not turn a blind eye to the human rights tears flowing in Turkey. The Erdogan regime’s actions have made the social, economic, peace, and safety banks increasingly vulnerable. Urgent action is needed to prevent further human rights violations and to uphold the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights in Turkey.