U.N. calls for Turkey to end state of emergency, Turkey responds harshly

By Middle East Affairs

The United Nations on Tuesday called on Turkey to end its state of emergency, which it said led to human rights violations, and as Reuters reports, Turkey has quickly dismissed as unfounded allegations.

The U.N. said Turkey has arrested of 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of civil servants since the state of emergency began in July 2016.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement that the report contained “unfounded allegations matching up perfectly with the propaganda efforts of terrorist organizations.”

The state of emergency was prompted by a failed coup. Since then, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has issued more than 20 decrees “which have often led to torture of detainees, impunity and interference with the judiciary,” Reuters reports the U.N. human rights office as saying.

Turkey should “promptly end the state of emergency and restore the normal functioning of institutions and the rule of law,” according to the U.N. report.

“The sheer number, frequency and lack of connection of several [emergency] decrees to any national threat seem to … point to the use of emergency powers to stifle any form of criticism or dissent vis-à-vis the government,” it said.

Reuters said Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights commented that the numbers of people arrested or dismissed are “just staggering.”

“Teachers, judges and lawyers dismissed or prosecuted; journalists arrested, media outlets shut down and websites blocked – clearly the successive states of emergency declared in Turkey have been used to severely and arbitrarily curtail the human rights of a very large number of people,” Zeid said.

According to the news agency, the 28-page report documents “the use of torture and ill-treatment in custody, including severe beatings, sexual assault, electric shocks and waterboarding by police, gendarmerie, military police and security forces.”

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