(OTTAWA) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is being requested to apply pressure on the Turkish government over its increasingly repressive crackdown on political dissent, following a July 2016 failed coup attempt.
“Turkey, once admired for its economic and social progress, is continuing down the path of authoritarian rule,” said Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “We demand the urgent release of leading human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, and other members of Turkish civil society, who have been arrested on trumped-charges of belonging to a terrorist organization. President Erdoğan’s heavy-handed measures—which have led to the detention of thousands of critics of the Turkish government—are an affront to the most essential values of a democratic society.”
Idil Eser, Director of Amnesty International’s office in Turkey, was arrested on July 5, alongside nine others who were attending a workshop in Istanbul. This took place following the arrest of Taner Kilic, a human rights lawyer and Amnesty Turkey's Chair, who continues to be held in custody and is awaiting trial. These activists are accused of belonging to a terrorist organization—charges that have been widely dismissed as baseless.
“The move away from democracy through the crackdown on political dissent is not only a grave violation of human rights, but is a blight on Turkey’s standing in the international community,” noted Joe Foster, Human Rights Critic for the Green Party of Canada. “It is incumbent upon Prime Minister Trudeau to consistently demand respect for human rights abroad, while making further strides towards respecting human rights at home—particularly with regards to Canada’s Indigenous peoples.”
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