Turkey: Protect Freedom of Expression During State of Emergency

By | July 28, 2016 at 9:19 am | No comments | News | Tags: ,

Turkey: Protect freedom of expression during State of Emergency

PEN International is calling for the Turkish authorities to uphold freedom of expression, human rights, and the rule of law during the state of emergency that was imposed in the wake of the attempted coup of July 15, 2016.

On July 20, President Erdogan declared a state of emergency and the suspension of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) for the duration of three months: allowing him to bypass parliament when creating new laws and to restrict freedoms and rights. At the time he also refused to rule out the use of the death penalty.

PEN is deeply concerned that alongside the legitimate investigations and detentions related to criminal conduct during the attempted coup, the authorities are using the state of emergency to further silence any and all critical voices in the country. As of July 28, arrest warrants have been issued for 42 journalists (a full list is available here) in addition to 47 former employees of Zaman newspaper. Three news agencies, 16 TV channels, 23 radio stations, 45 papers, 15 magazines and 29 publishers have been ordered shut.

“No one denies that the Turkish government has the right to investigate the coup plotters but this disproportionate crackdown on the media in response to the attempted coup is crushing free expression, the cornerstone of democracy, at a time when it is needed more than ever,” said Carles Torner, Executive Director of PEN International.

“No political event, no government crisis and no state of emergency should infringe on fundamental rights. The level of repression in the wake of the attempted coup in Turkey is deeply worrying. Our collective humanity suffers every time a writer or journalist is silenced,” said Jennifer Clement, president of PEN International.

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