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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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KHRP Condemns Ongoing Detentions in Turkey

KHRP is alarmed by a continuing wave of arrests in Turkey, which began in the wake of local elections in late March. Hundreds of people who have been detained include human rights defenders, union members, lawyers and Kurdish political activists.

In the past weeks, this has included arrests of individuals working with KHRP’s partner organisation in Turkey İnsan Haklari Derneği (Human Rights Association, İHD). Four people associated with the organisation were held for two days from 12 May and were subsequently banned from travelling abroad. One of them, İHD Executive Committee member Filiz Kalayci, was then rearrested on 28 May.


Also on 28 May, security forces detained Yuksel Mutlu, a spokesperson for the Turkish Assembly for Peace human rights group. Her case has reportedly been declared confidential, thus preventing lawyers from meeting with her or examining the evidence against her, in clear violation of international fair trial principles.

Others detained in operations across the country on the same day included members of the Confederation of Public Employees Trade Unions (KESK). Members of the pro-Kurdish Demokratik Toplum Partisi (Democratic Society Party, DTP) have also been rounded up.

This latest wave of arrests is consistent with longer-term patterns of harassment and repression noted by a KHRP fact-finding mission that travelled to the Kurdish regions of Turkey in early May. Many journalists, local officials and others interviewed by the mission reported facing frequent criminal investigations in connection with their public expression of non-violent opinions.

‘It is extremely disappointing to see this regression towards familiar patterns of repression,’ said KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yıldız. ‘Moves such as these only serve to underscore the fragility of the limited advances that have been made in the context of Turkey’s progress towards European Union accession. We urge the Turkish government to engage in constructive dialogue with those who peacefully criticise the state, rather than silencing them with repressive tactics.’