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HRW to Turkey: End state of emergency and political repression

Human Rights Watch has called on the Turkish government to reverse its extension of state of emergency in the country and end the political repression on opponents.

In a statement on Monday the international human rights organisation recommended that Turkey’s Cabinet not approve an extension to the state of emergency after the government’s referendum victory.

“After securing a narrow victory in Sunday’s referendum, the government and president should govern in the interests of everyone in Turkey, not just their political supporters,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW). “Turkey’s government and president need to end the state of emergency and the repressive campaign against the media and the pro-Kurdish political opposition.”

The statement also said Erdogan and the government “should be setting out the steps they intend to take to restore full respect for human rights in Turkey, including ending arbitrary detention and prosecution, safeguarding freedom of the media and expression and judicial independence, and guaranteeing all citizens their right to political participation. The cabinet’s decision to extend the state of emergency would further endanger human rights and the rule of law, which have already been badly damaged in Turkey under the state of emergency.”

Referring to the findings of the OSCE, which said there had been an “unlevel playing field” before the vote and the controversial ruling of the country’s electoral board on unsealed votes the HRW said the Turkish government and Erdogan should respond to concerns rather than ignoring them.

The group also blasted the president’s call for the reintroduction of the death penalty in his first speech after the referendum win saying, HRW “opposes capital punishment in all circumstances because of its irreversible, cruel, and inhumane nature.”

“Any move to reintroduce the death penalty would be another disastrous step away from human rights norms for Turkey,” the group’s Europe and Central Asia director added.