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Responding to statements made by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu at a press conference following his meeting with the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini in Brussels, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, John Dalhuisen, made the following statement:
“Whilst we welcome the acknowledgement by the Foreign Minister that Amnesty International are regarded as ‘a credible global organisation’, his assertion that we will be ‘able to conduct activities freely’ is a bold claim in light of the fact that both the Director and the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey are languishing behind bars alongside seven other human rights activists.
“The absurd case against Idil Eser is not based on any nefarious activities but instead rests entirely upon the legitimate work of Amnesty International. If this work is criminalised, it is hard to see how the organisation - or indeed the wider human rights movement in Turkey - can continue to function.
“Equally, the unfounded allegation that has landed Taner Kiliç in jail - that he downloaded and used Bylock on his phone - is false and we will show it. The vital work done by Amnesty International and the people who undertake that work cannot be separated. They are indivisible and we will fight to secure their release.”
Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu had said that the operations target individuals, not the organizations, hence Turkey “doesn’t have any problems with neither Amnesty nor other NGOs”.
Police first searched the house of Taner Kılıç, who has been an Amnesty International Board member since June 6, 2017, then searched his office. Detention warrants were issued for Kılıç and 22 lawyers who are suspected to be linked with the “Fethullahist Terror Organization”. Kılıç was arrested on June 9.
Director of Amnesty International Turkey İdil Eser was taken into custody along with nine other rights advocates at a meeting about protection and security of rights advocates. She was arrested on July 18 on charges of “committing a crime as non-member on behalf of the organization” and “being a member of an armed organization”. (ÇT/TK)
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