United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has issued a warning regarding the election to be held on June 24 in Turkey and made a call. “Over the past two years, through successive states of emergency, the space for dissent in Turkey has shrunk considerably, with at least 29 more journalists jailed on terrorism offences in just the last week of April alone,” said Zeid in a statement.
Zeid went on:
“During the 18-month period of emergency rule, which was declared following an attempted coup in 2016, nearly 160,000 people have been arrested; 152,000 civil servants dismissed, many arbitrarily; and teachers, judges and lawyers dismissed or prosecuted.
“The heavy police presence and arrests during the May Day protests also demonstrated yet again the severely limited space for freedom of peaceful assembly in the country.
“It is difficult to imagine how credible elections can be held in an environment where dissenting views and challenges to the ruling party are penalized so severely.
“Elections held in an environment where democratic freedoms and the rule of law are compromised would raise questions about their legitimacy, and result in more uncertainty and instability”, Zeid underscored.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “We don’t take it seriously”
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Hami Aksoy has denounced the UN’s statement. “This statement is questioning the election decision taken by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, which represents our nation’s will, and is involving unfortunate expressions as to how an independent country should be governed”.
“We don’t take this statement seriously, which was made solely on political motives”.
Pointing to the State of Emergency that lasted two years in France, Aksoy said, “Any measure that restricts our citizens’ rights and freedoms is out of question. State of Emergency is not an obstacle before holding democratic elections. Furthermore, the High Commissioner should know that elections were held in France during State of Emergency period”. (ŞA/TK)