FIDH condemns coup attempt in Turkey and calls for response which respects the rule of law and human rights

19/07/2016
Press release
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© Roberto Vinicius da Silva

(Paris) FIDH severely condemns the attempt by elements of the Turkish military to overrule the government by force of arms on Friday 15 July. Any such attempt must be condemned and perpetrators must be brought to justice. FIDH urges the authorities to ensure that any response fully respects democratic principles, the rule of law and human rights. Authorities must especially refrain from using the attempted coup as a pretext to justify further restrictions to human rights and fundamental freedoms and further repression against political opponents and human rights defenders in Turkey.

On Friday 15 July, a Turkish military faction declared a coup attempt and martial law, closing Istanbul’s bridges, airports, the Turkish parliament and some police stations. Turkish military claimed to have taken power to restore constitutional order, democracy and human rights. In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged people to take to the streets to protest against the coup. Parliament was struck by at least one bomb and media reported clashes, surrenders and chaos. 290 people lost their lives and another 1,440 are reported to have been injured across the country. As a reaction to Friday night’s attempted coup, the Turkish government began cracking down on those it suspected of being involved. More than 6,000 people, including senior military officials, have been arrested and 2,745 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed for alleged links to the coup. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to “cleanse the virus from all state institutions.”

FIDH strongly condemns the attempted coup and expresses its deepest sympathies to the victims, their families and the injured. Responsibility for upholding democratic principles and ensuring respect for the rule of law and human rights lies with the government and any change in government must be sought through democratic, free and fair elections and not by force.

FIDH is deeply concerned though about the Turkish government’s violent reaction, which risks further restricting human rights and fundamental freedoms and further breaching democratic rule in Turkey. Claims by Erdogan that he would reintroduce the death penalty and clear all institutions of political opponents are particularly concerning. The virulence of the reaction and its rapidity, leading to the arrest of thousands of people in the space of a few hours, also raises concerns regarding the actual ground for these indictments and appears disproportionate to the aim it intends to achieve.

“We urge the authorities to act within the rule of law and to refrain from any action that would lead to further violence and violate human rights. Any measure that would use the failed coup as a pretext to silence critical voices and threaten the independence of State institutions, media and civil society must be strongly condemned. All response to the inadmissible acts of violence which we have witnessed on Friday must firmly respect democratic standards, the rule of law and human rights.”

FIDH president Karim Lahidji

FIDH also urges the authorities to ensure that all those responsible are hold to account through transparent, impartial and thorough investigations and prosecutions which are carried out in full compliance with international fair trial standards.

It calls on the international community, notably the European Union, the Council of Europe and the United Nations, to keep monitoring the situation closely.

Read also the joint statement by FIDH member organisations, İHD and HRFT, on the coup attempt in Turkey.

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