Responding to comments by the Turkish Consul-General to Australia Melih Karalar on Radio National this morning, Campaigns Manager Michael Hayworth said:
“We call for the immediate and unconditional release of 10 human rights defenders arrested by the Turkish government for their peaceful human rights work, including the Director of Amnesty International Turkey Idil Eser. The ‘Istanbul 10’ are now facing an absurd investigation for membership of an ‘armed terrorist organisation’.
“The arrests represent an attack on Turkey’s most prominent human rights NGOs and is a severe blow to a civil society already under siege. They also follow the arrest, a month ago of the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, Taner Kiliç, who must also be released.
“The 249 people killed and injured a year ago during the violent coup attempt deserve the utmost respect and those responsible for the violence should be brought to justice.
“However, since then, the crackdown on dissent by Turkish authorities has seen more than 100,000 public sector employees dismissed, tens of thousands of people arbitrarily arrested, hundreds of journalists detained, and hundreds of media outlets and NGOs shut down.”
The ‘Istanbul 10’ were arrested while participating in a human rights workshop on 6 July 2017. They are Veli Acu, Özlem Dalkıran, İdil Eser, Nalan Erkem, Günal Kurşun, Şeymus Özbekli, Nejat Taştan, İlknur Üstün (Turkish nationals), Ali Gharavi (Swedish national) and Peter Steudtner (German national).