Erdoğan gov't set back Turkey’s human rights record by decades: HRW

In its 2022 World Report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has put Turkey's human rights record back decades and clearly disregards international humanitarian law.

This file photo shows people walking on Istanbul's İstiklal Avenue.

Duvar English 

In its 2022 World Report released on Jan. 13, Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan “has set back Turkey’s human rights record by decades,” targets the opposition, undermines the independence of the judiciary, and disrupts democratic institutions.

HRW's statement said that Turkey is the first country to have withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention and still refuses to release businessperson Osman Kavala despite the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision with regards to the Kavala case. It was reminded that the Council of Europe started the sanction process. It was underlined that Turkey is the second country to face such a sanction process in the history of the Council of Europe.

The report said that a restrictive environment prevails in Turkey for the media, human rights defenders, the LGBTI+ community, Kurdish political activists and others perceived as dissidents by the government.

The report highlighted that prominent politicians of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have been in prison for over five years, and there is a closure case against the entire party before the Constitutional Court. Political control over the courts is at the center of the deep erosion of the rule of law in Turkey, the report highlighted.

Also, according to the report, “there was little evidence to suggest prosecutors made progress in investigating the rising allegations of torture and ill-treatment in police custody and prison reported over the past five years. Few such allegations result in prosecution of the security forces, and a pervasive culture of impunity persists…Abductions and enforced disappearances continue to be reported and are not investigated properly. ”

"Authorities continued to use terrorism and defamation charges to harass rights defenders, and to violate their right to assembly," it said.