In a statement it released on Jan. 20, the Human Rights Association (İHD) said that prosecutors had filed three lawsuits against its president Öztürk Türkdoğan and the association itself.
“For the first time since the 1990s, the İHD is facing severe judicial issues,” former İHD chairman Hüsnü Öndül declared.
“Those lawsuits breach the jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court as well as that of the European Court of Human Rights. The first hearing will be held at the Ankara 19h High Criminal Court on February 22 at 09:15. We urge everyone and all institutions that defend human rights to attend this hearing and show solidarity with our association.”
The indictments prepared against İHD included the association’s recognition of the Armenian genocide and an article published on its website which, it said, “constitutes a crime against Interior Minister Süleyman Soylü.”
İHD chair Öztürk Türkdoğan reacted to his indictment with the following statement: “Last year, I was detained on March 19 and released on condition of judicial control. But a month ago, the Turkish parliament targeted our association as we asked for an impartial investigation to be carried out regarding the killing of 13 Turkish security personnel in Northern Iraq last year.”
“The Turkish state loves to accuse all citizens, human rights defenders, politicians, activists, trade unionists, students and sensitive people of membership in a terrorist organization. There is probably no other country in the world that accuses so many of its own citizens,” Türkdoğan added.
Opposition DEVA Party MP Mustafa Yeneroğlu reacted to those lawsuits declaring it sided with Öztürk Türkdoğan and the Human Rights Association.
“The Human Rights Association is a long-standing organization that has carried out numerous studies regarding arbitrary arrests, detentions, torture, forced abductions and rights violations in prisons”, Yeneroğlu said.
“The government uses terrorism accusations as a tool to intimidate human rights defenders in Turkey. There are over half a million investigations being led at the moment over alleged terrorist organization membership. Everyone who opposes the government’s unlawful and arbitrary practices is called a terrorist,” he added.