Situation of Civil Society Organizations in Turkey

–  Désirée Pethrus (KD) to Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (S)  –

Sweden prioritizes in its foreign policy human rights and democracy.
Therefore many people expect the government to increase pressure on Turkey because of the fact that development is now clearly in the wrong direction.
In July 2017, the Swedish citizen Ali Ghavari was arrested outside Istanbul when he participated training on human rights in arrangements of Amnesty International.
Germany’s President and Christian Democrat Angela Merkel stated clearly that the arrests, which also affected a German citizen, were completely unjustified – a clear language we also wanted from the Swedish government.
Gharavi was released in October with bail.
He is just the one of many affected by the Turkish regime’s attacks on civil society and its organizations.
In July 2016, a failed coup attempt was made for less than a day, and 265 people died and 1,440 were injured in connection with the coup attempt.
The coup attempt is considered to have been initiated by a military faction, but it is still unclear what happened.
According to Amnesty, more than 100,000 public employees, including doctors, academics, teachers and police officers have been sacked from their jobs in a major cleanup after the coup attempt.
Erdogan believes that the former ally and leader of the so-called Gülen movement, Fethullah Gülen, is behind the military coup and seeks to fight anyone who is considered to have any connection with him and his movement.
There can be completely incomprehensible reasons that are in no way whatsoever, as people describe, when they are terminated from their jobs and today lack supply.
All families have suffered and are unable to get a job.
Following the criticized referendum on the presidential power that took place in April 2017, the situation of human rights activists and journalists has further deteriorated.
The referendum was aimed at pushing through a new constitution where the president gives himself more power.
This has been criticized in many media.
The tense political situation have affected inter alia freedom of expression, press and organization, but also the human rights situation.
In this year December the latest report of The Committee for Protect Journalists (CPJ) is written that Turkey is one of the countries that captures most journalists.
Since 1992, according to the CPJ website, 1 271 journalists have been murdered in Turkey.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Turkey reached 151 out of 180 in the press freedom index in 2016.
Here, Sweden and the EU must raise the vote and do more to stop the noise of journalists.
The internal repression in Turkey is exacerbated continuously.
By means of anti-terrorism legislation, the free access to information is deleted.
Access to social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube has been limited, as internet.
Critical journalists have been harassed, lost their jobs, and ended up in prison.
Independent media and civil society organizations have problems with tax authorities, and with the help of the courts, opponents and journalists are thrown into prison.
In addition to journalists and various civil society organizations working for human rights, the trade unions are also affected in Turkey.
Their rights have taken several steps back in recent years.
The union assets that are imprisoned must have legal certainty.
Several have got passports that were seized so that they can not travel.
It is almost impossible to engage in union in Turkey nowadays.
Hbtq people are also detained, according to the UD’s MR report, referring to general morals, and their ability to organize themselves is limited.
Now international leaders need to speak plainly and raise the issue of basic human rights and freedoms more in Turkey.
We can not accept the imprisonment of democracy activists, union leaders, journalists in a country that wants to become a member of the EU.
The question is what Sweden does and what kan do more.
On the basis of what has been stated, my questions are to Foreign Minister Margot Wallström:
1. what the Foreign Minister does in order to support, in particular, journalists, trade unions, hbtq people, academics and activists in civil society organizations for human rights?
2. In what way does the minister intend to work in Sweden and international contexts to ensure that international terrorist legislation is not used by regimes in order to repress their own population?
3. In what way does the minister intend to work in Sweden and in international contexts to support Turkey’s legal processes so that they can be harmonized with international conventions?source:

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