Turkey: Human Rights in Retreat, Briefing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, One Hundred Fourteenth Congress, Second Session, December 9, 2016   [open pdf - 674KB]

This is the December 9, 2016 briefing titled, "Turkey: Human Rights in Retreat," given to the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe [CSCE]. From the opening statement of Everett Price, Policy Advisor to the CSCE: "The public law establishing the Helsinki Commission in 1976 mandates that the Commission is authorized and directed to monitor the acts of the signatories of the 1975 Helsinki Act, 'with particular regard to the provisions relating to human rights and cooperation in humanitarian fields.' This has been our mission for the past 40 years on the Helsinki Commission, and it serves as our motivation today as we gather to discuss the topic of human rights and rule of law in Turkey. [...] Turkey is a friend of the United States and a powerful NATO ally. It is central to the difficult work of responding to humanitarian crises in the Middle East and countering terrorism. [...] In just the past couple of years, Turkey has faced security challenges of historic proportions. On October 10th, 2015 ISIS [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] bombers killed 103 people in Ankara, marking the deadliest terrorist attack in modern Turkish history. This year on July 15th, a shadowy clique inside the government attempted to overthrow Turkey's democratically elected leadership, prompting common citizens to flood into the streets to fight and die for their freedom; 265 died in the violence. Additionally, since June 2015, the terrorist PKK, or Kurdish Workers Party, has executed a bombing campaign that has left scores dead across the country. Faced with such challenges, the question is not whether Turkey has the right to pursue justice and stability, but rather how that justice and stability is pursued." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Everett Price, Y. Alp Aslandogan, Karin Karlekar, and Nicholas Danforth.

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