Human rights organization Amnesty International said Thursday that Turkish police had detained its Turkey director along with a number of other activists.
Idil Eser, Director of Amnesty International Turkey, seven other human rights activists and two IT trainers, were detained Wednesday and are being investigated for alleged membership in an armed terrorist organization, Amnesty International said in a statement Thursday.
“The absurdity of these accusations against Idil Eser and the nine others cannot disguise the very grave nature of this attack on some of the most prominent civil society organizations in Turkey,” the group’s secretary general, Salil Shetty, said.
“If anyone was still in doubt of the endgame of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown, they should not be now. There is to be no civil society, no criticism and no accountability in Erdogan’s Turkey.”
The Turkish government has been conducting a year-long crackdown following last July’s failed coup attempt.
The United States also expressed concern over the detention.
“As with past arrests of prominent human rights defenders, journalists, academics, and activists, we underscore the importance of respecting due process and individual rights, as enshrined in the Turkish Constitution, and consistent with Turkey’s own international commitments,” Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, said in a statement.
Eser, Ilknur Ustun of the Women’s Coalition, and others were detained by police in Istanbul Wednesday while attending a workshop, and were denied access to a lawyer or the right to contact their family members for 28 hours, according the Amnesty International, which is calling on Turkey to release them “immediately and unconditionally”.
The crackdown by the government has resulted in more than 100,000 people losing their jobs and more than 60,000 jailed.