Source: Washington – Bandar Al-Doshi
The American “New York Times” launched a sharp attack on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, describing him as a man leading an arbitrary regime that divided the country and threw thousands of opponents in prisons and launched a barbaric campaign against his opponents after the alleged coup in 2016, using the judiciary as a political tool, describing civil society in Turkey is being eroded by this man.
And she said in her report: “A Turkish court was convicted on Friday Four human rights activists accused of terrorism, Including two former Amnesty International leaders, “describing this condemnation as part of a broader crackdown on opposition voices in the country.
One of the defendants, Tanner Kılıc, who was leading Amnesty International in Turkey, a top human rights watchdog, was convicted of membership in a terrorist organization. He was sentenced to six years and three months imprisonment.
Three others – Ozlim Dalkiran, Edel Esser and Gonal Corson – were convicted of “aiding a terrorist organization” and each was sentenced to prison terms for years.
The newspaper says that their cases are the latest in a large-scale campaign against the opposition in Turkey in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in 2016. The campaign has witnessed hundreds of trials and deepening political divisions within the country.
While the government has accused the group of terrorism, critics say that “the trials are part of an arbitrary regime under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that targeted human rights defenders on unfounded accusations and used the judicial system to shut down civil society activity.”
The prosecution confirmed that those being tried are linked to “Fathallah Gulen,” a cleric accused of organizing a plot to topple the Turkish government from his base in Pennsylvania. Gulen has denied any involvement and accused Erdogan of arranging it as a pretext to seize more power.
On Friday, the four convicted men spent three years fighting the charges against them. As detention orders have not yet been issued, they will not be imprisoned pending their appeal, and the appeal process may take years. Seven other defendants who were on trial were also acquitted on Friday.
In a statement, Andrew Gardner, a researcher at Amnesty International in Turkey, described the convictions as a “farce of justice of spectacular proportions.” He added, “This ruling constitutes a crushing blow not only to Tanner, Ozlim, Edel and Gunnal, and their families, but to all who believe in justice and human rights activity in Turkey and abroad.”
Idel Iser, who was once director of Amnesty International’s office in Turkey, was arrested in 2017 in a raid on a digital security workshop in Istanbul along with many other activists who ended up on trial.
Kelic was arrested separately a month ago in Izmir, and was held in prison for about a year and a half before being released late last year under court orders.
One day before the verdict, Ms. Isser described the trial politically motivated from the start and said it aimed to intimidate other activists. She said in a statement that “these prosecutions aim to silence those in the dock and send a message to the rest of society: the fight for human rights or tell the truth and at your responsibility.”
Human rights experts say these condemnations indicate an erosion of civil society in Turkey. Mary Lawlor, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, said in a statement that the evidence provided to support the charges “has yet to show clearly how their activities amounted to terrorism.”