Human rights violations continue in Turkey, German government says in report

Human rights violations continue in many areas of Turkey, the German government said in its 15th report on human rights policy, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported.

The report, covering the October 2020 to October 2022 period, outlines the German government’s policies for the coming year.

The report highlights the restriction of freedoms and the lack of judicial independence in Turkey.

Freedom of the press and freedom of expression are severely restricted by the country’s anti-terrorism law and penal code, the report noted. In addition, it pointed out the repression of critical voices in the Turkish media, saying Turkey was ranked 149th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ 2022 Press Freedom Index.

A judicial reform package that has gradually been implemented since October 2019 and the Human Rights Action Plan presented in March 2021 have so far failed to address fundamental problems, according to the report.

In addition, the report recalled that in December 2021 an infringement case was opened at the Council of Europe against Turkey, which had failed to implement a decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) on the release of prominent businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala, who has been in prison since October 18, 2017.

Turkey has withdrawn from the Istanbul Convention, and women’s associations have reported many times that this has indirectly increased domestic violence, it said.

The Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, better known as the Istanbul Convention, is an international accord designed to protect women’s rights and prevent domestic violence in societies and was opened to the signature of member countries of the Council of Europe in 2011.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked outrage in Turkey and the international community after he issued a decree in March 2021 that pulled the country out of the international treaty, which requires governments to adopt legislation prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence and similar abuse as well as marital rape and female genital mutilation.

The report noted that Turkey also lacks legal regulations for protecting the LGBT community against discrimination. For example, anti-gay rhetoric is widespread in the media and in politics, and demonstrations organized by the LGBT community are banned, it said.

It also added that Turkey hosts more than 4 million asylum seekers and migrants, which is appreciated by Germany, but that access to protection status should be further improved.

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