Turkish gov’t trying to block participation of NGOs to OSCE, says report

A report released by US Helsinki Commission has accused Turkish government of attempting to block the participation of Turkish non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to the the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) meetings by terrorizing them.

A report issued by the Helsinki Commission on the participation of NGOs at the OSCE meetings on December 19, 2017 stated that some participating states are trying to prevent NGO participation along with making an objection to those NGOs either targeting their own government, having some people allegedly linked to the opposition or accused on the basis of political reasons.

In the report, Turkey’s name is among the countries attempting to block the participation of NGOs to the OSCE meetings. Turkey protested an NGO’s attending to one of the OSCE’s recent meetings on the basis of having an alleged link to the Gülen movement. It is stated that Turkey continued to protest dimensional attendance at meetings as it requested that the accession rules of NGOs in the OSCE meetings should be re-negotiated.

The report also emphasizes that a state should not define a person or group as ‘terrorist’, however because of lack of an independent judiciary in that country can result in unilateral and evidence-less definitions for other countries.

It also notes that in resolutions adopted under the OSCE procedures and in the unanimous agreement of the participating countries, “the meeting of humanitarian NGOs is allowed to participate in equal basis with the governments.” It is also stated that the concerns of NGOs can directly be addressed to the governments.

It is also underlined that in these meetings only those “person or organizations who support violence and, or terrorism and violence can be excluded.”

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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