Council of Europe commissioner urges Turkey to stop curfews

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Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muiznieks speaks to reporters in Ankara after wrapping up a week-long meeting with Turkish leaders on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/ADEM ALTAN / AFP PHOTO / ADEM ALTAN

In a statement released on Friday, Council of Europe (CoE) Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks called on Turkey to stop imposing curfews in the manner they are being used and to address human rights violations caused by counterterrorism operations in the country’s Southeast.

Sharing findings of two visits in April and September to Turkey and the country’s predominantly Kurdish-populated areas, which have been heavily damaged in antiterrorism operations conducted since August 2015, Muižnieks asked Turkey to “stop using curfews in such a manner, investigate all allegations of human rights violations by state agents in an effective manner.¨

The Council of Europe commissioner acknowledged the “real terrorist threat” that Turkey faces while emphasizing proportionality and legality. According to Muižnieks, the curfews imposed since August 2015 were based on administrative decisions that infringed on requirements of legality according to the Venice Commission.

Turkey has been fighting the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since the early 1980s, and armed clashes have led to tens of thousands of casualties on both sides. The reconciliation process that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) initiated with the PKK was halted following the June 2015 elections.

Criticizing the way the Turkish government undertakes investigations of complaints, Commissioner Muižnieks further said that investigations so far seem largely ineffective because they have not been immediate, diligent and thorough.

“I call on the government of Turkey to acknowledge publicly the mistakes and human rights violations,” the commissioner also said regarding the impact of the clashes in the Southeast.

 

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