Turkey’s Human Rights Association (İHD) Diyarbakır provincial branch head Raci Bilici said on Monday that 2016 was a disastrous year for human rights abuses in Turkey since nearly 50,000 rights violations were reported, especially during a state of emergency declared by the government following a failed coup last July.
Speaking at a press conference in Diyarbakır to release a report on human rights violations, particularly in Turkey’s eastern and southeastern provinces, Bilici said the violations have dramatically and systematically increased following the declaration of the state of emergency on July 20, five days after the coup attempt.
“One hundred thirty-one journalists are still behind bars as part of heavy censorship and a crackdown on the media. Policies were developed [by the government] in order to prevent journalists from reporting. Freedom of expression and the freedom to organize were suppressed by the government decrees. Democratic rights were taken away. A total of 171 charitable organizations that were focused on rights, women and children were closed down,” Bilici said.
Describing 2016 as “a horrible year,” Bilici also noted that 305 people were killed and 134 were wounded in arbitrary shootings by police, the military and village guards in actions against locals in eastern and southeastern provinces.
According to the report, six people died in murders committed by unknown assailants and six others died under suspicious circumstances in regional prisons. It also noted that 11 people died due to negligence or mistakes by the police and the military. While a policeman and a military officer committed suicide, eight other officers died suspiciously, the report said.
While regional authorities declared a curfew 74 times in southeastern and eastern towns in 2016, women and children suffered the most from human rights violations.
The İHD report also underlined that maltreatment and torture in prisons increased in 2016. Turkish police raided 3,556 houses in the region in 2016 in which 150 minors and 6,710 adults were detained.
Eleven women committed suicide and 30 women died from domestic violence, while two children died in regional violence and 110 were subjected to sexual abuse in 2016, the İHD said.