The European Union on Thursday expressed concern about the recent detention of Taner Kılıç, the chair of Amnesty International Turkey, as part of a witch-hunt targeting people linked to the Gülen movement.
“We call on the Turkish authorities to clarify the charges swiftly, in line with the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human Rights,” the spokesperson for European Union External Action (EEAS) said in a statement published on their website.
“In particular, it is important to fully respect the presumption of innocence. Amnesty International is an internationally highly respected member of civil society which is a key pillar of democracy,” added the statement.
The statement also underlined that the EU is monitoring the ongoing procedure closely.
In a similar statement on Wednesday, US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said: “The United States is deeply concerned by the recent detention of Taner Kiliç, Chair of Amnesty International Turkey — the latest in a series of respected human rights defenders, journalists, academics, and activists detained in Turkey.”
Kılıç was detained at his home in the western Turkish city of Izmir along with 22 other attorneys.
A military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Fethullah 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.
According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.