I have worked on human rights in Turkey for well over a decade now, first volunteering at shelters for refugees and migrants as a doctoral student and, later, as Country Specialist for Amnesty International. Working with any large institutions brings with it frustrations: impatience with decision making, differences over policy. But I have to say I have never been more proud of Amnesty International’s work on Turkey than I am this morning.
The report on the Gezi Crackdown that was released today, available here in English and here in Turkish, is comprehensive and compelling, detailing the extent of police violence, ranging from beatings, to promiscuous and unlawful use of tear gas and water canon, to sexual violence. It highlights the urgency of the attack on freedom of expression and assembly and the continuing nature of police impunity from prosecution. And it highlights the extent to which the crackdown continues to target perceived enemies.
Amnesty staff and volunteers in Turkey, along with Amnesty researchers, risked their own health and safety to produce an accurate account of events in Turkey. It is richly detailed, fully sourced, and absolutely damning.
I’ve broken down components of the report on the main Amnesty USA blog site, Human Rights Now and that blog will be released later in the day. For now, you can read the report (linked above) and watch the video that was released alongside it.
St. Lawrence University