City Bar Expresses Concerns to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about Severe Actions Taken by the Turkish Government Following the Attempted Coup

City Bar President John S. Kiernan, with assistance from the City Bar’s International Human Rights Committee, wrote a letter to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey, to express concern about severe actions taken by the government of Turkey in the wake of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. While recognizing the Turkish government’s interest in eliminating the risk of future instability, the letter urged the Mr. Erdogan to pursue these goals while preserving basic freedoms and complying with Turkey’s domestic and international law obligations. In particular, it raised concerns about reports of the Turkish government’s detention of more than 40,000 individuals (approximately 20,000 of whom have not been formally arrested or presented with evidence); widespread abuse of detainees (including sexual and physical abuse) and denial of access to legal assistance; issuance of arrest warrants for journalists; imposition of significant internet and broadcasting censorship; the arrest or suspension of thousands of civil servants without cause (including judges, prosecutors and police officers); and the arrest or dismissal of large numbers of academics (including university deans) and the revocations of licenses of tens of thousands of private school teachers. The letter also expressed concern about Turkey’s announcement that it may derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights in the course of the three month state of emergency imposed on July 21, 2016, and that it is considering the reintroduction of capital punishment.

Read the letter here.