A Labour MP is trying to force Boris Johnson to act over a massive human rights crackdown

Boris Johnson
Tom Coburg

Labour MP David Lammy has written a strongly worded letter to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. He asked Johnson to condemn the human rights crackdown taking place in Turkey. The latest repression has seen the imprisonment of the head of Amnesty International Turkey and the dismissal of more than 7,000 citizens from police and governmental positions. Coming as it has, exactly one year on from the 2016 ‘coup’ and the purge that followed, this latest crackdown could be considered as purge mark 2. And Johnson is doing nothing.

Further, this new purge comes only days after a report was published that alleged that the 2016 ‘coup’ was engineered by Turkey’s increasingly dictatorial president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.


Here is the letter from Lammy to Johnson:

In the letter, Lammy draws attention to the arrest of representatives of Amnesty International and other human rights groups. Those detained include Nalan Erkem and Özlem Dalkıran from the Allegiance Association, İlknur Üstün from the Women’s Coalition, Idil Eser and Veli Acı from Amnesty International, Günal Kurşun from the Human Rights Association, Nejat Taştan from the Observation for Equal Rights Association, activist Şeyhmus Özbekli and activist Ali Garawi. Taner Kılıç, a lawyer and chairman of Amnesty International Turkey’s board, was arrested on 9 June.

Amnesty has also condemned the arrests.


Lammy published the letter on Twitter on the same day the BBC reported that a further 7000 police and government employees have been dismissed. Turkey has already removed 150,000 officials since the coup. And a website dedicated to reporting on the purge gives a more precise figure of 7,563 for the latest sackings.

The crackdown follows a new emergency decree issued on 5 June and published on 14 July, just one day before the anniversary of the 2016 ‘coup’ attempt. Journalist-in-exile and president of the Stockholm Centre for Freedom, Abdullah Bozkurt, says the number of those purged so far in the current crackdown are:

Bozkurt further asserts that:

There is also a list of over 300 jailed and wanted journalists. And there are allegations of suspicious deaths and suicides recorded, as well as enforced disappearances.

Report on coup

Meanwhile, a 191-page report [pdf, Turkish] by the Stockholm Center for Freedom claims the 2016 ‘coup’ in Turkey was orchestrated by Erdoğan. The report alleges the coup was a pretext for the mass persecution of his opponents. And it states that the evidence is based on publicly available data: ‘coup’ indictments, testimonials in court trials, private interviews, reviews of military expert opinions, etc. The authors say a copy of the report will be made in English soon.

In the days, weeks and months after the ‘coup’, a purge saw thousands of people arrested, disappeared or killed. And as of 15 July 2017, estimates are now around: 55,900 people arrested, 118,00 people jailed, 138,000 people sacked from their jobs, 4,400 judges and prosecutors dismissed and 150 media outlets shut down.

Lammy is right. Johnson and all other European politicians must now intervene in this latest crackdown in Turkey. No excuses.

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– See more on Turkey at The Canary Global.

Boycott holidays to Turkey.

Featured image via Flickr Creative Commons.

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