Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy, issued the following statement today (7 July) on the arrest of human rights defenders in Turkey:
I am deeply concerned about the reported arrest of human rights defenders. The circumstances of the arrests on the Turkish island of Büyükada are still unknown. At the time of the arrests, all those affected were participating in a routine workshop focusing on information management. Those detained include Idil Eser, who is Director of Amnesty International Turkey. After the recent arrest of Taner Kılıç, this is the second time in only a few weeks that a high‑ranking representative of this world‑renowned NGO has been taken into custody.
Amnesty and many other independent voices of Turkish civil society make an invaluable contribution to the protection of human rights. I therefore call on the Turkish Government to immediately and clearly state its reasons for these arrests and to swiftly get to the bottom of these accusations with an investigation that is based on the rule of law. The continued criminal prosecution of committed human rights defenders, journalists and opposition leaders threatens to stifle the voices that are absolutely essential for every democratic society.