Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (2 February 2018) on the rearrest of Taner Kılıç, Chair of Amnesty International Turkey, and action taken by Turkish law enforcement agencies against eleven members of the Turkish Medical Association’s central council:
“The happiness felt around the world and my own great relief at the court decision to release Taner Kılıç from remand unfortunately did not last long. The same court that had ordered his release two days ago decided yesterday to uphold its ruling to remand the renowned human rights defender in custody.
This decision highlights the alarming state of the Turkish judiciary once again.
I am also very concerned to see that hundreds of people have been arrested in Turkey for expressing criticism of action by Turkey in Afrin since the start of the Turkish military operation in northern Syria on 20 January. If even independent doctors cannot publicly say “no” to a controversial military conflict without being prosecuted, the very essence of freedom of opinion is at risk.
I therefore urgently reiterate my calls on the Turkish Government to uphold the independence of the judiciary and the precious asset of freedom of opinion. Respect for dissenting opinions and a strong civil society are essential for democracy.”