The United Nations has called on Ankara to end a state of emergency in place in the country since 2016, saying it has led to “massive and serious” rights violations in the southeastern Kurdish-majority areas.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency after the coup attempt in July 2016, and has so far extended it for six times.
The Human rights office said in a Tuesday statement called on Ankara to “promptly end the state of emergency and restore the normal functioning of institutions and the rule of law.”
“Routine extensions of the state of emergency in Turkey have led to profound human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people,” including the arrest of 160,000 people and dismissal of nearly the same number of civil servants, often arbitrarily.
Ankara views US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen as the mastermind of the abortive coup. Those arrested or dismissed in the ensuing crackdown campaign are charged with having links to Gulen.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein described the number of arrests and dismissals as “just staggering.”
“Teachers, judges and lawyers dismissed or prosecuted; journalists arrested, media outlets shut down and websites blocked – clearly the successive states of emergency declared in Turkey have been used to severely and arbitrarily curtail the human rights of a very large number of people,” Zeid said.
However, the Turkish Foreign Ministry was quick to reject the report, saying in a statement that it “contains unfounded allegations matching up perfectly with the propaganda efforts of terrorist organizations.”
The international community and rights groups have been highly critical of the Turkish president over the massive dismissals and the crackdown.