(News Desk) – Amnesty International has accused the Turkish government of creating a “suffocating climate of fear” across the country and launching a campaign of repression against human rights activists after a botched coup to topple Turkish President Recep Tayyep Erdogan in 2016.
In a report published on Thursday, the London-based rights group lambasted the Turkish authorities’ alleged attacks on rights activists and their “abusive” use of the criminal justice system.
It said the freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial had been “decimated” under a state of emergency imposed after the failed coup on July 15, 2016.
“Under the cloak of the state of emergency, Turkish authorities have deliberately and methodically set about dismantling civil society, locking up human rights defenders, shutting down organizations and creating a suffocating climate of fear,” Amnesty’s Europe director, Gauri van Gulik, said in a statement.
The rights group also said the seventh extension of the emergency law — approved by the Turkish parliament last week — further undermined the country’s “once vibrant independent civil society.”
During the botched putsch, a faction of the Turkish military declared that it had seized control of the country and the government of President Erdogan was no more in charge. The attempt was, however, suppressed over a course of two days.
Ankara has since accused US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen of having orchestrated the coup. The opposition figure is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to topple the government via infiltrating the country’s institutions, particularly the army, police, and the judiciary.
The 76-year-old cleric has denounced the “despicable putsch” and claimed that he had no role in it.
Turkey has cracked down on those believed to have played a role in the coup attempt.
Tens of thousands of people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicion of having links to Gulen and the failed coup. More than 110,000 others, including military staff, civil servants and journalists have been sacked or suspended from work over the same accusations.