(Istanbul) – Turkey’s government and president should reverse the decision to extend the state of emergency after winning the April 16, 2017 presidential referendum and end the wave of political repression unleashed in the months before the vote, Human Rights Watch said today.
With 51.4 percent of the vote, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “Yes” vote campaign won Turkey’s landmark referendum for a new political system, giving enormous centralized power to the president. The campaign took place under a state of emergency and in a highly repressive climate in the aftermath of the failed July 15, 2016 military coup. Ruling by emergency decree, the president and government controlled the media, dominated the public sphere, and jailed critical journalists and leaders of the pro-Kurdish parliamentary opposition.
“After securing a narrow victory in Sunday’s referendum, the government and president should govern in the interests of everyone in Turkey, not just their political supporters,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Turkey’s government and president need to end the state of emergency and the repressive campaign against the media and the pro-Kurdish political opposition.”