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UN rights chief questions due process in Turkey purges

Image of Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [United States Mission Geneva/Flickr]
Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [United States Mission Geneva/Flickr]

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights voiced deep concern on Monday at mass arrests and sackings of public employees in Turkey and the renewed state of emergency there, saying a "climate of fear" now reigned.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told a news conference in Geneva that Ankara had to respond to violent attacks but must not violate human rights while doing so.

Turkey expelled more than 3,900 people from the civil service and military as threats to national security on Saturday, in the second major purge since President Tayyip Erdogan won sweeping new powers in a referendum last month. At the same time, Turkey announced the reinstatement of 731 officials, previously expelled during another purge.

Turkey: Statutory decree to reinstate 731 to their jobs

Last Wednesday, more than 9,000 police were suspended and another 1,000 detained for alleged links to the network of the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for a coup attempt last July. He has denied any involvement.

Erdogan has repeatedly said his government does not limit freedom of speech and that security measures are necessary given the gravity of the threats facing Turkey.

"With such a large number, it is highly unlikely that the suspensions and detentions will have met due process standards," Zeid told journalists. He added:

Yes, the terror attacks need to be tackled but not at expense of human rights

"And I'm very concerned about the renewed state of emergency which was undertaken in mid-April and the climate of fear in the country," Zeid added.

In all, some 120,000 people have been suspended or sacked from their jobs and more than 40,000 arrested in the aftermath of the failed putsch, which killed 240 people, mostly civilians.

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Europe & RussiaInternational OrganisationsNewsTurkeyUN
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