Rohrabacher Condemns Turkey’s Erdogan on Basic Human Rights
WASHINGTON – Rep. Dana Rohrabacher on Tuesday spoke out against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s widespread purges and targeted repression of his countrymen.
Since July Erdogan has excused his actions as necessary following what he calls a failed coup attempt, which he blames on ethnic Kurds and the Gulenist movement, an Islamic sect preaching peace, benevolence, and education.
The Gulenists are named for Erdogan’s longtime critic Fetullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania. Gulen and his followers, once allied with Erdogan, were alienated when Turkish media were muzzled after reporting charges of government corruption.
Erdogan blames Gulenists for a power grab by a faction of officers within the Turkish military. He has demanded the extradition of Gulen back to Turkey for prosecution.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch recently have issued reports of torture and other abuses at Turkey’s detention centers and prisons. According to these sources, 36,000 prisoners arrested after the July events include journalists, politicians, judges, prosecutors, military and police officers, academics, teachers, business leaders, and other citizens.
Said Rohrabacher: “I strongly condemn Erdogan’s reckless assault on peaceful dissent and his disingenuous attempt to disguise this assault as a fight against terrorism. President Erdogan needs to stop this destructive tirade, abide by international laws, and ensure the safety and well-being of all detainees, especially prisoners. The U.S. government cannot turn a blind eye to the murder of prisoners and to the loss of freedom of the innocent people of Turkey.
“This power grab and irrational fixation on oppressing any opposition already has had negative impact even outside Turkey. The Turkish military continues to attack some of our most vital allies in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism as well as targeting of our democratic Kurdish allies in that fight. Clearly, Turkey’s president is more concerned about consolidating complete political control, whatever the ramifications to the stability of the region and even to the freedom of the people of Turkey.”
Rohrabacher, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats, held a hearing on Sept. 14 concerning the condition of democracy in Turkey after the July events.
Contact: Ken Grubbs, 202.225.0145