June 7, 2017
The United States is deeply concerned by the recent detention of Taner Kiliç, Chair of Amnesty International Turkey—the latest in a series of respected human rights defenders, journalists, academics, and activists detained in Turkey. These detentions, often with little evidence or transparency, are an alarming trend. We are closely following these cases, and underscore the importance of respect for due process and individual rights, as enshrined in the Turkish Constitution and consistent with Turkey’s own international commitments. As we have expressed to the Turkish government on numerous occasions, persistent curbs on free speech and other freedoms erode the foundations of democratic society.
Non-governmental organizations and a robust civil society are an essential element of any strong democracy. Turkey benefits from having more engaged voices, not fewer. The detentions of individuals such as Mr. Kilic chill public debate and undermine the quality of democracy.