The Turkish government regularly misuses national anti-terrorism legislation to silence human rights activists and journalists, stop minorities from defending their interests and intimidate dissent. As for 2020
, an estimated 87 journalists and media workers were in pretrial detention or serving sentences for terrorism offenses because of their journalistic work. Students, cultural figures and members of social movements become accused of committing criminal offenses under anti-terrorism articles because of posts on social networks. In July 2020
, Ministry of Justice and Interior figures stated that 58409 were on trial and 132954 still under criminal investigation on terrorism.
In South-East Turkey where the majority of the population is Kurdish the national human rights mechanisms virtually don't work since July 2015
. The resumed confrontation between Kurdistan's Workers Party (KWP) and the Turkish government resulted in multiple human rights violations such as unlawful killings, kidnapping, torture, destruction of homes and cultural heritage sites, incitement of hatred, restriction of access to emergency medical care, water, food and other vital sources, and gender violence. In addition, this has led to severe restrictions on the rights to freedom of speech and expression, as well as participation in public life. However, the regional prosecutor's office refused to investigate these crimes.
The exact number of prisoners accused of alleged cooperation with the KWP or already convicted on this charge is unknown, but there are at least 8500
of them. It is known that torture and ill-treatment are widely used against those suspected of having connection with the KWP. In September 2020
, reports about the detention of two farmers by Turkish gendarmerie officers as part of an anti-terrorist operation against the KWP appeared in the media. During the two days they were in custody, they were tortured and then thrown out of a helicopter. At the request of the prosecutor's office, the court imposed a ban on the dissemination of this news. And in November 2020, the Interior Minister said that these farmers were helping KWP terrorists.
Kurds also face discrimination based on language and ethnicity when receiving government and social services. The Constitution of the country establishes a ban on teaching any languages, except Turkish, as a native language, in any educational institutions. The law also restricts the use of other languages in the activities of the Government and the State.