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Turkey Human Rights, Crackdown on Press Freedom Comes Under Renewed Scrutiny in Geneva

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Last week, the UK-based International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR)and the Press Emblem Campaign held an information meeting in Geneva, to coincide with the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Turkey over hate crimes, minority, and LGBT rights, and press freedoms with a specific focus on the nation’s crackdown on these rights during the failed 2016 coup and the emergency rule that followed during which the government allegedly used its security powers to arrest thousands of people who opposed it.

Turkey’s human rights record was last reviewed in 2015 during the UPR. This was the third time in 10 years that Turkey’s record has come under review

Diplomats, minister, prominent members of Turkish media and human rights defenders – including those who have been forced into exile – were present at the event. Also in attendance was former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the Office of Global Criminal Justice Ambassador Stephen Rapp. Louise Pyne Jones, head of research, International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR) moderated the event. Two panels were held. The first was called “Press Freedom” and included Yavuz Baydar, editor-in-chief of Ahval; Evin Baris Altintas, journalist and blogger; and Massimo Frigo; senior Legal Advisor for International Commission for Jurists (ICJ). The second panel, “Human Rights Defenders,” included Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci; president of the Human Rights Foundation in Turkey; Nurcan Baysal, award-winning Turkish Human Rights Defender and Journalist; and Anne van Wezel, former co-chair EESC EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee.

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Following an attempted, and failed, “coup” against the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party in 2016, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused many of his opponents and naysayers, including journalists who were critical of him and his government, of supporting terrorism and prosecuted many of them. Erdogan also suggested that the attempted coup was the work of exiled Imam Fethullah Gulen and his movement, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization. Turkey has asked for the United States to extradite Gulen. Gulen has been living in the United States in a self-imposed exile since 1999. Over 250 people died as a result of the failed coup attempt.

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Soon after the coup, Turkey implemented a state of emergency (SOE) which it said: “was put into effect in order to ensure the continuity of effective implementation of the measures for the protection of the rights and freedoms of our citizens, democracy and the rule of law.” However, the AK Party’s critics have maintained that the AK Party used the umbrella of its broader emergency powers and continuously postponed ending that state of emergency, in an attempt to destroy its political opposition.

Many journalists were apprehended under this state of emergency until it was lifted on July 19, 2018. As such, for three straight years, and up until 2019, the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Turkey as the worst jailer of journalists in the world. According to Turkish, English, and Arabic-language news site Ahval, when China jailed 48 journalists to Turkey’s 47.

Nurcan Baysal, an award-winning Kurdish Human Rights Defender, Journalist, and contributor to Ahval, said she was even cautious with the words she used on the panel discussion for fear of punishment by the Turkish government. “We are censoring ourselves because of these fears,” Baysal said. “For example, before coming here I asked myself if I should use certain words, should I use the word invasion, or should I use the word war, because today in Turkey even to say war is forbidden,” she said. “Everything that I say has an effect on not only my life but of the lives of my children and family.”

Ahval editor in chief Yavuz Baydar said, “No state or power can decide who is a journalist, it is the domain for professional organizations and should always be separate from power.”

According to the IOHR, “In the previous UPR cycle of Turkey, the Turkish government officially supported 14 recommendations related to strengthening the legal framework on freedom of expression and 5 recommendations specifically related to bringing terrorism legislation in line with international human rights standards.

Hugh Williamson, the Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch recently said, “The huge number of journalists, politicians, and perceived government critics in prison and on trial flies in the face of the Turkish government’s public statements about the state of human rights in the country “Turkey’s disregard of human rights is a disservice to its citizens, who deserve to live with dignity and freedom.”

Meanwhile, Turkey’s state-run pro-government newspaper the Daily Sabah put out propaganda about the Erdogan government writing, “U.N. Human Rights Council highlighted Turkey’s achievements in the fields of judiciary, human rights and humanitarian causes on Tuesday during a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) meeting in Geneva.”

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ORWELLIAN: New Rules Allow Patients to be Denied Health Care for Expressing ‘Racist’ or ‘Sexist’ Beliefs in Britain

Big Brother is taking shape rapidly.

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New rules are set to go into effect in Britain that will deny health care to people guilty of harboring “racist” or “sexist” sentiments, a decision that could eventually have a chilling effect on free speech in the United Kingdom.

There are laws currently on the books in place to allow healthcare officials in the socialized system to deny care to people who are verbally or physically hostile and aggressive toward them. This will be now expanded to include bullying and discrimination, including any type of racism, sexism and homophobia. This will give broader discretion to NHS officials to deny care to individuals, which could include their political opponents.

“Being assaulted or abused is not part of the job,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock wrote on Tuesday in a message to all NHS staff.

“Far too often I hear stories that the people you are trying to help lash out. I’ve seen it for myself in A&Es, on night shifts, and on ambulances,” he added.

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Hancock claims that he is “horrified that any member of the public would abuse or physically assault a member of our NHS staff but it happens too often.”

He says that his office will be working with Crown Prosecution Service to ensure that people who express supposedly hateful views will not only be denied healthcare, but investigated and punished punitively as well.

“All assault and hate crimes against NHS staff must be investigated with care, compassion, diligence and commitment,” he said.

This comes as more NHS workers are reporting that they have experienced abuse on the job. Roughly one in seven of the approximately 569,000 staff members who were surveyed reported being physically attacked on the job. This is happening as Britain is aggressively Islamified under the thumb of globalism and multiculturalism.

British authorities will not do anything to repel the flood of Muslims invading from the third world as a result of this troubling news. They will, however, enact new laws to punish so-called racists and sexists.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens claims that his organization is “determined to clamp down on abuse and aggression in all its forms.”

Other troubling findings from the NHS survey show that 40.3 percent of workers feel an excessive amount of work-related stress, and 22.9 percent of workers believe their time pressures are unrealistic. These figures have both raised over the past year.

37 percent of NHS staff members have reported that they have experienced bullying during their frequent face-to-face interactions with patients. In addition, 9 percent of workers have reported harassment or bullying from colleagues while 12 percent have reported mistreatment from their managers.

All of this news paints a dismal picture for a socialized healthcare system that is already overburdened, resulting in massive backlogs for patients looking to receive critical care. Figures recently released by NHS showed that a record 100,000 patients were left waiting for healthcare for more than four hours in January, with thousands of them delayed for more than 12 hours.

With all of these problems facing the NHS, the politically correct British government chooses to tackle supposed hate speech instead of the real problems. These new rules may allow people to be denied healthcare services because of their political beliefs, as anyone who criticizes drag queen grooming parties at libraries or the Islamic take-over already considered a bigot in the eyes of the British authorities.

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