WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement Wednesday after the Turkey Director of Amnesty International and other human rights activists were arrested in Turkey:
“I am deeply alarmed by the detention of Amnesty International’s Turkey Director, Idil Eser, along with five other human rights activists earlier this week. Commitment to fundamental freedoms and an active civil society are critical to the functioning of all democracies. I urge Turkey’s leaders to take immediate steps to address these concerns, starting with immediately releasing detained Amnesty International staff.
“Last year the Turkish people stood together to resist the violent overthrow of their democracy. The United States stood with the people and elected leaders of Turkey in defending their democracy.
“Today, I am deeply concerned that the Government of Turkey is taking steps to constrain and undermine the foundations of Turkish democracy by exploiting the state of emergency to limit peaceful dissent, dismiss civil servants and judges, seize assets, target the media, and incarcerate individuals on a massive scale without due process.
“These are not the actions of a Government committed to inclusive democratic governance or the rule of law. The Government of Turkey must reassure the international community of its commitment to protecting human rights by ending harassment of activists and enabling their work without fear of reprisal.”