On July 15, 2015, Turkey went through a failed military coup attempt. More than 260 people lost their lives, and thousands came out on streets to oppose the ill-planned military coup. However, what has followed after has been nothing short of a civilian coup being led up by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Amnesty International has raised serious concerns over the way Turkish government has kept on arresting police and military officials. However, not just military officials, but academicians, teachers, government employees and journalists are also being arrested. Until now, more than 50,000 have been taken into custody or asked to resign. 636 institutions have been asked to close while 1,577 university deans or head of major faculties in addition to 21,000 teachers and 15,000 other education ministry officials have been asked to resign. On the military side, the top leadership of the military including 118 generals, admirals and 100 intelligence agency officials have been detained and stripped off their honors while another 8,777 Ministry of Interior personnel including police has been suspended. The government is also mulling bringing back death penalty of those accused, citing the need being asked by the citizens themselves.
Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia, John Dalhuisen said, “The sheer number of arrests and suspensions since Friday is alarming and we are monitoring the situation very closely. The coup attempt unleashed appalling violence and those responsible for unlawful killings and other human rights abuses must be brought to justice, but cracking down on dissent and threatening to bring back the death penalty are not justice. We urge the Turkish authorities to show restraint and respect for the rule of law as they carry out the necessary investigations, granting fair trials to all those in detention and releasing anyone for whom they do not have concrete evidence of participating in criminal acts. A backslide on human rights is the last thing Turkey needs.”
Bringing back death penalty may be a strict violation of human rights and may go against the EU membership struggle Turkey has been trying to achieve.