1st September 2000



Generals & Prime Minister tighten pressure on Muslims

The recent actions by the government in Turkey especially by the National Security Council in wanting to purge the civil servants who are practising Muslims are against religious expression protected under various Human Rights materials.

Huseyin Kivrikoglu, the army chief of staff, is quoted by newspapers as saying that Islamists have penetrated official positions at every level.

“There are thousands of civil servants who want to destroy the state. They are working against the state every day in order to overthrow it,” the general is quoted as saying in Hurriyet.

This recent statement is seen to be a warning to all those practising Muslims in Turkey. Back in May the authorities detained and tortured some officials from the banned Selam weekly and its readers. A year ago the authorities detained people who were demonstrating against the hijab ban in universities across Turkey and the public pro secutor even asked for the death penalty for their sentence.

All these incidents and the newest statement from the generals show that the Turkish government is not giving basic rights of religious expression to its people. It is bent in making the lives of any Islamic minded person in Turkey into a living hell. The National Security Council has been instrumental in mounting pressure on the government to purge all Islamists from government offices. The National Security Council in its recent statement warns the President to put the bill into legislation without discussing it in the Parliament. The President has refused for the second time to approve a decree authorising such dismissals on the grounds that it would be unconstitutional. It is most likely that the President will succumb to the Generals in order to stay in the office and prevent a military-coup.

Once again in the name of secularism Islamophobia is being institutionalised in the system. IHRC is concerned about this bill which if passed will give the authorities in Turkey more room to manoeuvre in detaining, torturing and persecuting Islamists. It is known that there are thousands of Islamists currently in jail in Turkey and this number will rise even more with the passing of this bill in October. Most of them who were detained were tortured and treated badly by their captors. IHRC chairman in a statement said:

“European and western powers have to give the Turkish government clear signals that this sort of behaviour will be an obstacle rather than an avenue to joining the EU. Failure to do so will give ordinary Turkish citizens the perception that western powers are encouraging and promoting this barbaric behaviour.”

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