Erdogan compares jailed Turkish human rights activists to coup plotters

Erdogan compares jailed Turkish human rights activists to coup plotters
2 min read
08 July, 2017
President Erdogan remained defiant at the G20 summit in Germany about the arrest of Amnesty International Turkey activists earlier this week.
Erdogan faced some tough words during the G20 summit [Anadolu]

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared jailed human rights activists to renegade troops who tried to overthrow his government last year.

Speaking at the G20 summit in Hamburg on Saturday, the Turkish leader said that Amnesty International workers arrested earlier this week were continuing the efforts of the plotters of last summer’s failed coup attempt.

"They gathered for a meeting which was a continuation of [the] 15 July [coup attempt]," he said.

Ten Amnesty International trainers and activists - including two foreigners - were arrested by Turkish security forces during a conference near Istanbul.

Among those arrested was Amnesty International Turkey Director Idlil Eser during the raid at Buyukada, an island south of Istanbul.

The activists have been accused of "terrorist activities" a charge levelled at anyone suspected of involvement in last year's coup attempt or having links to anti-government movements.

Renegade soldiers in Istanbul and Ankara attempted to overthrow Erdogan's government last summer with government troops and popular protests seeing the plot fail.

Ankara blamed the coup attempt on exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and established a state of emergency.

Tens of thousands of suspected Gulen supporters have been arrested or dismissed from their jobs during the crackdown.

Kilic was remanded detained on charged of links to Gulen, something Amnesty has described as "baseless".

Erdogan's strong-arming has been met with criticism by western governments and human rights groups.

Several thousand people are marching from Ankara to Istanbul to protest against the detentions and Turkey's increasingly authoritarian government.

Among Erdogan's critics is German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said at the G20 summit there remained "deep differences" between her government and Turkey.

Erdogan in turn threatened to tear up a climate change agreement, which would likely anger the EU powers.

Agencies contributed to this story.