Unknown perpetrators broke into Human Rights Association (İHD) Co-Chair Eren Keskin’s house yesterday (June 16) to “threaten and intimidate her”, the association has said in a written statement.
Pretending to be burglars, the perpetrators ransacked the house but did not steal anything, according to the statement.
The incident happened when Keskin was not at home and the police came to the house and made examinations. It was found after the police’s examination that a ring was taken and left on the table in the living room in what the İHD said was “a message” to the lawyer.
“Threat and intimidation”
The incident was directly aimed at “threatening and intimidating” Keskin, according to the association.
“Eren Keskin is a reputable human rights defender who is known in Turkey and in the world, she is the co-chair of our association,” the statement read.
“She is known for clearly and fearlessly expressing her thoughts. For this reason, she often faces investigations and cases that we can call ‘judicial harassment.
“It is understood that some dark circles, who thought the judicial harassment was not enough, have brought that to the level of physical threat. We are expecting the necessary inquiry and investigation to be done about the incident of Eren Keskin’s home being broken into, the perpetrator or perpetrators to be found, the incident not to be handled as a simple security incident, the Ministry of Interior and the İstanbul Directorate of Security to conduct a well-rounded investigation and clarify the incident effectively and rapidly.”
The government’s responsibilities
Clarifying the incident is Turkey’s “principal duty that stems from the international law,” the İHD further said, citing the Organization of Security and Cooperation of Europe’s (OSCE) Guidelines on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, which says, “State institutions and officials must refrain from any acts of intimidation or reprisals by threats, damage and destruction of property, physical attacks, torture and other ill-treatment, killing, enforced disappearance or other physical or psychological harm targeting human rights defenders and their families.”
“Our association will make the necessary applications nationally and internationally and will closely pursue the case. We remind the government of its duties with regards to the protection of human rights defenders in Turkey and would like to express that the government will directly be responsible for any unfavorableness that may develop.
“We address the democratic public: Eren Keskin is the conscience of all of us. Therefore, we think that this threat against her must be considered a threat against everyone who supports democracy and human rights in Turkey. For this reason, we invite the democratic public to be sensitive.
“In these tough periods where Turkey is increasingly becoming authoritarian, human rights defenders will continue the struggle for human rights and democracy without compromising the principles they defend.”