IHD Van Branch chair Murat Melet stated that Van has become a city of prohibitions and said that bans are not governor-bound, but are the will of the political executive.
The AKP-MHP government has been systematically banning all kinds of actions and activities in Van for more than three years. The prohibitions started on 21 November 2016 but became virtually permanent thanks to their automatical extension every 15 days.
In line with the prohibition of actions and activities, rights violations have increased in the city in recent years. According to the report prepared by the Human Rights Association (IHD) Van Branch, there were 1,657 violations of rights in Van in 2019.
Human Rights Association Van Branch chair, Murat Melet, said that prohibitions are the continuation of the State of Emergency (OHAL) of 2015 which has been officially called off. Pointing out that many governors have come and gone to Van since 2015, Melet said: “Actually, we have seen that the ban is not governor-oriented, the ban is part of the mentality of the political executive. We, as human rights defenders, want to say that we will always condemn these prohibitions.”
The power is ruling with prohibitions
Melet said that the ruling power has been trying to break ties with society for many years. “In fact, one of the issues that political power has been constantly doing is forbidding. The idea behind this is that the more you dismiss civil society, the more distant you keep opposition thought, opposition parties, dissenting discourses, the more political power will be successful. That’s why they try to ban the media, the tool for reaching society. We publicise our reports through the media but are prevented to do so. They prevent us from holding press conferences or even interviews.”
Melet said: “As human rights defenders in any city where prohibitions are enforced, we have to stand up and expose this. No matter who the opposition is. Today’s ruling party can be the opposition tomorrow. So here we have a call to the political power: Let’s remove all bans and prohibitions, let’s make Turkey more democratic and more peaceful.”