Washington (December 11, 2019) – Today, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously passed key provisions of the Turkey Human Rights Promotion Act, legislation introduced in November by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). The provisions include calling on Turkey to improve the dire climate for journalists and to cease undermining fair trials. Senator Markey, a member of the Committee, was also able to insert a provision calling on Turkey to release all individuals detained on politically motivated charges.


By the end of 2018, the Government of Turkey had arrested or imprisoned more than 80,000 Turkish citizens, closed more than 1,500 nongovernmental organizations on terrorism-related grounds, and dismissed or suspended more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs. Turkey remains one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.


“President Erdogan’s repression is harming a wide range of journalists, academics, dissidents, and minorities including the Kurds,” said Senator Markey. “We must be clear in our position: the United States opposes the targeting of political rivals and journalists in Turkey and around the world. Senator Wyden and I will continue to push for full passage of the Turkey Human Rights Promotion Act to demonstrate that the United States stands for human rights everywhere.”


“It is shameful that a NATO member like Turkey should ever be among the world’s worst jailers of journalists and political opponents,” said Senator Wyden. “The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is doing the right thing in including key provisions from legislation Senator Markey and I authored and calling on Turkey’s authoritarian President to release everyone who is being unjustly imprisoned.”