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Demonstrators across Europe call on Turkey to release Özlem Dalkıran and her fellow rights defenders

Demonstrators gathered outside Turkish embassies in Berlin, Paris, and London, as well as at the European Council in Brussels to call for the immediate release of all human rights defenders recently jailed by the Turkish government. Many wore masks representing Özlem Dalkıran, a human rights defender and Avaaz team member who was among the detained.

Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu is in Brussels today to discuss trade with Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, amid growing discontent in Europe with Turkey’s human rights abuses and arbitrary arrests and detentions.

Alex Evans, Campaign Director at Avaaz, said:

“The arrest of our colleague Özlem and her friends is the latest act in President Erdogan’s terrible crackdown on Turkey’s civil society. The EU shouldn’t applaud that with economic favours -- Federica Mogherini must make it clear that jailing human rights activists is a red line for Europe’s relationship with Turkey. These prisoners must be released and the spurious terrorism investigations into them dropped.”

Over 820,000 people from across the world have already signed an Avaaz petition, calling for the immediate release of Özlem and the other human rights defenders jailed in Turkey. The petition can be found here: http://avaaz.org/en/free_ozlem_loc

Those already in prison are Özlem Dalkıran (Avaaz, Citizens’ Assembly), İdil Eser (Turkish section of Amnesty International), Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association) Ali Gharavi (IT strategy consultant) and Peter Steudtner (non-violence and wellbeing trainer). Four human rights defenders are the subject of the detention order are İlknur Üstün (Women's Coalition), Şeyhmus Özbekli (Rights Initiative), Nejat Taştan (Equal Rights Watch Association) and Nalan Erkem (Citizens Assembly).

Pictures from the events in Berlin, Paris and London can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/avaaz/albums/72157686752579615