The United States is deeply troubled and disappointed by a Turkish court’s verdict against Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu, sentencing him to two years and seven months in prison and banning him from political activity. His conviction is inconsistent with respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, and the rule of law. We remain gravely concerned by the continued judicial harassment of civil society, media, political and business leaders in Turkey, including through prolonged pretrial detention, overly broad claims of support for terrorism, and criminal insult cases.
The people of Turkey deserve the ability to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms without fear of retribution. The right to exercise the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly, and association is enshrined in Turkey’s constitution, its international law obligations, and its OSCE commitments. We urge the government to cease prosecutions under criminal “insult” laws, and to respect the rights and freedoms of all Turkish citizens, including by ensuring an open environment for public debate.