Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused a group of recently detained human rights defenders of plotting a follow-up to a July 15, 2016 coup attempt during a press conference in Hamburg on Saturday.
Speaking to the press on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Erdoğan said that police, acting on a tip from Turkish intelligence, raided a hotel in İstanbul’s Princes’ Islands where eight human rights activists and two trainers were attending a digital security and information management workshop.
The Turkish president signaled that the detention of the rights defenders could turn into imprisonment, adding that their meeting was considered by security forces as a follow-up to the July 15 coup bid.
“What was the reason for those [human rights defenders] who you just mentioned to gather at a hotel on Büyükada? They were there for a meeting [to plan something] that could be considered a follow-up to the July 15 coup attempt. Police raided [the hotel] upon a tip from the intelligence agency. And they were detained as a result of that raid. They have not yet been arrested. I don’t know the result of this detention. It might trigger a trial. It is a different matter. It is not in the hands of the judiciary yet,” Erdoğan said.
BBC Turkish reported on Thursday that eight human rights activists and two trainers were detained during a during a digital security and information management workshop organized by Amnesty International (AI) in İstanbul on Wednesday.
According to the report, the Helsinki Citizens Assembly said Özlem Dalkıran and Nalan Erken were at the Kartal Aslantepe Police Station; Veli Acu and Günal Kurşun at the Kartal Topselvi Police Station; Necat Taştan and Şeyhmus Özbekli at the Pendik Esenyalı Police Station; and AI Turkey director İdil Eser was taken to the Cumhuriyet Police Station in Istanbul’s Maltepe district.
The owner of the hotel, who was also detained with the activists, was released, while the two foreign trainers, a German and a Swedish national, were kept at a police station on Büyükada.
There is still no information as to what they are accused of and why they were taken to different police stations.