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The Turkish Suspense - Eight Human Rights Activists Await a Verdict

Turkey continues to skirt with authoritarian rule as many rights activists, jurists, civil servants, educators, military personnel and journalists, have been dismissed, accused, charged, tried and jailed in President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's ambition to full control of a non-dissent Turkey.

Erdogan has embarked upon a dissent-clearing policy in Turkey to consolidate his power as the "state" ever since becoming president in 2014, after serving as prime minister from 2003 to 2014. Erdogan proposed and gained approved changes to the Turkish Constitution to clearly solidify his strength in the presidency.

Moreover, ever since a 2016 failed coup attempt against him, Erdogan has increasingly closed newspapers and magazines, censored the Internet, dismissed tens of thousands of civil servants, jurists and educators as well as detained rights activists and journalists on allegations of terrorism.

Eight such accused rights activists were ordered released from custody yesterday by an Istanbul court pending a verdict in their trials on terrorism charges, Reuters News Agency reported earlier today. Included in the released group was the Istanbul director of the local branch of Amnesty International.

However, another Turkish court remanded into custody the local Chairman of Amnesty International, Taner Kilic. He has been in prison since June in Izmir on terrorism allegations. Reuters reported that Erdogan's prosecutors have accused him of downloading ByLock, a messaging App used by supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the United States(US)-based cleric, whom Erdogan has accused as the mastermind of last year's failed coup attempt. 

So while the temporary release of eight rights activists offers some hope to freedom of speech and of expression in Turkey, suspense remains as to the final verdict in their trials, along with the disposition of Taner Kilic's charge, and the outcome of many other allegations and accusations of many others awaiting or on trial in Turkey, who have been swept up in Erdogan's ploy to authoritarianism over the sons and daughters of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.