After working four years in Gaziantep (‘Little Aleppo’) along side 15 of our nurses in Turkey, Nurse Williams was arrested trying to leave the country into Rojava, Syria. The claim was that she was intending to help or had been helping a terrorist group we and she have never heard of. Today Ms. Williams is free and out of Turkey.
According to the foundation’s senior staff in northern Iraq and Syria, Turkey “only had a shot at one woman travelling through Turkey” (as the others were evacuated on another course weeks ago).
The matter was cleared up, after a few days, and was delegated as a ‘mistaken identity’ and ‘papers not in order’.
The RINJ Foundation must put on hold ‘government-friendly’ medical assistance to a country where the intensity of misogyny puts workers in extreme danger of detention and other mistreatment. Moreover, the recent arrest and detention of Amnesty International humanitarian workers by the Erdogan dictatorship cannot stand. The situation in Turkey is deteriorating rapidly.
Early in July, Amnesty International’s regional director Idil Eser, and nine other human rights activists were arrested. Since then, four have been released and six remain incarcerated on dubious charges of being associated with a terrorist group bent on upsetting President Recep Erdogan’s efforts to consolidate national power in his presidential ‘palace’.
Erdogan’s authoritarian tactics shut down more than 170 news organizations, closed some 1,500 NGOs, and jailed at least 81 journalists who did not tow the Erdogan line.
Erdogan has been labeled aas a despotic misogynist in the RINJ Foundation’s 2017 “Red Lines” expose.