We made our views clear after a freedom of information release to The Herald revealed that first minister Humza Yousaf had invited Turkish President Recep Erdoğan on a diplomatic visit to Scotland. Turkey’s human rights record and previously well-regarded commitment to secularism have both plummeted under Erdoğan’s authoritarian rule.
Responding to news about the invitation, which was offered at Cop28 in December, our CEO Fraser Sutherland stated:
“This is a very short sighted invite from the first minister. Under President Erdoğan Turkey has seen a sustained attack on civil liberties and human rights. Allegations of torture against political prisoners are widespread and the Turkish government censors and blocks webpages of news websites that are critical of the governing party.
“The country installed a blasphemy law this century through its reform of penal codes. In 2015 the Turkish Atheist Association had its website banned by a court for ‘disrupting public order.’ The United States Commission on Religious Freedom states that ‘the Turkish government’s use of this article [blasphemy] is generally politically motivated.’
“Erdogan is an authoritarian despot. He should not be welcomed to Bute House by this first minister or any who follow him.”
Image c. Paul Morigi/Creative Commons.
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