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U.N. calls on Turkey to end state of emergency

Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo by OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images.

A new report from the United Nations has detailed extensive human rights violations in Turkey and calls for an end to the country's 20-month state of emergency. The report's findings include evidence of large-scale arbitrary detentions, suppression of free speech and the use of torture by security forces, justified under the state-sponsored guise of "links to terrorist organizations."

“The numbers are just staggering: nearly 160,000 people arrested during an 18-month state of emergency; 152,000 civil servants dismissed, many totally arbitrarily; teachers, judges and lawyers dismissed or prosecuted; journalists arrested, media outlets shut down and websites blocked – clearly the successive states of emergency declared in Turkey have been used to severely and arbitrarily curtail the human rights of a very large number of people,”
— UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

The backdrop: President Erdoğan has extended the state of emergency six times since the 2016 failed coup in an attempt to purge the influence of Fethullah Gülen — an exiled preacher accused of masterminding the coup — from Turkish society.

Turkey's response: ""[The report] contains unfounded allegations matching up perfectly with the propaganda efforts of terrorist organizations. It completely ignores the severe and multiple terrorist threats faced by Turkey and particularly, the effects on the protection of human rights of the July 15 coup attempt that targeted the survival of our country and the democratic life of our nation."

Jonathan Swan 10 hours ago
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Inside Trump's week of European visits

Photos: Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images; Cuneyt Karadag/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

This week in Washington will be dominated by two foreign visitors: French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife's visit will culminate with the first state dinner of Trump's presidency at the White House on Tuesday night — then, on Friday, Trump hosts German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

What we're hearing: Macron hopes to persuade Trump to work with the Europeans to fix the Iran nuclear deal rather than to follow his instincts and tear up the deal next month by reimposing American sanctions on Iran.

Jonathan Swan 11 hours ago
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Trump asked Netanyahu if he genuinely cares about peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump at the White House in March. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

In a phone call last year with Bibi Netanyahu, President Trump said something that shocked some of the people who helped prepare his briefing materials for the conversations. According to three sources familiar with the call, Trump asked Bibi bluntly if he actually cares about peace or not.

The details: Trump was pressing Bibi on the importance of striking a "deal" for Mideast peace. He'd read news reports about Bibi planning to build additional settlements to please his conservative base in Israel. Trump thought Bibi was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians. So, in the course of a longer conversation that was mostly friendly and complimentary, he bluntly asked Bibi whether or not he genuinely wants peace.