Amnesty International on Thursday called on Turkish authorities to release a senior member of its local chapter and seven other human rights activists who the group said were detained in Istanbul on Wednesday.
Idil Eser, director of Amnesty International Turkey, and seven other activists were in Istanbul's Buyukada district for a workshop, the organization said in an emailed statement on Thursday.
The whereabouts of the eight, as well as a Swedish and a German trainer who were with the group, remain unknown as they've not been allowed access to lawyers, Amnesty said.
"We are profoundly disturbed and outraged that some of Turkey's leading human rights defenders, including the Director of Amnesty International Turkey should have been detained so blatantly without cause," said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International's secretary general.
Though it wasn't immediately clear what triggered the latest development, it comes as the government faces mounting criticism from human rights groups who accuse it of cracking down on dissent and curbing freedom of speech. Turkey's interior ministry declined to comment when reached by phone.
According to the Hurriyet daily said a total of 12 had been arrested in a police raid on a hotel on Buyukada, a popular retreat with Istanbul residents.
There was no immediate comment from the police or indication of what the rights activists had been accused of.
The detentions come less than a month after Amnesty International's Turkey chair, Taner Kilic, was remanded in custody on what the group described as "baseless charges" of links to the alleged mastermind of the July 15 failed coup Fethullah Gulen.
Turkey remains under a state of emergency imposed in the wake of the July 15, 2016 failed coup aimed at ousting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Gulen denies any involvement.
Critics say that the emergency has been used to round up not just the alleged plotters but anyone who dares oppose the president.
Turkish officials insist that all actions are carried out within the framework of the law.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team