Human Rights Watch calls on Turkey to protect free speech, rule of law

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A human rights group is calling on Turkey to take steps to protect free speech, the right to peaceful protests and the rule of law.

In a report released Monday, Human Rights Watch criticized government moves to control the media and the Internet and its clampdown on critics and protests.

The group said that while thousands face prosecution for taking part in anti-government protests in 2013, few police officers have been held to account for abuses. It also said the government had weakened the rule of law by responding to a corruption scandal with laws that curb the independence of the judiciary.

The group, however, welcomed the government's efforts to forge peace with Kurdish rebels to end a 30 year-old conflict.