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Turkey: Council of Europe takes Turkey to task over human rights crackdown

With this vote, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has made it clear to the authorities that human rights cannot be trampled underfoot without scrutiny and ultimately consequences

AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

QUOTE

25 April 2017

Turkey: Council of Europe takes Turkey to task over human rights crackdown

-       Spokespeople available for interview

Reacting to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe vote to reintroduce full monitoring of the ‘functioning of democratic institutions’ in Turkey, Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International’s Turkey researcher said:

“This welcome decision sends a clear and powerful message that Turkey must end its crackdown on human rights.

“With this vote, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has made it clear to the authorities that human rights cannot be trampled underfoot without scrutiny and ultimately consequences.  

“It sends a strong signal to Turkish civil society, journalists and victims of human rights abuses that the Council of Europe is willing to use all the available tools to bring Turkey back to compliance to the commitments it signed up to when it joined the organisation.”

On 3 May World Press Freedom Day, Amnesty International will turn the spotlight onto Turkey’s treatment of journalists, calling for their release from pre-trial detention.

Background

On 25 April 2017, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted with a large majority, a resolution calling for full monitoring procedures in Turkey in order to ensure respect for fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and democracy. Prior to this vote Turkey was only subjected to ‘post-monitoring dialogue’ - a lighter version of monitoring which only addresses a limited number of issues.

The PACE also called for the release of all detained journalists and human rights defenders and condemned any measures to reinstate the death penalty.

Since last summer’s violent coup attempt, more than 160 media outlets have been closed down,  with 120 plus journalists and media workers jailed, and more than 100,000 public sector employees dismissed, including a quarter of the judiciary. Likewise, hundreds of NGOs have been shut down under the state of emergency, which has been renewed this month for a further three-month term.

On 16 April constitutional amendments granting President Erdogan sweeping new powers were passed in a referendum.