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President ends official visit to Turkey, condemns new terrorist attack

Speaking today at the end the end of his visit to Turkey, PACE President Pedro Agramunt reiterated his full support to Turkey, in the face of the many challenges the country is facing.

“The fight against terrorism dominated all my discussions during the last two days. I condemned - in the strongest possible terms - the heinous terrorist attack in Istanbul, on 7 June 2016 as well as the attack today, and assured the Turkish authorities and the people of Turkey of the Assembly’s solidarity and support” stressed PACE President.

“Terrorism knows no borders. Terrorists seek to destroy our societies and the values we share. As democratic societies, respecting human rights and the Rule of Law, we must defend our societies and our people against terrorism and the fear terrorists seek to create. Our best response is to make our institutions stronger, to uphold the values that unite us, and to step up our co-operation, on the basis of our legal standards” emphasized Pedro Agramunt.

Speaking about the refugee crisis and the EU – Turkey refugee deal, PACE President praised Turkey’s generosity and commitment to tackling this unprecedented challenge. “Turkey is hosting 3 million refugees and these efforts deserve our full appreciation. But the refugee flow is not likely to stop as instability on Europe’s southern borders increases. Turkey alone cannot cope with this challenge – all European countries have to take their share of responsibility. In this context, the implementation of the EU-Turkey deal is of crucial importance. Turkey has taken up important commitments and during my recent visit to Lesvos in Greece, I could see for myself how important these commitments are in a European context. Now, however, all member states of the Council of Europe have to do their part of the job, and relocation and resettlement commitments must be honoured. The Assembly will address these issues during its June part-session within the framework of a debate on refugees at risk”.

Turning to the co-operation between Turkey and the Council of Europe, PACE President encouraged the authorities to continue making full use of the Organisation’s instruments and co-operation mechanisms. “Since this year, Turkey’s engagement with the Council of Europe has increased significantly. This offers new opportunities to enhance our co-operation and I support ongoing initiatives relating, inter alia, to the implementation of the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the Court in Turkey. The Council of Europe can provide legal standards and expertise on a wide range of issues, including those relating to Turkey’s EU integration agenda. Turkey may count on our support on this front”, concluded Pedro Agramunt.

During the visit, PACE President held meetings with Turkey’s President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, as well as the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
Mr Agramunt also met the Minister of EU Affairs and the Chief Ombudsman, and in Parliament he held talks with the members of the Turkish delegation to PACE and members of the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee.