Ending his visit to Ankara, Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) President, Pedro Agramunt, concluded that ‘the failure of the attempted coup d’Etat was a victory for democracy, and that all democratic means must be used to ensure there is no repeat of such a coup in the future.’
‘The aim of my visit to Turkey,’ Pedro Agramunt explained, ‘was to show solidarity with Turkey, its Parliament, its Government and its people in the aftermath of the unacceptable attempted coup d’Etat. Along with Presidents and Vice-Presidents of International Parliamentary Assemblies, meeting together in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, we could discuss with our Turkish colleagues the attack by the coup plotters on Turkey’s democracy and see first-hand the bomb damage to the Grand National Assembly. This attack was shocking and it will take time for the country to come to terms with what happened, clarify the facts, bring to justice those responsible and ensure such an attempt is not repeated. In my address to this meeting I made it clear that Turkey could count on the support of the Council of Europe and its Assembly in these investigations and legal procedures, which need to comply with the Constitution, laws and domestic regulations, as underpinned by the European Convention on Human Rights and other Council of Europe standards.’
‘During my visit, and in the margins of this meeting at the Grand National Assembly, I was received at the highest levels of State and Government and could also discuss with leaders of the main political groups, NGOs and journalists. From the President, the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the message I received was clear and simple, “please show solidarity with what the people of Turkey have lived through and understand the need to remove the deeply embedded threat posed by those behind the coup attempt.” With my counterparts I was able to discuss openly and frankly concerns about some of the steps taken to deal with the aftermath of the coup. These included allegations of ill treatment, the emergency decrees and the number of people detained or dismissed from their work, and in this context, I asked for updated data on steps taken. I received assurances from the authorities that they were sensitive to these issues raised. We discussed in this context the ongoing visit of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and a visit of Turkish officials to Strasbourg, taking place this week, to discuss a range of human rights and rule of law matters. I invited the Minister of Foreign Affairs to address the October part-Session in Strasbourg, and I was delighted that he agreed immediately to this,’ Mr Agramunt said.
‘In my meetings with the leaders of two of the political opposition groups, there was a clear message of unity in the immediate response to the coup d’Etat. There were however democratic concerns that all criminal investigations, prosecutions and trials should be carried out with an independent judiciary, respecting the rule of law and international human rights norms,’ he added.
‘Turkey, has more than its fair share of challenges, and needs more than its fair share of support from Europe’, Pedro Agramunt said. ‘Not only does it have to deal with the aftermath of the coup, but it has to deal with around 3 million refugees and an increasing number of deadly terrorist attacks. We have to work more with Turkey and help Turkey more in assuring a democratic response to all these challenges.’
Pedro Agramunt concluded by thanking the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the authorities, political leaders and civil society representatives for meeting with him and providing him with the information essential for his visit.
During his working visit, President Agramunt met with Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Speaker of the National Assembly, İsmail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, as well as Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. He also exchanged views with leaders of different political groups, including Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu, Chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Figen Yüksekdağ, Co-Chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP). He finally held talks with representatives of several NGOs: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Association of Journalists, and the International Human Rights Platform.