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Pedro Agramunt deeply concerned by the detention of co-chairs of the HDP party in Turkey

Reacting to today’s detention of the co-chairs of the HDP party in Turkey, PACE President made the following statement:

“Detention of Parliamentarians, who hold their mandate from the citizens through democratic elections, is a very serious matter. Therefore, I am extremely concerned about today’s detention of Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, co-chairs of HDP – the third largest political force in Turkey’s Parliament – reportedly, together with 12 other members of parliament. I shall raise this matter with the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly in order to seek further explanations concerning such an extreme measure against parliamentarians,” said Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“In its recent opinion on the issue of parliamentary inviolability in Turkey, the Venice Commission called for reinforcement of the system of parliamentary immunity in Turkey, in particular to ensure freedom of speech of Members of Parliament. The detention of MPs sends the opposite message, especially against the background of the recent closure of 15 Kurdish media outlets as well as the raid against a major national media, Cumhuriyet. I would like to stress that derogations to the European Convention on Human Rights, that may be justified under a state of emergency, must nonetheless comply with the standards of the Convention and the case-law of the Court. The authorities should act with utmost caution, and heed well intentioned advice coming from various Council of Europe bodies to ensure that human rights are upheld and to avoid cases being brought before the European Court of Human Rights,” stressed PACE President.

“An Ad Hoc Sub-Committee of the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, as well as the Assembly’s Rapporteur on “Attacks against journalists and media freedom in Europe” will visit Turkey soon to discuss the measures taken within the framework of the state of emergency in the aftermath of the attempted coup. The Presidential Committee was invited to visit Turkey too and stands ready to react. These will be opportunities for earnest discussions with the authorities,” concluded PACE President.