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PACE reopens monitoring procedure in respect of Turkey

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) decided today to reopen the monitoring procedure in respect of Turkey until “serious concerns” about respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law “are addressed in a satisfactory manner”.

The resolution adopted calls on the Turkish authorities urgently to take measures such as lifting the state of emergency “as soon as possible”, halting the promulgation of emergency decree laws which bypass parliamentary procedures “unless strictly needed” and releasing all the parliamentarians and journalists detained pending trial. It also calls on them to establish the Inquiry Commission on State of Emergency Measures, ensure fair trials with respect for due procedural guarantees and take urgent measures to restore freedom of expression and the media.

On the basis of a report by Ingebjørg Godskesen (Norway, EC) and Marianne Mikko (Estonia, SOC), the text adopted underlines that nine months after the attempted coup, “the situation has deteriorated and measures have gone far beyond what is necessary and proportionate”. The authorities have been “ruling through decree laws” going far beyond what emergency situations require and overstepping the parliament’s legislative competence. In this context, the Assembly stressed that “the reintroduction of the death penalty would be incompatible with membership of the Council of Europe”.

The Assembly also expressed deep regret that the constitutional referendum on 16 April 2017 had been contested on an “uneven playing field”, thus preventing the two sides in the campaign from having equal opportunities. Furthermore, the validation of unsealed ballot papers in contradiction with the 2010 election law “raised serious questions about the legitimacy of the outcome of the referendum”.

The Assembly resolved, in the framework of the monitoring procedure for Turkey, to assess progress made in a report to be presented in the course of the Assembly’s 2018 session. The members welcomed that, in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt, high-level political contacts and technical co-operation between Turkey and the Council of Europe have intensified.

Until today, Turkey was engaged in “post-monitoring dialogue” with the Assembly along with Bulgaria, Montenegro and “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”. It is now under the monitoring procedure along with nine other states (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, the Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine).