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Hunger strikes in Turkey come to an end: time to take meaningful steps to normalise political life

PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier welcomed the end of hunger strikes in Turkey: “I am relieved that hundreds of prisoners and other people, including Leyla Guven and three other MPs, have stopped their hunger strike. The measures taken by the Ministry of Justice to lift the state of isolation imposed on Abdullah Öcalan who has been on the island of Imrali since 2011, now paves the way for regular visits by lawyers and family members, as recommended by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT).

At this moment, I regret, and we should not forget, those who died in order to make their voices heard. At the same time, I firmly believe that political and legal issues need to be settled through dialogue and negotiation, not through actions that endanger human life.I therefore urge all stakeholders to resume a greatly needed peace process, which could also help stabilise the region.

I hope that the new justice strategy will prompt the authorities to take meaningful steps to redress the shortcomings our Parliamentary Assembly and the Venice Commission have highlighted, and that this will contribute to the normalisation of political life. This strategy should in particular seek to fully restore freedom of speech and the media, as highlighted in the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. The Council of Europe and its Parliamentary Assembly remain at the Turkish authorities’ disposal to provide assistance throughout this process.”