PACE’s Standing Committee has strongly condemned new crackdowns on political opposition and civil dissent in recent months in Turkey and urged the Turkish authorities to “take meaningful steps” to improve standards in the field of democracy, rule of law and human rights.
Approving a resolution based on a report by Thomas Hammarberg (Sweden, SOC) and John Howell (United Kingdom, EC/DA) following an urgent debate, the Standing Committee – acting in the name of the Assembly – said investigations and prosecutions targeted local politicians, members and former members of parliament, members of opposition political parties and lawyers. Continued undue pressure was also exerted on journalists, civil society activists and other groups, it added.
“Unfortunately, the overall situation has not improved since 2019,” the parliamentarians said. In addition, many of the issues cited in 2017, when the Assembly re-opened the monitoring procedure for Turkey, “remain a matter of concern in 2020”, they added.
In its resolution, the Standing Committee listed a detailed series of steps it expected the authorities to take in three different areas – the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.
The parliamentarians said they remained “confident of the ability of the Turkish people and authorities to address and redress the deficiencies in the field of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, provided there is a strong and genuine political will to do so”. They also praised Turkey’s “vibrant civil and political society, which is genuinely committed to democracy”.
The Standing Committee also noted that “serious concerns” had been raised over Turkey’s external actions, including military operations, and resolved to include this issue in future reports.