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“Canan Kaftancıoğlu's place is in the political arena, not in prison”, PACE monitors for Turkey say

The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Turkey, John Howell (United Kingdom, EC/DA) and Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC), reacted to the confirmation of Canan Kaftancıoğlu’s prison sentence:

"We are dismayed by the decision of the Court of Cassation of Turkey, which upheld most of the sentences against Canan Kaftancıoğlu, Head of the Republican People's Party (CHP) provincial branch of Istanbul, and convicted her to nearly 5 years in prison or to a political ban. This punishment, based on old tweets, for, i.a, allegedly ‘insulting the President’, illustrates yet another case of judicial harassment against members of the opposition - and in this case, against a prominent female politician; it is yet another blow to Turkey's democracy and vibrant political scene, which is all the more worrying in the run-up to general elections scheduled for 2023.

Canan Kaftancıoğlu's place is in the political arena, not in prison. We urge the Turkish authorities to put an end to these undemocratic practices. It is urgent to revise those controversial provisions of the Penal Code that are contrary to European standards - so say the Venice Commission and the European Court of Human Rights - and that lead to abusive judicial procedures aimed at silencing critical voices and dissenting opinions, which are indispensable components of a vibrant civil society. This poses a serious danger to democracy in Turkey.”