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PACE Türkiye monitors react to recent police raids in the country

Ankara, Turkey

The co-rapporteurs of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for the monitoring of Türkiye, John Howell (United Kingdom, EC/DA) and Stefan Schennach (Austria, SOC), have reacted to recent police raids in the country targeting politicians, lawyers, journalists and civil society activists.

“On 25 April, at least 110 people were arrested across 21 Turkish provinces on charges of financing the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) or helping to recruit new members for it. Their offices and homes were searched.

We are appalled by these events, which have a chilling effect on the forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections, scheduled for 14 May. We are particularly worried about the detention of members of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP), of lawyers, who could scrutinise election security, and of independent journalists, who could cover potential allegations of election fraud.

This is another example of the restrictive and repressive environment in which representatives of opposition and civil society operate. Similar concerns were already voiced by the Assembly in its Resolution 2459 (2022) last October, and by its pre-electoral delegation during its recent visit to Türkiye.

We call on the authorities to conduct thorough and fair investigations into these arrests and the validity of the serious allegations of terrorism-related offences, in line with international human rights standards. Furthermore, we call on the authorities to end all forms of reprisals against politicians, lawyers, journalists and civil society activists.

Once again, we urge the authorities to ensure that all conditions are met to guarantee free and fair elections, including the ability of the opposition to operate and the right to freedom of expression of journalists and other representatives of civil society.”