PACE to hold urgent debate on Turkey over worsening outlook for opposition


The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on Monday decided to hold an urgent debate on the worsening situation of opposition politicians in Turkey.

The debate will be held Thursday afternoon in Strasbourg, where PACE members have convened for the winter session, January 21-25, 2019.

Opposition politician Ilhan Isbilen was jailed over alleged membership in the Gülen movement, which is critical of the government.
Selahattin Demirtas, former co-chair of pro-Kurdish HDP, was jailed over his stand against the Erdogan government.

The proposal to hold the urgent debate was offered by PACE deputy Tiny Kox on behalf of the Group of the Unified European Left. The PACE bureau endorsed the proposal under the title “Worsening situation of opposition politicians in Turkey: What to do to protect their fundamental rights in a Council of Europe member State?” The assembly approved the proposal, and the topic was referred to the Monitoring Committee for a report.

Dozens of politicians, current and former members of parliament, including İlhan İşbilen, a former member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and former chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party Selahattin Demirtaş have been jailed in Turkey on dubious charges.

Turkey was placed under a formal monitoring process in April 2017 over human rights violations after the Monitoring Committee underlined that there has been a “serious deterioration of the functioning of democratic institutions in the country.”

In a report prepared by PACE rapporteurs Marianne Mikko and Ingebjørg Godskesen, PACE pointed out that the AKP government had adopted “disproportionate measures” that go beyond what is permitted by the Turkish Constitution and international law and expressed concern about the extent of the purges conducted in public administration, the military, the judiciary and the teaching profession.

The PACE report stated that one-quarter of all judges and prosecutors, one-tenth of the police force, 30 percent of the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and 5,000 academics have been dismissed in mass purges in Turkey.


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