PACE – Statement on Turkey policy on Syria

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) President Anne Brasseur objected to AKP’s policy on Syria and asked Turkey to join the struggle against ISIS.

President Brasseur emphasized the need to have a global perspective on the struggle against ISIS, and described AKP government’s policy on Syria as messy and complicated. Brasseur stated that Turkey should renew its policy on Syria and the role of the coalition government would be crucial in this transformation. Reminding the absence of coalition governments in recent Turkish political history, Brasseur said that important problems could only be resolved through debate and mutual agreements between different groups.

Brasseur highlighted the importance of the HDP’s election success and described the 10 percent threshold as unfair and the surpassal of the thresold as important.

She also stated that the European Union should increase its support to Turkey for the refugees whose numbers are around 2 millions, and that this support should be more tangible.

Brasseur ended her speech by warning that we would suffer from more radicalism and fundamentalism in the future if we do not establish education networks for refugee youth today.

 

As for the June 7th parliamentary elections, a report drafted by Tony Kox (Netherlands, UEL), approved on June 21 by the Assembly, stresses that voters could choose from a wide range of political parties but the 10 percent threshold to enter the parliament limited political pluralism. PACE reiterated its request to Turkish authorities that they lower this threshold substantially in the future.

However, the parliamentarians expressed their concerns over the “high number of attacks on party offices and serious incidents of physical attacks during the campaigns,” some of which resulted in fatalities. They asked that the results of the investigations launched by the authorities “should be made public as soon as possible and perpetrators should be brought before the courts.”

In his speech, Tony Kox drew attention to the importance of HDP’s success of surpassing the threshold, but said that the attacks on the party during the campaign period, President Erdoğan’s intervention in the elections, and the inequalities between the level of opportunities available to political parties cast shadow on the elections. Kox criticised the 10 percent electoral threshold and added that HDP’s success is a sign of maturity in Turkish democracy. Kox added that their report was important; but that the actual place to assess the election results is the Turkish parliament.

Member of the Left Group, Anrej Hunko from Die Linke in Germany said the elections marked a turning point in Turkey and the results are not only a success for the Kurds but also for all democratic forces. Hunko added that it is the beginning of a new period for all the forces of democracy, and criticised the Turkish president for not remaining neutral in the elections. Hunko recalled the attacks targeting HDP during the pre-election period and stressed that the government had responsibility in these attacks.

PACE Turkey reporter Josette Durrieu stressed that the Kurds gained a double victory in the elections, where the clear loser was Erdoğan. Durrieu said Kurds overcame the unjust electoral threshold and gained representation in the parliament on the one hand, whereas they brought the Kurdish question, the most important problem of the country, into the foreground of the political agenda on the other hand. Durrieu also stressed that the elections were not fair and recalled the intervention of the President in the election campaign. Durrieu further added that the Kurds made a new and important move in their struggle, and would concentrate more on the political field through participation in the parliament.