Monitoring Committee expresses serious concern at recent developments in Turkey

Meeting in Paris on 9 March 2016, the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expresses its serious concern at recent developments in Turkey with respect to restrictions on media freedom and access to pluralistic information, challenges to the decisions of the Constitutional Court and the erosion of the rule of law, as well as the human rights situation of people living in south-east Turkey, who have been subject to military operations and curfews for several months.

The committee is concerned that these developments could undermine Turkey’s fulfillment of its obligations towards the Council of Europe, and hamper the democratic progress sought by the country and its efforts to draft a civilian constitution. The committee recalls that Turkey is a founder member of the Council of Europe, and remains a strategic partner for Europe. At the same time, Turkish legislation and legal practices in force are expected to comply with Council of Europe standards in the fields of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

The committee has therefore asked its co-rapporteurs for post-monitoring dialogue with Turkey to pay a fact-finding mission to the country at their earliest convenience, with a view to presenting a report on the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey during the June 2016 part-session.

The committee also asks the Venice Commission – the Council of Europe’s group of independent legal experts – for an opinion on the legal framework governing curfews.

Finally, the committee calls on the Turkish authorities to consider the relaxation of curfews, so that humanitarian considerations are addressed by securing citizens’ access to water and food, medical care and other basic rights.