The European Parliament adopted Thursday calling out Turkey for its systemic crackdown on fundamental rights.
MEPs slammed the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for eroding the independence of Turkey’s judicial system in Turkey since an alleged coup attempt failed in July 2016, which later led to a massive purge of hundreds of thousands of state workers accused of colluding with the coup plotters.
European lawmakers called on Erdogan to release the thousands of people who remain imprisoned as a result of their arrest in connection to the failed coup.
According to the European Parliament, the state of emergency introduced since July 2016 “is used to muzzle dissidents and goes well beyond legitimate measures to counter threats to national security.” adding that the failed coup attempt is used as a pretext for preventing the media and civil society from peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression.
MEPs ask Erdogan to free political prisoners
The European Parliament expressed “deep concern at the ongoing deterioration of fundamental rights and freedoms and the rule of law in Turkey,” before adding that it, “condemns the use of arbitrary detention or judicial and administrative harassment aimed at persecuting tens of thousands of people”.
The MEPs urged Turkish authorities “to immediately and unconditionally release all who have been detained while carrying out legitimate work and exercising their right to freedom of expression and association, as well as those who have been detained without proper evidence.”
The Parliament avoided condemning Ankara’s ongoing military intervention against the Kurds in Afrin, said it is “deeply concerned about the humanitarian consequences” and “warns against the prosecution of disproportionate (military) actions”.
The resolution, supported by all of the parliament’s political factions, denounced the incarceration of MPs, journalists, academics, and ordinary citizens under a “broadly defined” anti-terrorist legislation.
Turkey announced Monday that it had arrested 573 people who had criticized its military offensive in northwestern Syria against Kurdish fighters from the YPG. Erdogan claims the YPG and YPJ (women’s units) are closely allied with the PKK, a Kurdish insurgency force considered a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and EU.
Revising its existing antiterrorist law is part of the conditions set for Turkey by the European Union to abolish visa requirement for its citizens.