EU-Turkey Association Council: concerns on human rights

Justice and the Rule of Law, Press Release, Shrinking Space for Civil Society, Turkey

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Press Release

Brussels, 14 March 2019

Ahead of the Association Council, that on March 15 will review EU-Turkey bilateral relations, EuroMed Rights, President Wadih Al-Asmar, said:

“Since the lifting of the state of emergency in July 2018, the space for civil society organisations in the country has been increasingly shrinking and human rights defenders (HRDs) have been under constant pressure by the Turkish Government.

“The vague definition of terrorism as enshrined in the anti-terror law n° 3713 is constantly exploited by the Turkish judiciary to target HRDs and peaceful dissenting voices, accusing them of membership in a terrorist organisation and propaganda for a terrorist organisation.

“We thus call on European leaders to express concern on the human rights situation in Turkey, as done during the UN Human Rights Council 40th session and recall that HRDs are natural and indispensable allies in the promotion of human rights and democratisation in their countries, as stated in the EU Guidelines on HRDs.

“In addition to that, we also ask the Turkish Government to unconditionally drop politically motivated charges and proceedings; release from custody without delay the thousands of citizens unjustly jailed or facing judicial harassment for the legitimate exercise of their fundamental freedoms; amend the broad anti-terror law n° 3713; stop the judicial harassment of the signatories of the ‘Academics for Peace’ petition.”


Academics for Peace is a group that brings together more than 2,000 people who support peace in southeastern Turkey. They are among 1,128 signatories of a petition submitted in January 2016 calling for an end to violence in the region. In the request, the signatories condemned the violence perpetrated against the Kurds and the permanent violations of national laws and international treaties by the Turkish state.