Istanbul “four-way” summit on Syria: repression of civil society in Turkey should not be ignored

Shrinking Space for Civil Society, Statement, Turkey

Read in:  French 

Joint Statement

Brussels, 27 October 2018

Ahead of the Istanbul four-way summit on the situation in Syria, announced for 27 October 2018, EuroMed Rights and the Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği-IHD) call on French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to raise with Turkish President Recep Erdoğan the issue of the ongoing repression of civil society in Turkey and the restriction of the basic rights and freedoms of Turkey’s citizens.

After the attempted coup in 2016 with the imposing of a State of Emergency (SoE), as highlighted by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, the Turkish Government “took measures that went beyond what is permitted by the Constitution [of the Republic of Turkey] and by international law.”  After the lift of the SoE last July, the exceptional restrictions on basic rights and fundamental freedoms were integrated into ordinary law with the adoption of the controversial law no. 7145. This law is currently in force and represents a concrete threat to human rights defenders and civil society in the country and establishes a de facto permanent SoE..

France and Germany should remind President Erdoğan that peaceful dissenting voices constitute the very essence of a democracy and must not be criminalised or silenced. Turkish authorities must respect the legitimate demands of the citizens of Turkey to exercise their basic rights and fundamental freedoms, as enshrined in Article 12 of Turkey’s Constitution and international treaties.

Background Information

So far, more than 150,000 civil servants, judges and university teachers have been dismissed from their functions. Attacks against human rights defenders are widespread; thousands have been sentenced to prison or remain behind bars awaiting trial. Others have been subjected to judicial harassment and some have seen their passports cancelled, banning them from traveling abroad.

Read the statement by IHD in Turkish here.