New crackdown on political opposition and civil dissent in Turkey: urgent need to safeguard Council of Europe standards
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), with a resolution voted on October 23, 2020, called on Ankara to “put an end to oppression towards opposition”.
The report penned by PACE rapporteurs on Turkey, the Swedish parliamentarian Thomas Hammarberg and by British MP John Howell, “New crackdown on political opposition and civil dissent in Turkey: urgent need to safeguard Council of Europe standards“, was accepted by a majority at a video conference.
In the resolution, problems in the fields of freedom of expression and press freedom were addressed.
Within the framework of Turkey’s fight against terrorism, the rule of law and human rights norms were reminded of the need to act. The fear that the new social media law adopted on 28 July 2020 will impose new restrictions on freedom of expression and media has been expressed. The decisions made by the Constitutional Court (AYM) in the cases of Wikipedia and Academics for Peace were described as “gratifying”. It is hoped that the decisions of the Constitutional Court and the case law of the ECtHR will be “a guide” for judges and prosecutors. The Turkish authorities were also called upon to “refrain from statements that would endanger the functioning of the AYM”.
The importance of the implementation of the ECtHR judgments was also mentioned. The decisions of Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş were cited as an example. In accordance with the ECtHR decision, while Kavala was asked to be released immediately, it was demanded that “judicial harassment” against rights defenders be stopped. The message was given that the death penalty debates, which have come up again recently, are incompatible with Council of Europe membership.