S&Ds condemn political trials in Turkey
Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament are gravely concerned about the decision of the Turkish judiciary to launch a probe against Mr Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of Turkey ‘s main opposition People’s Republican Party (CHP). The public prosecutor asked for the revocation of Mr Kılıçdaroğlu’s parliamentary immunity in order to charge him with ‘attempting to influence a fair trial’ and ‘insulting public servants on duty’ following remarks Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu made after a visit to two elected CHP MPs, Mr Mustafa Balbay and Mr Mehmet Haberal, who have been held in pre-trial detention for several years as suspects in the Ergenekon case.
Hannes Swoboda vice-president of the S&D Group said:
« We see this move as part of an ongoing crackdown on people engaged in legal political activity in Turkey . Over the past few years, dozens of journalists critical of the government, thousands of people associated with the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the Union of Kurdistan Communities have been arrested and charged with alleged links to terrorist organisations. Most of these cases are based on an excessively broad definition of terrorism in Turkey ‘s anti-terror law. Moreover, the overly restrictive attitudes of judges and prosecutors, and long pre-trial detention periods which obstruct freedom of expression and the rule of law in Turkey .
« The justified fight against military interference in domestic affairs must not be misused for political purposes.
« We call on the Turkish government to build on the legacy of the earlier reforms that brought Turkey closer to the EU standards and demonstrate the central importance of human rights, freedom of expression and the rule of law. In this context, as a matter of priority, we urge the reform of those provisions of Turkey ‘s anti-terror law and criminal law that – coupled with the restrictive and often politicised attitudes of judges and prosecutors – lead to persistent violations of freedom of expression in Turkey . »