Fifty members of the British parliament last Thursday sent a letter to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab voicing their concerns about the deterioration of human rights in Turkey and asking the British government to make clear to the Turkish government that the United Kingdom “will always stand up for human rights.”
The joint letter, written by Crispin Blunt (Conservative Party) and Hillary Benn (Labour Party), highlighted some key issues such as the imprisonment of journalists, the suppression of democratic opposition and the intimidation of human rights defenders.
On Tuesday, over 50 Parliamentarians co-signed a joint letter between @hilarybennmp and I regarding the need for the Foreign Sec to make early statement to the #Turkish Government that the UK will not tolerate worsening human rights and the country's slide into authoritarianism. pic.twitter.com/KA1inSQbX5
— Crispin Blunt MP (@CrispinBlunt) May 13, 2021
The British MPs mentioned the imprisonment of former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy and human rights defender Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu and the detention of Öztürk Türkdoğan, co-chair of the Human Rights Association (İHD) as part of a growing pattern that “increasingly calls into question whether Turkey actually shares [the United Kingdom’s] democratic values and attachment to the rule of law.”
According to the MPs, “The very institution of democracy is under grave threat” in Turkey.
The letter also mentioned Turkey’s recent withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the Council of Europe’s (CoE) binding treaty to prevent and combat violence against women and a rise in allegations of torture as reported by Human Rights Watch as other worrying signs.
The MPs requested that Foreign Secretary Raab make an early statement to parliament “making clear to the Turkish government that the United Kingdom’s public friendship cannot be unconditional and that [the United Kingdom] will always stand up for human rights.”