CoE commissioner to raise misuse of counterterrorism laws with Turkey

Dunja Mijatović, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) representative on freedom of the media.

“Anti-terrorism laws in Turkey have made some people’s lives impossible,” said Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe’s (CoE) commissioner on human rights, adding that she would raise the issue at her next meeting with the Turkish officials.

She told Deutsche Welle (DW) Turkish service that Turkey has many counterterrorism laws that have been repeatedly criticized by the commission.

As the commissioner for human rights, Mijatovic on Dec. 4 issued a statement on counterterrorism laws in European countries.

“Terrorism constitutes a serious threat to human rights and democracy, and action by states is necessary to prevent and effectively sanction terrorist acts. However, the misuse of anti-terrorism legislation has become one of the most widespread threats to freedom of expression, including media freedom, in Europe,” she said.

According to the DW report, the statement specifically highlighted anti-terrorism laws and practices in Turkey, France, the United Kingdom, Spain and Russia.

Mijatovic on Nov. 20 announced her decision to intervene in a case against jailed Turkish rights activist Osman Kavala before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the Hürriyet Daily News had reported.

She told DW that she took that decision after the detention of 13 prominent academics as part of an investigation into Kavala’s alleged role in the 2013 Gezi Park protests targeting the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Kavala financing the Gezi Park protests, calling him the “Turkish Soros,” in reference to American-Hungarian businessman and philanthropist George Soros.

One of the academics was arrested, and the court imposed travel bans on the others.

“This special case is important in terms of generating fear among the civil society,” Mijatovic said.

“I don’t see this as an act of an independent judiciary. It looks like political pressure on an important person in civil society,” she added.

Mijatovic visited Turkey in October.


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