Stockholm (Jan.27, 2017) – Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for attempting to place Turkey under monitoring mechanism on rights violations, saying that Turkey is not obligated to give its account to anybody other than the nation and God.
Speaking to reporters abroad the plane on return flight from Africa tour, Erdogan described the PACE approach as ‘not nice’ and said “We are not in a position to be accountable to anybody except the [Turkish] nation and Allah”.
Turkey, co-founder of the Council of Europe, has committed itself to uphold the values of the 47-nation largest intergovernmental body that champions the rule of law, fundamental rights and democratic principles. It also acceded to dozens of CoE conventions and accepted that the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) are binding on Turkey.
In the winter session that took off on Monday, PACE was asked to hold an urgent debate on Turkey after a motion was tabled by both the Political Affairs and Monitoring Committees. The motion received the support of nearly 60 percent of the PACE members but failed to secure a two-thirds majority in the Assembly on Jan.23.
The Monitoring Committee has renewed its request for a debate on “the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey” during the April 2017 part-session, which will allow PACE to debate recent developments in the country, continue the dialogue and prompt Turkey, one of the oldest Council of Europe member states and first signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights, to comply with its obligations towards the Council of Europe and enhance its democratic stability and security.
The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF), a rights monitoring group, issued a new research on Thursday, documenting individual cases of 191 journalists who are either convicted and serving time in prison or jailed in pre-trial detention in Turkey, a country that is now the worst jailer of journalists worldwide. The SCF also revealed that 92 journalists are also wanted for an arrest by Turkish government but remain at large either in Turkey or abroad.