EU External Action Service Spokesperson Peter Stano issued a statement yesterday expressing concern over continuing pressure against the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and several of its members, replacing elected mayors and the attempt to lift the parliamentary immunity of opposition MPs in Turkey.
“As a long-standing member of the Council of Europe and a candidate country, Turkey must safeguard its democratic system, including respect for human rights and the rule of law and the freedom of political association,” the EEAS spokesperson said.
The European Commission doesn’t comment on serious human right violations in Turkey despite the country’s candidate status, and the EU prefers releasing its message to Turkish government at the level of the EEAS spokesperson.
Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals ruled on Friday to uphold a two-and-a-half-year sentence handed down to human rights defender and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu for a tweet.
Last week a Turkish court handed down a prison sentence of seven years, six months to Filiz Buluttekin, former co-mayor of the Sur district of Diyarbakır province, who was earlier removed from office by the Turkish government on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.
Turkey: 🇪🇺gravely concerned about continuing pressure against @HDPenglish members w/arrest,politicised judicial actions & attempt 2lift parliamentary immunities. As @coe member & EU candidate country 🇹🇷 must respect human rights, rule of law & freedoms https://t.co/gsLbUps9bg
— Peter Stano (@ExtSpoxEU) February 23, 2021
“These developments add to Turkey’s non-implementation of the ECtHR’s ruling on the release of Mr. Selahattin Demirtaş as well as the detention of hundreds of local politicians, elected office holders and of members of the HDP on terrorism-related charges,” Stano said.
The statement underlined that alleged wrongdoing or crimes need to be subject to due process and that the presumption of innocence must be safeguarded.