The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) today reiterated its call on Turkish authorities “to put an end to laws and practices that contravene democratic standards, to revise its legislation and constitutional framework in order to ensure the separation of powers, to restore freedom of speech and media freedom, to restrict the interpretation of its anti-terror legislation, and to implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.”
The call comes at the end of an urgent debate on the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey.
PACE parliamentarians said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, which aims to combat violence against women and domestic violence, constitutes “a step backwards for the country” and expressed deep regret that the decision was taken “without any parliamentary debate and on account of misleading narratives.”
PACE also requested that the experts of the Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body on constitutional matters, prepare a comparative study on the modalities of ratification and denunciation of the council conventions.
In addition PACE adopted a resolution that notes with concern the procedures aimed at lifting the parliamentary immunity of one-third of parliamentarians – mostly from the opposition – as well as the attempt to dissolve the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the repression of its members.
The assembly urged Turkish authorities “to put an end to the judicial harassment of parliamentarians and refrain from submitting numerous summaries of proceedings seeking the undue lifting of their immunity which gravely impedes the exercise of their political mandate.”
The text also called for the immediate release of former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and philanthropist Osman Kavala “in application of the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights of 2020 and subsequent decisions of the Committee of Ministers, which is supervising their implementation.”
PACE invited Turkish authorities to take “concrete and meaningful steps” to meet its obligations arising from their Council of Europe membership.