On Tuesday, 7 June 2022, the European Parliament adopted 2021 Report on Turkey by 448 votes in favour, 67 against and 107 abstentions. MEPs warn that in spite of Turkey’s repeated statements that it aims to become an EU member, over the past two years the country has consistently gone back on its commitments in relation to the accession process.
The report points to the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in Turkey. MEPs regret the sustained legal and administrative pressure on civil society and human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists.
The European Parliament particularly condemned continuing crackdown on lawyers. MEP said:
the Parliament “is appalled by reports of a pattern of persecution of lawyers representing individuals accused of terrorism whereby the lawyers were prosecuted for the same crime as that attributed to their client, or a related crime, in a context where this constituted a clear obstacle to the enjoyment of the right to a fair trial and access to justice.”
The European Parliament “urged the Turkish Government to guarantee the independent work of lawyers and to release anyone illegally detained simply for performing their legal duties.”
According to a report of the Arrested Lawyers Initiative, titled The Crackdown, since 2016 more than 1,600 lawyers have been arrested and prosecuted while 615 lawyers have been remanded to pretrial detention. Subsequently, 474 lawyers have been sentenced to a total of 2,966 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorism organization (Art. 314 of Penal Code) or of spreading terrorist propaganda.
“In the current challenging times, values and principles, which are at the core of any EU accession process, cannot come second to any geopolitical contingency. That is why the Parliament – and I hope all EU institutions – will not remain silent when faced with the current authoritarian spiral in the country. Instead of regaining trust – a much-needed asset in EU-Turkey relations – we are now losing it; the irresponsible veto in NATO and the rising tensions with EU member states are worrying signs for the future, marked by a pre-electoral situation in the country. If there is no change, I can hardly see the accession process surviving another five years”, said Turkey rapporteur Nacho Sánchez Amor.
Categories: Unjust / Wrongful Convictions