Wednesday, November 9, 2016

EU report on Turkey focuses on coup attempt. The EU also noted the suspensions and arrests of local elected officials

The circumstances surrounding the July 15 coup attempt dominated the report released Wednesday on Turkey’s progress in joining the EU.

The annual assessment noted that the attempt to overthrow the government “represented a direct attack on democracy in Turkey” and said the EU had “strongly and immediately” condemned the bid by some sections of the military to seize power.

However, it said the “scale and collective nature” of measures taken by the government since the failed coup -- arrests and detentions, dismissals and suspensions over alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- led to EU calls for Turkey to “observe the highest standards in respecting the rule of law and fundamental rights”.

The report added: “Any allegation of wrongdoing should be established via transparent procedures in all individual cases. Individual criminal liability can only be established with full respect for the separation of powers, the full independence of the judiciary and the right of every individual to a fair trial, including through effective access to a lawyer.”

It said several key pieces of legislation regarding the rule of law and fundamental rights, such as data protection, were not in line with European standards.

It also described the lifting of parliamentary immunity and the subsequent arrest and imprisonment of lawmakers from the Peoples’ Democratic Party as “a matter of grave concern.”

The EU also noted the suspensions and arrests of local elected officials in the southeast under emergency powers introduced after the coup attempt. The conflict in the southeast could only be solved by political means, the report added.

There has been “serious backsliding” over the past year for freedom of expression, the report said.

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