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Crowe raises concerns about the situation in Turkey at PACE plenary

25 April, 2017 - by Seán Crowe TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has raised his concerns about the political situation in Turkey at a plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). Crowe is Sinn Féin’s member of PACE.

Speaking from Strasbourg where the PACE meeting is taking place, Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“I am extremely concerned about the situation in Turkey and the attack on democratic institutions.

“The referendum on granting President Erdogan sweeping new powers for the next twelve years has been widely denounced as unfree and unfair.  Opposition parties are currently challenging the result in court.

“According to a report from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), at least 2,462 ‘No’ campaigners were detained and 453 sent to jail during the 85-day referendum campaign.

“The HDP is the third largest party in the Turkish Parliament and have been targeted by the Turkish Government due to their electoral success. 11 HDP MPs and two HDP Co-Chairs remain in prison.

“I previously met with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) who outlined to me the extreme conditions that independent journalists are being forced to work under with the closure of 130 media outlets and the arrests of hundreds of their colleagues.

“The anti-democratic policies of the Turkish government are completely unjust, unacceptable, and pushing the country further along the path to a dictatorship.

“I urged the PACE plenary meeting to call on the Turkish Government to immediately release the 11 MPs and Co-Chairs, to desist from its repressive policies and drop the charges against these democratically elected representatives.

“In March 2017, the UN Human Rights Office released a hard hitting report into the serious human rights and international law violations by the Turkish security forces, in the majority Kurdish south-east of the country. Over half a million people have been displaced, 100,000 have dismissed from their jobs, and thousands have been jailed and tortured.  Over 200 politically motivated prisoners in 29 prisons were recently on hunger strike.

“The UN report is  highly critical of the use of so-called ‘counter-terrorism legislation’ that is being used to remove democratically elected officials of Kurdish origin, severely harass any independent journalists, close independent and Kurdish language media and citizen’s associations, and the mass suspension or dismissal of judges and prosecutors.

“This is not a country that anyone could credibly describe as a ‘country of safe origin’ in order to send refugees back  but sadly that is what the European Union is currently doing.” 

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