Turks talks rights with Strasbourg

Turks talks rights with Strasbourg

The Council of Europe. Source: Wikimedia

A delegation from the Turkish justice ministry has met representatives of the Council of Europe (CoE) to review European human rights issues as the government moves to prosecute those it holds responsible for the bloody July 15 coup attempt.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is also due to meet ministers from the 47-nation human rights organisation in Strasbourg today (Wednesday), said Thorbjorn Jagland, general secretary of the CoE.

“We have been working with them. We want to see to it that the judicial safeguards are in place,” Jagland told Reuters. “They have in mind that if they don’t put this in place that many of these cases will land in court in Strasbourg.”

Strasbourg hosts the European Court of Human Rights, which rules on violations of civil and political rights. Turkey signed the European Convention on Human Rights in 1954.

The CoE cannot make binding laws, but it has the power to enforce select international agreements ratified by its members, which include Turkey. The court is a division of the council.

The court’s website said it dealt with more than 3,200 applications involving Turkey last year, of which 3,060 were deemed inadmissible. Of the 87 judgements it delivered, 79 found at least one violation of the human rights convention.

“We have thousands of cases already,” Jagland added.

He said the CoE was working with Turkey to address cases where the court had found violations of European rights to freedom of expression due to the application of Turkey’s laws.

The CoE’s discussions with Ankara were separate from Ankara’s visa discussions with the EU, but could help the Turkish government better understand which laws it needed to revise, he said.

Turkey has confiscated the video of an interview with Turkish minister of youth and sports, Akif Cagatay Kilic, filmed for German DW’s talk show “Conflict Zone”. The action has prompted an outcry over press freedom.

The interview between DW host Michel Friedman in Ankara and the minister of youth and sports, Akif Cagatay Kilic, was about the botched July coup and the subsequent sackings and arrests.

They discussed the media situation and the position of women in Turkish society and Kilic was asked to explain Erdogan’s stance on the subjects.

After the interview, Kilic excused himself and his press officer said DW would not be allowed to broadcast the interview.

“Journalists aren’t there to ask the questions that politicians like,” Friedman said. “Even in countries where dictatorships still play a role.

“This is proof that freedom of the press in Turkey is very restricted,” Friedman added. “The incident is very disturbing. If the foreign media is already being treated in this manner, one could well imagine how difficult it is right now for Turkish journalists.”

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