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COPENHAGEN, 20 July 2018 – Following the end of a two-year state of emergency in Turkey earlier this week, the officers of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s General Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs, Chair Margareta Kiener-Nellen (MP, Switzerland), Vice-Chair Michael Georg Link (MP, Germany), and Rapporteur Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (MP, Cyprus) issued the following statement:

“We welcome the end to the state of emergency in Turkey, which should bring to a close the extraordinary measures put in place by the Turkish government following the terrible attempted coup two years ago. We call upon Turkey’s authorities to finally return to full respect for civil liberties, due process, rule of law and fundamental freedoms for all people in Turkey.”

Immediately following the attempted coup in July 2016, the OSCE PA deployed a high-level delegation which condemned the attack on democratic institutions, expressed solidarity with the Turkish people, and noted its appreciation for the unity shown by all parties in parliament following the attacks.

In welcoming the end to the state of emergency, Kiener-Nellen, Link and Hadjiyianni also called for the immediate release from pre-trial detention of Selahattin Demirtas and other elected parliamentarians still being held in Turkey. They reiterated that parliamentarians must be allowed to fulfil their duties representing the people who elected them.

During the past two years leaders of the OSCE PA’s human rights committee have repeatedly expressed concerns over the application of measures imposed under the state of emergency, including related to the arrests of parliamentarians, the dismissals of thousands of public servants from their jobs and a lack of clear legal procedures to safeguard individual rights. (See for example here, here, here and here).

An OSCE PA delegation also observed the presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey last month, in which the state of emergency was cited as restricting freedoms of assembly and expression, including in the media.