2016 Ignacio Sanchez Amor smallIgnacio Sanchez Amor in Copenhagen, 11 April 2016COPENHAGEN, 4 November 2016 – In response to measures taken by the Turkish authorities following the attempted coup in July, Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain), Chair of the OSCE PA human rights committee, today called on authorities to uphold the rule of law in the country.

“First of all, let me express my sincere condolences to the families of victims of recent terrorist attacks in the country – today’s tragic car bombing in Diyarbakir is a reminder of the ongoing security challenges faced by the country,” said Chairperson Sanchez Amor. “July’s violent attack on democracy in Turkey should be followed by more democracy, not less. Unfortunately, the widening crackdown on elements of the public and civil society is looking less and less like a legitimate response to coup plotters, and more and more like a witch-hunt of critics.”

Last month, the state of emergency, enacted in the days following the 15 July coup attempt, was extended for another three months.

Sanchez Amor also expressed concern about reports that leaders of an opposition party in parliament were recently detained. Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, co-leaders of People’s Democracy Party (HDP), were reportedly detained in their respective homes earlier today.

Sanchez Amor echoed concerns raised earlier this week by the Director of the OSCE/ODIHR about the possible reinstatement of the death penalty in Turkey, and by the OSCE’s Representative on Freedom of the Media about the arrest of editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, Murat Sabuncu, and three of its columnists. Reportedly, since the coup attempt, more than 125 media outlets have been closed and 120 journalists detained.

More than 10,000 public servants and hundreds of judicial workers were also dismissed last week for allegedly having links with terrorist organizations, while some previously dismissed staff were reinstated.

“Those that were involved in the coup must of course be found and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But citizens cannot simply be dismissed from their jobs based on alleged associations. Journalists cannot be arrested for voicing critical opinions. While understanding the extraordinary circumstances faced by the Turkish people, whose democratic institutions were violently attacked and who face ongoing security challenges, the recent actions by the government simply add to the difficulties of the country,” continued Sanchez Amor.

One month after the 15 July coup attempt, Sanchez Amor, who was elected Chair of the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions at the OSCE PA’s Annual Session in early July, joined a high-level delegation of the OSCE PA led by President Christine Muttonen. The delegation expressed solidarity with the Turkish people, and expressed its appreciation for the unity shown by all parties in parliament following the attacks. The delegation met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Speaker of Parliament Ismail Kahraman, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Members of Turkey’s OSCE PA Delegation, and leaders of all political parties represented in parliament.