OSCE parliamentarians in Turkey note security challenges, call for continued attention to democratic institutions

080617 OSCE PA Del w Speaker GNAT TKOSCE PA delegation with Ismail Kahraman, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, 7 June 2017ANKARA, 8 June 2017 – A senior delegation of parliamentarians from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly today concluded a series of meetings in Istanbul and Ankara, and noted the extraordinary challenges faced by Turkey, including from terrorism, large migration flows, and the aftermath of the July 2016 failed coup.

The OSCE PA team met with Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey Ismail Kahraman, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdag, leaders from all opposition parties represented in parliament, and Members of the Turkish OSCE PA Delegation headed by Vedat Bilgin. They also met with human rights and free speech advocates including from Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, as well as several legal experts.

The delegation was headed by OSCE PA Vice-President George Tsereteli (MP, Georgia) and included Vice-President Azay Guliyev (MP, Azerbaijan), and the Chair and Vice-Chair of the PA’s human rights committee, Ignacio Sanchez Amor (MP, Spain) Ivana Dobesova (MP, Czech Republic), OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella and Mary Albon, Senior Adviser to the OSCE Secretary General.

The delegation reiterated the strong solidarity of the Parliamentary Assembly with the Turkish people in their fight for the preservation of democratic institutions following the July 2016 failed coup.

“Facing the multiple challenges of hosting millions of refugees, being on the frontline of the fight against terrorism, and still addressing the consequences of a failed coup all place a very heavy burden on the people and the institutions of Turkey. We stand with them in dealing with all of these issues, and will continue to offer any support we can,” said Tsereteli.

Government representatives described the challenges posed by facing three major challenges simultaneously. Turkey has been targeted by terrorist organizations, they noted, with a high loss of life. Representatives noted that Turkey has spent more than 25 billion US dollars in providing for refugees it is hosting, with only limited international support. The delegation was also told about continued efforts to hold those responsible for the failed coup accountable, noting that a special commission to review dismissals was in the final stages of being set up. Authorities assured the delegation that updated data on steps taken to counter the coup would be made available.

080617 Del TK FM 2OSCE PA delegation with Mevlut Cavusoglu, Foreign Minister of Turkey, 7 June 2017“As the Turkish people seek to defend democracy, full transparency is the best tool to rebuild trust and ensure rule of law. We encourage the government to bring as much clarity and openness as possible to the processes being pursued to fight the threats facing the country, and encourage continued active work and oversight by the media and civil society,” continued Tsereteli.

Delegation members stressed the importance of making appropriate and proportionate use of the extraordinary measures provided by the state of emergency, and noted the intention of the government to this end. Noting that tens of thousands of public servants have been dismissed from their jobs, with consequences for social cohesion, the delegation also reiterated the need, especially under the state of emergency, for clear legal procedures and appeals processes to safeguard the rights of all people and ensure against innocents being caught in proceedings. At a time of large turnover of staff in the judiciary, delegation members stressed that the effective independence of the judicial branch must be maintained.

The OSCE PA members expressed their hope that the Turkish parliament would continue to play an important role in public debate on the identified challenges and oversight to ensure adherence to fundamental freedoms. In that regard, delegation members reiterated previously expressed concerns over the arrests of parliamentarians. (See here and here.)

The delegation encouraged the authorities to make full use of the various tools provided by the OSCE in relation to the threats facing the country. They also noted that the OSCE PA and other bodies can be effective fora to help communicate to the international community the steps being taken. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly will meet for its Annual Session in Minsk, Belarus, from July 5 to 9.

Last month a delegation of the OSCE PA migration committee visited Ankara as well as the Nizip and Kahramanmaras refugee camps near the Syrian border, and commended the country for its efforts in hosting more than three million refugees.

In the weeks after the 2016 failed coup, OSCE PA President Christine Muttonen (MP, Austria) led a delegation to Turkey, expressing solidarity with the Turkish people. Assembly Members have continued to closely follow developments in the country in recent months.

Photos of this week’s Turkey visit are available on Flickr.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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