EU Statement on the Detention of Academics and Civil Society Representatives in Turkey

EU Statement on the Detention of Academics and Civil Society Representatives in Turkey

Fri, 23.11.2018 - 16:53

OSCE Permanent Council N° 1203
Vienna, 22 November 2018 

EU Statement on the Detention of Academics and Civil Society Representatives in Turkey 

The detention of 13 prominent academics and civil society representatives in Turkey on 16 November 2018 is alarming.   A statement by Istanbul Police said that the criminal investigation against the 13 individuals focused on Mr Osman Kavala, Chairman of Anadolu Kültür, a trusted EU interlocutor who has been held in pre-trial detention and in solitary confinement for over a year, but has yet to be informed of the precise charges against him by the prosecuting authorities.  The release of 12 of the 13 individuals on bail is a welcome development. However, we remain concerned regarding the ongoing detention of civil society representative Yiğit Aksakoğlu as well as the prolonged detention of Mr Kavala and many others. We also take note that the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights has decided to submit written observations as a third party in the pending case of Mehmet Osman Kavala v. Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights. Apart from these specific cases, we call upon Turkey to release immediately all those detained without due process. 
 
We share the concerns of the Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jagland, regarding the detentions last week. The authorities need to ensure a very rapid resolution of these cases on the basis of the principle of presumption of innocence and the application of pre-trial detention strictly in line with the European Convention on Human Rights. Repeated detentions of critical voices and the continued widespread pressure on civil society representatives are in violation of Turkey’s commitments to human rights and fundamental freedoms and announced reforms in the field of rule of law and judiciary.   
 
We urge the Turkish authorities to ensure every person’s right to a fair trial, and to uphold the principle of the presumption of innocence, as agreed in the Copenhagen Document of 1990.  A clarification from the Delegation of Turkey on the status of these investigations, including the charges against those detained, would be welcome.    
 
According to the Istanbul Security Directorate, and subsequently reported by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, the individuals detained for questioning were: Asena Günal, Ayşegül Güzel, Bora Sarı, Filiz Telek, Hakan Altınay, Hande Özhabeş, Meltem Aslan, Yiğit Ali Emekçi, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, Yusuf Cıvır, Turgut Tarhanlı, Betül Tanbay, and Çiğdem Mater.    
 
 

 

The Candidate Countries the FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, SERBIA* and ALBANIA*, the Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and Potential Candidate BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, and the EFTA countries ICELAND and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as ARMENIA and ANDORRA align themselves with this statement. 
 
* The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.