May 17 2018

Diplomats say Turkey violates Vienna Convention at trial

Diplomats from several different European countries were denied access to a public hearing in Turkey against the former co-chair of a pro-Kurdish political party, leading to accusations that Turkey was breaking the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

Representatives of Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany and the European Union turned up to the hearing for former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, who faces terror charges, but were not allowed inside the court in Sincan, near Ankara.

“Diplomats from Sweden, Germany, The Netherlands and the EU Delegation have been trying in vain to be admitted to the public hearing against former HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ in Sincan,” a statement by the Netherlands said.

“In clear breach of Turkish law and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, foreign diplomats are once again denied access to a public hearing. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice have been made aware of the situation, but refused to act on the matter. This situation is unacceptable and bodes ill for the current state of the rule of law in this country,” it said.

The German embassy also sent a tweet condemning what it called breaking of Turkish law and the Vienna Agreement. The Turkish Foreign Ministry and Justice Ministry had been informed, it said, but it had refused to find a solution.

Yüksekdağ has now been in prison for more than 18 months awaiting a sentence. The judge ruled to keep her in detention until her next trial date in July.