Jan 17 2018

EU ‘seriously concerned’ over journalists Alpay and Altan ongoing imprisonment

The European Union told Ahval that Turkish lower courts' refusal to release two journalists, despite the Turkish Constitutional Court’s ruling, has raised ‘serious concerns’ about the rule of law and independence of the judiciary in Turkey.

An EU spokesperson called on the Turkish authorities to respect the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. "The EU expects the Turkish authorities to respect the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, including pre-trial detention as well as the principle of presumption of innocence" said the spokesperson.

The short statement sent to Ahval said the local court’s refusal to implement Turkish Constitutional Court’s ruling on Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay’s fundamental rights has further increased EU’s serious concerns regarding the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law in Turkey.

Last week, the Constitutional Court issued a ruling for the release of journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay, saying their long-term detention was disproportionate. The lower court, however, refused to adhere to the Turkish top court’s ruling.

The representatives of the EU said they would closely follow the progress of the case. "The EU will continue to follow developments closely" said the statement.

EU officials speaking to Ahval said the annual progress report on Turkey is set for release in April, and will contain very strong criticism on Turkey.

Some in Brussels, however, say progress reports have lost their effect on Turkey.