EU "strongly condemns" Turkish repression over Syria

The European Parliament strongly condemned the recent arrests of journalists, activists, doctors and ordinary citizens for expressing their opposition to Turkey’s military intervention in the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin in Syria, in a resolution approved on Thursday.

The strong-worded resolution expressed serious concerns about the humanitarian consequences of the Turkish assault and warned against continuing with what it called “disproportionate and illegal actions and measures”.

The state of emergency declared after the coup attempt of July 2016 is “currently being used to further stifle legitimate and peaceful opposition”, European lawmakers said.

Under emergency rule, more than 160 media outlets have been closed, and Turkey’s civil society faces a massive crackdown, the resolution said.

It also strongly condemned the arrests of pro-Kurdish opposition members of the Turkish parliament, and the arbitrary replacement of 68 Kurdish mayors.

In the resolution, the European Parliament urged Turkish authorities to lift the state of emergency, to immediately and unconditionally release people detained for expressing their opinion and to respect the European Convention on Human Rights.

The resolution named journalists Deniz Yücel, Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay, civil society leader Osman Kavala, LGBTI activist Diren Coşkun, and Amnesty International’s Turkey president Taner Kılıç, and asked Turkey to drop charges against them and release them from prison.

The European Parliament said the charges against them were politicised and arbitrary.

The European Parliament also said European Union funds destined for Turkey should be conditional on improving its record on human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

In November 2016, MEPs called for a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with Turkey.