European MPs urge rule of law for journalists Alpay and Altan

More than 60 members of the European Parliament released a statement welcoming the Turkish Constitutional Court’s decision on Thursday for the release of Turkish journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, and urged the local courts to abide by the rule of law.

Rebecca Harms, a German member of the European Parliament and the president of the Greens–European Free Alliance group, published the statement of the European Parliament Turkey Forum, composed of MEPs from the major political groups in the European Parliament, on her website:

We highly welcome yesterday’s Turkish constitutional court’s ruling to immediately release the journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, as their rights had been violated under pre-trial detention for well over a year. This decision constitutes a milestone and a vital step to improve the media freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey.

However, we strongly criticise the local courts’ refusal to follow the Constitutional Court’s ruling to release the journalists and we call on them to implement the Constitutional Court ruling immediately. If the lower courts do not respect the decision of the Turkish Constitutional court, it will result in a further deterioration of Turkey's constitutional crisis and the erosion of rule of law and the separation of powers.

Last but not least, we call for the release of all unjustly imprisoned journalists and Turkish citizens.