PACE urges Turkey to halt eroding democratic standards

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) urged Turkish authorities “to put an end to laws and practices that contravene democratic standards”, according to the assembly’s report on Thursday’s session.

The European lawmakers also advised Turkey “to revise its legislation and constitutional framework in order to ensure the separation of powers, to restore freedom of speech and media freedom, to restrict the interpretation of its anti-terror legislation, and to implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights”.

PACE said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, a treaty against violence against women, constituted “a step backwards” and was taken “without any parliamentary debate and on account of misleading narratives”.

The Assembly is concerned with the Turkish government’s attempt to lift the parliamentary immunity of dozens of opposition deputies and the lawsuit to shut down the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), it said, urging Ankara to end “judicial harassment” of members of parliament and “refrain from submitting numerous summaries of proceedings seeking the undue lifting of their immunity which gravely impedes the exercise of their political mandate”.

The parliamentarians repeated a call for the immediate release of former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş and philanthropist Osman Kavala “in application of the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights of 2020 and subsequent decisions of the Committee of Ministers, which is supervising their implementation”.

According to a resolution PACE adopted on Thursday, the Turkish government should implement the Human Rights Action Plan and revise the legislation on elections and political parties to take “concrete and meaningful steps”, thus respect the obligations arising from their Council of Europe membership. &nbsp