Mar 22 2018

EU, don’t ignore Turkish judicial abuses – International judges

“Everyone in Europe is aware that 150 journalists are detained in Turkey and that the majority of them have no idea what the indictments are,” read the opening lines of a statement released by the International Association of Judges on Thursday, in advance of the high-level EU-Turkey summit in Varna scheduled for Mar. 26.

“All judgments issued to date fundamentally contradict the rights and principles which form the (common) basis of European law,” continued the statement, prepared by four major European judges’ associations working in tandem as the Platform for an Independent Judiciary in Turkey.

Turkey’s judiciary has been similarly stricken by arrests, with over 3,000 judges and prosecutors – over a quarter – held in pre-trial detention, said the platform’s statement.

“This shocking reality signifies that a large number of innocent persons are illegally prosecuted and this situation must not be ignored as individuals and the country as a whole will suffer from the adverse effects,” it read.

The additional judges and prosecutors dismissed from their positions, accounting for over one third of the judiciary, are a “huge and damaging loss,” said the statement, adding that a qualified and independent judiciary was a prerequisite for democracy and the rule of law.

This, the platform said, has been sorely lacking in Turkey particularly since the failed coup attempt in July 2016. The government implemented a state of emergency shortly afterwards, and the “abuses” that the platform say this elicited have “left the country deprived of an independent judiciary and consequently no governing by rule of law.”

“This fact not only has consequences for the thousands of illegally detained persons (not only judges), but also will affect all areas/facets of daily life in Turkey and also relations between Turkey and other countries,” said the platform, demanding that EU states do not “close their eyes” to the actions of their neighbours in Turkey, which is still a candidate for EU accession.

Click here to read the statement in full.