Judicial Union of France writes to president over Turkish rights violations

On the eve of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s official visit to France, the Judicial Union of France (Syndicat de la Magistrature) wrote an open letter to French President Emmanuel Macron warning him about human rights violations in Turkey.

The letter, published by the prominent French media organisation l’Humanité, urged Macron to pressure Erdoğan for the return of rule of law in Turkey, and to demand the release of arrested lawyers, judges and journalists.

The letter read:

Under the guise of a state of emergency and the fight against terrorism, tens of thousands of people became victims of an arbitrary repression that continues to worsen, and has reached all categories of the population: lawyers, journalists, teachers, academics, researchers...

At least 150,000 public officials have been dismissed, nearly 50,000 are in prison, more than 170 journalists are in detention, dozens of lawyers are incarcerated... As for our colleagues, approximately 4,500 judges and prosecutors are purged from office and 2,500 have been incarcerated.

This purge of the justice system aims to subordinate the judiciary to the executive power by stifling any desire for its independence.

The letter particularly named Murat Arslan, the president of the dissolved Turkish judiciary organisation YARSAV, who was jailed 15 moths ago.

It demanded the following from Macron:

Require the release of Murat Arslan and his colleagues, ask for the presence of observers in future trials, urge the publication of the report of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

The union said they do not ask France to break relations with the Turkish people, but express its desire to “put an end to the violations of the fundamental rights of Turkish citizens.”

A serene future for Europe requires a full democracy with an impartial and independent justice system, the Judicial Union of France concluded.