EP adopts resolution calling for the immediate release of Demirtaş

Statement of HDP Europe

On the initiative of the Socialists and Democrats, the European Parliament held a plenary session on Jan. 21 titled “Human rights situation in Turkey, notably the case of Selahattin Demirtaş and others.”

The text was approved by 590 votes in favour, 16 against and 75 abstentions.

Following the session, the EU’s law-making body released a resolution saying Turkey must immediately release Demirtaş from prison.

They have also called on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoE) to “urgently review, in its next meeting on March 21, 2021, Turkey’s refusal to execute the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR in the case of Demirtaş v Turkey, to adopt a declaration on the matter, and to take the necessary steps to ensure that the Government of Turkey implements this judgment without any further delay.”

Demirtaş has been held in prison on unsubstantiated terrorism-related charges, despite two binding rulings in favor of his release by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The European Parliament “considers the unlawful extension of Mr Demirtas’ detention for more than 4 years a cruel and politically motivated punishment that is causing irreparable personal and political damage to him, his family and his party,”.

The EU’s law-making body called on Turkey “to refrain from further intimidation measures against him and to guarantee his human rights as enshrined in the Turkish Constitution and in European and international law.”

It called on Turkey to end the misuse of terrorism charges and to limit the use of pre-trial detention to cases where there are compelling and credible grounds to hold people in detention pending trial.

Turkish authorities still refuse to release Demirtaş. A court on Jan. 7 accepted a new indictment against him and 107 other people calling for 38 counts of life sentences.

MEPs also demand that all politically motivated charges against him and fellow members of the opposition HDP party be dropped.

Turkey’s sustained backsliding on the independence of the judiciary and the disregard shown by the Turkish judiciary and authorities for rulings by the European Court of Human Rights are of great concern, the resolution states.

It calls on the Turkish authorities to put an end to its judicial harassment of human rights defenders, academics, journalists, spiritual leaders, lawyers and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities.

MEPs highlight that respecting and applying the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights would go some way to confirming that the desire to turn a new page in EU-Turkey relations, expressed by President Erdoğan and other top government officials on 9 January of this year, is sincere.

Improved EU-Turkey relations are fully dependent on, among other things, tangible improvements in respect for democratic principles, the rule of law and fundamental rights within Turkey, they say.

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