On January 26, Dutch parliamentarian Van Dijk asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the number of political prisoners in Turkey, the maltreatment they are subjected to, the health problems of Aysel Tuğluk, Osman Kavala who is not released despite the ECtHR rulings, and whether Turkey acted in line with international conventions. In his response, Minister of Foreign Affairs W.B. Hoekstra said that the Dutch government is aware that sick prisoners in Turkey had limited access to health care and personal hygiene and that the Dutch government was committed to improving detention conditions in Turkey through a project of the Council of Europe focused on strengthening external control of penal institutions.
Van Dijk’s first question concerned the number of political prisoners in Turkey and what the Dutch government’s policy is regarding them. The Dutch Foreign Affairs replied that it did not have reliable figures, stating, “The Dutch government remains deeply concerned about the rule of law and the state of human rights in Turkey. Human rights, including freedom of expression and the right to a fair trial, are the cornerstones of Dutch foreign policy. The Dutch government promotes these concepts internationally, in multilateral and bilateral talks, as well as in official discussions with Turkish authorities.”
PRISONERS HAVE LIMITED ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE AND HYGIENE
Responding to the question of whether the Dutch government objected to the Turkish authorities about the prolonged detention of Osman Kavala, Minister Hoekstra said that the Dutch government agreed with the Council of Europe in line with the ECtHR rulings. Hoekstra expressed their endorsement of EU High Representative Joseph Borrell’s statement that the EU is concerned about the Turkish non-compliance with the ECtHR rulings. “Dutch officials monitor the hearings of the case against Mr. Kavala, and the Dutch government regularly expresses these concerns in bilateral and multilateral encounters,” the Minister of Foreign Affairs said.
Answering the question about the number of sick prisoners in Turkey, Minister Hoekstra said that “neutral, non-biased figures are not available”. He added that the Dutch government is aware that sick prisoners “have limited access to health services and personal hygiene”.
IMPROVING CONDITIONS OF DETENTION IN TURKEY
Parliamentarian Van Dijk also raised concern about the situation of former deputy Aysel Tuğluk. “Do you know that former deputy Aysel Tuğluk has not been released since December 2016, despite her severe illness?” Van Dijk asked. He also reiterated the HDP European Representation’s call for urgent action regarding Aysel Tuğluk and sick prisoners.
“The government is aware of the situation of Ms. Tuğluk and her case is being followed by the embassy in Ankara. According to the latest information received by the Dutch government, Tuğluk requested an additional health check by an impartial committee. The Dutch government regularly raises concerns about the human rights situation in Turkey and will continue to do so in a European and international context. As stated in answer 4, the government is aware that prisoners’ access to health care is limited in Turkey. The Dutch government endorses the objectives of the EU Action Plan of 2020 for Human Rights and Democracy, which explicitly advocates improving the conditions of detainees in third countries. In this regard, the Dutch government is committed to improving detention conditions in Turkey through a project of the Council of Europe focused on strengthening external control of penal institutions.”
Source: ANF English