EU expresses fresh concerns over Turkey’s deteriorating rule of law
The European Union has expressed concern over recent developments undermining the rule of law and independence of the judiciary in Turkey, following legal action against executive committee members of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).
“The reversal of the court decision to release Amnesty International Turkey Chair Taner Kılıҫ and the detention of the members of the Executive Committee of the Turkish Medical Association are the latest examples of the worrying developments undermining the rule of law and independence and impartiality of the judiciary in Turkey,” High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in a joint statement on Feb. 2.
An Istanbul court on Feb. 1 overturned its earlier decision to release Kılıç, ordering for him to be kept in jail for the duration of his trial on terror charges. The court on Jan. 31 had ordered the conditional release of Kılıç, who has been in prison since June, but it reversed its decision on Feb. 1 after the prosecutor appealed the ruling,
Mogherini and Hahn also warned about the apparent non-implementation of Constitutional Court rulings in Turkey.
“The non-implementation of judgements, including the recent Constitutional Court ruling and continued detention of two journalists, in addition to the undermining of the rule of law, risks setting an unfortunate precedent as it casts serious doubts about the existence of effective legal remedy,” the statement said.
“The European Union expects the Turkish authorities to ensure that the Constitutional Court decision of 11 January 2018 is implemented and that the journalists are released without delay. Concrete and lasting improvements in the area of rule of law and fundamental freedoms remain essential to the prospects of EU-Turkey relations,” it added.
Eleven members of the TTB were detained after they issued a written statement on the Turkish military’s ongoing cross-border operation into Afrin, which referred to the negative impacts of the war on public health.