Venice Commission on duty for press freedom under emergency rule in Turkey

Venice Commission on duty for press freedom under emergency rule in Turkey

ANKARA
Venice Commission on duty for press freedom under emergency rule in Turkey

Venice Commission, which is the constitutional consultative body of the Council of Europe, is visiting Turkey to investigate the current embattled state of media freedom under the ongoing state of emergency.

Venice Commission Deputy Chairman Herdis Kjerulf Thorgeirsdottir and the accompanying delegation visited the Turkish Parliament on Feb. 6 and was due to separately meet with representatives of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) late on Feb. 6.

The delegation was due to meet with HDP Group Chair İdris Baluken and Mardin deputy Mithat Sancar, CHP Group Deputy Chair Özgür Özel, and AKP Group Chair Mustafa Elitaş.

In its December report, the Venice Commission assessed the decree laws issued within the scope of the state of emergency announced after Turkey’s July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The commission assessed that “the measures taken by the government within the state of emergency exceed boundaries of the Turkish constitution and international law.”

The Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) also decided to request the Venice Commission’s opinion on the draft law regarding amendments to the constitution, due to be voted on in a referendum in early April. The Venice Commission is expected to focus on the extent to which the principle of separation of powers is preserved and whether the new system will introduce effective checks and balances, though its report is not expected to be ready before mid-March.