Council of Europe head to discuss police media raids with Turkish authorities
Sevil Erkuş - firstname.lastname@example.org ANKARA
Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland. AFP PhotoThe head of Europe’s top human rights watchdog is set to visit Turkey to discuss the recent detentions of senior journalists thought to be linked to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland will visit to Turkey on Jan. 6-7, according to his spokesperson Can Fişek.
The struggle against corruption, freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and gender equality are topics that Jagland intends to discuss with the Turkish authorities, a Council of Europe media officer told journalists on Dec. 15.
He will meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, and Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, as well as opposition party representatives, the head of the Constitutional Court and civil society leaders.
Jagland’s visit was scheduled before Turkish police launched the Dec. 14 operation to detain 31 people, including senior media figures and former police officials, but the secretary general will discuss “recent incidents with Turkish authorities.”
The Council of Europe is following the recent police operation with “concern,” the media officer also added.
OSCE sends letter to Çavuşoğlu
Meanwhile, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Dunja Mijatović, has sent a letter to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu calling for the immediate release of the detained journalists.
“Yesterday’s [Dec. 14] arrests point to a resurgence in threats against journalists. They should be released immediately. The arrests once again show that a thorough revision of the laws allowing for the imprisonment of journalists in Turkey is urgent. Laws should not be used to curb dissenting views in a society,” Mijatović wrote.
The representative has repeatedly called for the reform of a series of laws governing media freedom in Turkey, including the provisions of the Criminal Code and the Anti-Terror legislation most often used to imprison journalists. Mijatović also noted that in recent years there had been a “substantial decrease” in the number of imprisoned journalists in Turkey.