Council of Europe, Turkish working group discuss free speech, terrorism in Ankara
REUTERS photoA Council of Europe working group and the Turkish Justice Ministry met in the capital Ankara between Sept. 7 and 8 to discuss the issue of freedom of speech and fight against terrorism in the country, the council said in a statement on Sept. 8.
“The working group discussed issues related to Turkey’s implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights [ECHR], and in particular to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on freedom of expression,” the statement read.
“Legal consequences of the recent developments in the country were reviewed, focusing in particular on the implementation of the relevant legislation in compliance with the ECHR,” it added, stressing the need to ensure that decisions of public prosecutors and first instance courts are aligned with the ECHR and the case-law of the Turkish Constitutional Court.
It said experts also held exchanges with the members of the commission in charge of reviewing measures adopted under state of emergency decree laws imposed after last year’s failed coup attempt.
“In particular, it was underlined that, as deprivation of liberty should be a measure of last resort, pre-trial detention should be based on reasonable suspicion as required by the ECHR; it should also be in full accordance with the case-law of the Strasbourg court,” the CoE said.
The significance of maintaining dialogue and cooperation between Ankara and the council was also underlined during the meeting, according to the statement.
The working group, including representatives of the CoE’s Secretary General and officials from the Justice Ministry, was established at the beginning of 2015 as a part of an initiative of council’s head and the Justice Ministry as part of Turkey’s action plan to prevent violations of ECHR rules.
Judges of the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court in Turkey also took part at this occasion, the council stated.