Main opposition calls on OSCE to examine pressure on Turkish media
ANKARAMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has invited a delegation of the Assembly of Parliamentarians of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to examine heavy government pressure on the Turkish media.
Kılıçdaroğlu met the delegation of senior OSCE parliamentarians on June 8 and reportedly stressed that the Turkish government was putting “huge pressure” on the Turkish media, particularly after the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, referring specifically to arrests of journalists from daily Cumhuriyet and daily Sözcü.
The visiting delegation conducted a series of meetings in Istanbul and Ankara, noting the extraordinary challenges faced by Turkey, including from terrorism, large migration flows, and the aftermath of the July 2016 failed coup, a statement from the OSCE read.
“Delegation members stressed the importance of making appropriate and proportionate use of the extraordinary measures provided by the state of emergency, and noted the intention of the government to this end,” it stated.
“Noting that tens of thousands of public servants have been dismissed from their jobs, with consequences for social cohesion, the delegation also reiterated the need, especially under the state of emergency, for clear legal procedures and appeals processes to safeguard the rights of all people and ensure against innocents being caught in proceedings. At a time of large turnover of staff in the judiciary, delegation members stressed that the effective independence of the judicial branch must be maintained,” added the statement.
The OSCE PA members expressed their hope that the Turkish Parliament would continue to play an important role in public debate on the identified challenges and oversight to ensure adherence to fundamental freedoms, said the OSCE, adding that the delegation members reiterated previously expressed concerns over the arrests of parliamentarians.
The OSCE PA team met with Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, leaders from all opposition parties at parliament, and members of the Turkish OSCE PA Delegation headed by Vedat Bilgin. They also met with human rights and free speech advocates, including from Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, as well as several legal experts.