Opposition deputy says Jagland’s Turkey comments ‘don’t reflect the truth‘

Opposition deputy says Jagland’s Turkey comments ‘don’t reflect the truth‘

Opposition deputy says Jagland’s Turkey comments ‘don’t reflect the truth‘

Thorbjoern Jagland, the head of the Council of Europe, speaks to The Associated Press in an interview at the start of his two-day visit to Athens, on Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013. AP Photo

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland’s recent speech at the Turkish Parliament does not comply with real developments in Turkey, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Faruk Loğoğlu has said in a letter addressed to Jagland.

Loğoğlu wrote that Turkey still had many problems such as freedom of the press, the length of pre-trial detention and the election threshold for political parties, despite Jagland’s claims during his Oct. 2 speech that there had been improvements in these issues.

“Your contention that ‘many of the journalists who were in jail are not in jail - that is absolutely clear - and many of the politicians too, and Turkey is not detaining more journalists and politicians because there is no longer the legal basis for it,’ is unfortunately without foundation and not consistent with the actual facts,” he wrote.

“Journalists or politicians who have been in prison for years are still in prison with the exception of one member of Parliament, Dr. Mehmet Haberal, who was released after spending several years in detention. The legal basis for such detentions remains unchanged and has actually been widened by redefining the concept of the ‘removal of the state by force,’” the CHP deputy chair added.

Loğoğlu also challenged that Jagland’s assertion that, “the length of pre-trial detention in Turkey is at a European level,” writing that in Turkey “pre-trial detention can still extend for up to 10 years.”

He also claimed that Jagland’s statement that the ruling the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) had offered to lower the election threshold from 10 percent to 5 percent in its reform package did not reflect the truth.

“Actually, the government has made no such specific proposal, but rather only suggested changing the electoral law with three different alternatives, taking no clear stance on the threshold issue,” he added.

Loğoğlu urged Jagland to “review the reliability of your sources of information regarding Turkish affairs,” adding that the CHP would continue to supply him with “the appropriate information about Turkey.”