Turkey slams PACE for awarding a former judge linked with Gülenists
Turkey has lashed out at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for awarding the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize to Murat Arslan, a former judge and head of the Judges and Prosecutors Union (YARSAV). Turkey has criticized the decision for the award on the grounds that Arslan is a member of the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ).
“It is wrong and unacceptable to award the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize to a person who is a member of the FETÖ terrorist organization, the perpetrator of the July 15 coup attempt. Making such a mistake under the roof of an organization who defends the principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law has seriously damaged the credibility of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE),” read a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on late Oct. 9.
“While the judicial process is underway, presenting a terror suspect as a human rights defender is a betrayal of the ideals of democracy and human rights. Such an approach serves no purpose other than aiding the circles that support terrorism. We deeply regret PACE has become an instrument to these political initiatives,” it added.
Arslan has been arrested on the grounds of his links with the FETÖ, blamed for the July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. Thousands of judges and prosecutors have been expelled while many of them have been arrested on their links with the organization.