The European Parliament Turkey Forum warns of further deterioration of Turkey’s constitutional crisis 

 

The all-party body representing Euro MPs concerned with Turkey expressed growing alarm at the defiance of lower courts to implement a Constitutional Court decision to release journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan.

A statement by the 60 member European Parliament Turkey Forum welcomed the higher court’s verdict as a victory for freedom of expression but described the failure of its implementation as an erosion of the rule of law.

Turkey has been under emergency law since a failed military coup in July 2016 and the MEPs expressed alarm at a worsening constitutional crisis.

Here is the full text of the public statement on the refusal to release Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay despite top court decision:

“We highly welcome yesterday’s Turkish constitutional court’s ruling to immediately release the journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan, as their rights had been violated under pre-trial detention for well over a year. This decision constitutes a milestone and a vital step to improve the media freedom and freedom of expression in Turkey.

However, we strongly criticise the local courts refusal to follow the Constitutional Court’s ruling to release the journalists and we call on them to implement the Constitutional Court ruling immediately. If the lower courts do not respect the decision of the Turkish Constitutional court it will result in a further deterioration of Turkey’s constitutional crisis and the erosion of rule of law and the separation of powers.

Last but not least, we call for the release of all unjustly imprisoned journalists and Turkish citizens.”

About the European Parliament Turkey Forum

The EP-Turkey Forum aims to advance a well-informed debate on issues related to EU-Turkey relations from a constructive point of view, while serving as a bridge between Turkey and the EU. The forum acts as platform that brings together European and Turkish officials, political decision-makers, experts, civil society and business actors. In the past seven years, the group has successfully positioned itself at the core of the debate on EU-Turkey relations.

The EP-Turkey Forum is composed of 60 MEPs coming from the major political groups in the European Parliament. MEPs Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP) and Ismail Ertug (S&D) are the co-chairs of the EP-Turkey Forum. MEPs Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA), Javi López (S&D), Kati Piri (S&D), Marietje Schaake (ALDE) and Jordi Solé (Greens/EFA) are the vice-chairs.