More than 40 freedom of speech and media freedom organizations signed a joint statement calling on Turkish authorities to withdraw legislation that they said made the recently abolished State of Emergency permanent.

Brought together by IFEX, a global network of non-governmental organizations working to promote freedom of expression, the signatories from across the world include Article 19, PEN International, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and Initiative for Freedom of Expression of Turkey. The statement was published on IFEX’s website on 24 August.

The text of the statement, along with the list of signatories, is as follows:

 

We the undersigned organizations call on Turkey’s government to follow through on its promise to end the state of emergency by withdrawing recently passed legislation that replicates many of the state of emergency’s special provisions. 

The adoption of rights-restricting laws that closely mirror those in force during the state of emergency makes a mockery of the government’s claim to have ended the state of emergency; if anything, it seems to be making the state of emergency more permanent. 

Many of the new provisions continue to violate universally recognized human rights, including those to freedoms of thought, expression, peaceful demonstration and assembly. 

Amongst the new legislation we believe violate fundamental rights and must be repealed, we would highlight: 

    • The extension of detention without charge to up to 12 days via amendment of Turkey’s Anti-Terrorism law;
    • The granting of the authority to ban individuals from passage between and within provinces to provincial governors, and to forbid public assemblies at their discretion;
    • The renewal of arbitrary authority to dismiss individuals from academic, public and judicial service, and authority to confiscate the passports of those dismissed;
    • The relaxation of judicial review of the cases of individuals in pre-trial detention, from requiring in-person or video presentation of the detainee in court every 30 days, to requiring visual review only every 90 days.

These provisions harm and restrict the rights of individuals who are not genuine security threats to Turkey’s government or citizens, but who are critical of government policies or defending human rights- at a time when reconciliation would help to restore prosperity. 

We must emphasize that the concerns of neither Turkish citizens nor the international community will be addressed by simply changing the laws under which rights violations are rationalized. If Turkey’s government wishes to be recognized as a responsible state that upholds human rights, it must commit to ending the specific practices and policies that violate those rights. 

Signed,

Initiative for Freedom of Expression – Turkey

ActiveWatch – Media Monitoring Agency

Adil Soz – International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech

Albanian Media Institute

ARTICLE 19

Asociación Mundial de Radios Comunitarias América Latina y el Caribe (AMARC ALC)

Association of Caribbean Media Workers

Bytes for All (B4A)

Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI)

Foro de Periodismo Argentino

Freedom Forum

Fundamedios – Andean Foundation for Media Observation and Study

Globe International Center

Independent Journalism Center (IJC)

Index on Censorship

Instituto Prensa y Sociedad de Venezuela

International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

International Press Centre (IPC)

Maharat Foundation

Mediacentar Sarajevo 

Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)

Media Watch

Norwegian PEN

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA)

PEN American Center

PEN Canada

PEN International

Reporters Without Borders (RSF)

South East European Network for Professionalization of Media (SEENPM)

South East Europe Media Organisation 

Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM)

Vigilance for Democracy and the Civic State

Articolo 21 

Association of European Journalists 

European Centre for Press and Media Freedom 

European Federation of Journalists

Fair Trials 

Frontline Defenders 

German PEN 

Italian Press Federation 

Global Editors Network 

Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES)