March 9, 2018
Dr. Renate Sommer, a member of the European Parliament (MEP), has called on the European Union to put more pressure on Turkey’s autocratic regime under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and stated that “If the EU keeps feeding carrots without ever using the stick, it will lose its credibility and betray its own values. It is high time to act for the EU!”
Sommer, who has been a German Christian Democrat MEP since 1999 and a member of the EPP Group in the European Parliament, wrote an article for the Brussels-based online news outlet Vocal Europe on Friday and said: “The state of the rule of law, democracy and human rights in Turkey is shocking. Since the failed coup, the Turkish government misuses the steadily prolonged state of emergency to silence critics from all fields. Members of the opposition, journalists, human rights activists, academics and others are arrested on ridiculous grounds.”
“Those who counted on the balancing power of the Turkish Justice system were deeply disappointed,” Sommer said and added that “Lower courts ignored the rulings by the Turkish constitutional court to release the journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay. The decision to release human rights activist Taner Kılıc was withdrawn only several hours after the ruling became public. Those examples show that Turkey is not governed by the rule of law but by the rule of despotism.”
Renate Sommer’s article continues as follows:
“Unbelievably many critics lost their jobs. Especially entrepreneurs who were members of the Gülen Movement were expropriated, their companies closed or nationalized, and sold by the state.
Interestingly, and this is not well known outside Turley, this expropriation began even before the coup attempt. Meanwhile one third of all lawyers and judges, one tenth of the police force, 110.000 officials and teachers and 5000 academics were simply laid-off. All of those people are left with nothing. From one minute to the other, they lost their pension rights, have no financial support at all and cannot find a new job. The atmosphere in the Turkish population is poisoned by a network of informants on alleged Gulen members and on critics against the government or the president. There is an overall climate of fear.
As member of the Joint-Parliamentary Committee and Standing EPP Rapporteur on Turkey, I have been criticizing the developments in Turkey for many years. The events after the coup, however, made things much worse.