Tag Archives: European Union

Turkey/EU/European Parliament: EP member Sommer: High time for EU to act over shocking developments in Turkey

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 The decision to release human rights activist Taner Kılıc was withdrawn only several hours after the ruling became public.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. 







Turkey/EU: Former top judiciary official arrested

February 8, 2018

Turkey: Former top judiciary official arrested

The former secretary general of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) was arrested Thursday in western Turkey over alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO).

According to information obtained by Anadolu Agency, Mehmet Kaya, who was a fugitive, was arrested in Canakkale, a northwestern province of Turkey where he was hiding, as part of an investigation into FETO.

The arrest came during a police operation targeting 10 separate locations in Canakkale following a decision from the provincial chief prosecutor’s office.

During the same operation, dubbed “absence houses”, a name given to hideouts of secret FETO members, 20 others were also detained.

Separately, 11 employees of Ankara-based Gazi University, including those who had been dismissed, were held over suspected links to FETO following arrest

warrants issued for 17 university personnel early Thursday.







Report| Extradition to Turkey: One-way Ticket to Torture and Unfair Trial


Poland/EU: Joint statement of the current situation in Poland on behalf of UCPI, IAPL, IDHAE and Dutch League for Human Rights

December 22, 2017


L’Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane, con l’Institut des Droits de l’Homme des Avocats Européens, l’International Association of People’s Lawyers e la Liga vor de Rechten van
de Mens esprime la propria preoccupazione per l’attacco allo Stato di diritto in atto in Polonia.

In tal senso accoglie con favore l’avvio da parte della Commissione europea della complessa procedura di cui all’art. 7 del Trattato sull’Unione europea.

Quello della Commissione è solo il primo passo di un lungo iter che dovrà coinvolgere tutte le istituzioni dell’Unione; si tratta, però, di una presa di posizioni senza precedenti che testimonia la forte attenzione verso il rispetto dei valori dello Stato di diritto.

The Union of Italian Criminal Chambers, with the Institut des Droits de l’Homme des Avocats Européens, the International Association of People’s Lawyers and the Dutch League for Human Rights express their concern over the attack on the rule of law in Poland.

In this sense, it welcomes the launch by the European Commission of the complex procedure referred to as article  7 of the Treaty of the European Union.

This action by the Commission is only the first step in a long process that must involve all the institutions of the Union; however, it is a question of taking unprecedented positions that bears witness to the strong focus on respect for the values ​​of the rule of law.

L’Unione delle Camere Penali Italiane, conjointement avec l’Institut des droits de l’homme des avocats européens, l’Association internationale des avocats du peuple et la Ligue néerlandaise pour les droits de l’homme exprime leur profonde préoccupation  face à l’atteinte à l’état de droit en Pologne.
En ce sens, il se félicite du lancement par la Commission européenne de la procédure complexe visée à l’art. 7 du Traité sur l’Union européenne.
L’action de la Commission n’est que la première étape d’un long processus qui doit impliquer toutes les institutions de l’Union; Cependant, il s’agit d’adopter des mesures sans précédent qui témoignent du fort accent mis sur le respect des valeurs de la primauté du droit.

http://www.camerepenali.it/public/file/Comunicati/C-216—Comunicato-congiunto_situazione-Polonia.pdf (ITALIANO/ENGLISH/FRANCAIS)









http://www.camerepenali.it/cat/8956/polonia_ed_unione_europea_cos%C3%AC_vicine,_cos%C3%AC_lontane.html (ITALIANO)

http://www.huffingtonpost.it/2017/12/20/strappo-storico-fra-ue-e-polonia-attivato-per-la-prima-volta-larticolo-7-dei-trattati_a_23312966/ (ITALIANO)

https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_etat-de-droit-en-pologne-la-presidente-de-la-cour-supreme-denonce-un-coup-de-force-des-conservateurs?id=9796473 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lefigaro.fr/vox/monde/2017/12/21/31002-20171221ARTFIG00266-l-injustice-faite-a-la-pologne-un-deni-de-democratie.php (FRANCAIS)

http://www.lemonde.fr/europe/article/2017/12/21/en-pologne-la-justice-s-exerce-sous-controle-politique_5232859_3214.html (FRANCAIS)

https://www.swissinfo.ch/fre/le-parti-au-pouvoir-en-pologne-accus%C3%A9-de-mener–un-coup-de-force-/43776778 (FRANCAIS)

https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_etat-de-droit-en-pologne-la-presidente-de-la-cour-supreme-denonce-un-coup-de-force-des-conservateurs?id=9796473 (FRANCAIS)

http://www.radiomaryja.pl/informacje/malgorzata-gersdorf-odpowiada-podpisanie-ustaw-ws-reformy-sadownictwa-prezydenta-rp/ (POLSKI)

http://wiadomosci.onet.pl/kraj/malgorzata-gersdorf-dla-burzycieli-panstwa-prawnego-nie-ma-zadnego-usprawiedliwienia/5pb3fc3 (POLSKI)

https://www.elespanol.com/mundo/europa/20171222/polonia-oveja-negra-union-europea/271223686_0.html (ESPANOL)

http://www.mediafax.ro/externe/presedintele-curtii-supreme-din-polonia-acuza-guvernul-de-la-varsovia-ca-pune-la-cale-o-lovitura-de-stat-16896261 (ROMANESC)

https://www.realitatea.net/haos-in-polonia-efa-cur-ii-supreme-denun-a-o-lovitura-de-for-a_2129081.html (ROMANESC)

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Turkey/EU: PACE Report: Situation Of Lawyers In Turkey Causes Grave Concerns

December 14, 2017

“The situation of lawyers in Turkey following the failed coup d’état of July 2016 and that of lawyers representing Kurdish clients, or otherwise associated with the Kurdish cause, have both given rise to grave concerns,” said Sabien Lahaye-Battheu, a reporter appointed by Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe (PACE) for “The case for drafting a European Convention on the profession of lawyer.

Laheye-Battheu, who is a member of Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) at European Parliament from Belgium, has also stated in her report’s provisional version that “the decree laws introduced under Turkey’s state of emergency reduced the rights of the defence” in the country.

The report’s parts related to the situation of defence and lawyers in Turkey as follow:

“According to the CCBE, by September 13, 2017, 1343 lawyers were subject to criminal prosecution and 524 had been arrested since the coup. These included 18 lawyers who had been representing the university lecturer and teacher dismissed under the emergency decree-laws.

“Further mass arrests of lawyers accused of links with the Gülen movement include those of 19 lawyers in Kahramanmaraş province, 11 lawyers in Denizli province, arrest warrants for 62 members of the İstanbul Bar Association, 22 lawyers in İzmir (including Taner Kılıç, chair of Amnesty International Turkey), 4 lawyers and members of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Mardin province; 22 lawyers in Antalya and 50 lawyers in İstanbul.

“On May 9, 2017, Mustafa Özben, a lawyer and academic at a university shut down by the Turkish government on account of alleged links to the Gülen movement, was abducted in Ankara, following which his wife filed a complaint with the Turkish Constitutional Court alleging that he was kidnapped by the Turkish intelligence services.

“In July 2017, 3 lawyers were imprisoned for up to 12 years on charges relating to links to the Gülen movement.

“The CCBE has referred to a statement by the Adana Bar Association expressing its members ‘fear’ and ‘concern’ about possible reprisals against lawyers…, the decision made by some not to provide legal assistance to people detained in relation to the failed coup, and the negative treatment they faced from the police and prosecutors if they represented the detainees.



Venezuela/EU/Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought: Call for EU sanctions ahead of human rights award

December 12, 2017

2017 Sakharov Prize laureate Democratic opposition in Venezuela

The EU’s top human rights award will be officially presented to Venezuela’s opposition and political prisoners on Wednesday.

The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought comes after deadly anti-government demos in the country earlier this year.

Last month, Caracas Mayor Antonio Ledezma, an opponent of President Nicolas Maduro, escaped house arrest and made it to Spain.

Speaking to Euronews, he says the EU needs to hit Venezuela with sanctions.

“Canada and the US have made sanctions against individuals, and not against the whole country. They’re meant to hit people in connection with drug trafficking, corruption and human rights violations. The EU too should follow this path,” Ledezma stressed.

“But there has been a step forward with the EU’s embargo on arms being used by the government of Nicolas Maduro to commit crimes against human rights.”

Venezuela is in crisis, with deep splits between supporters of Maduro’s socialist government and the opposition. The government rejects global criticism.

The Sakaharov prize – named after a Soviet scientist and dissident – is awarded annually. Last year, it was went to two Yazidi women who escaped the so-called Islamic State in Iraq.

Wednesday’s ceremony will be held in Strasbourg.











http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sakharovprize/fr/home/the-prize.html (FRANCAIS)

https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Ledezma (FRANCAIS)

https://www.cncd.be/Le-vampire-de-Caracas-recompense (FRANCAIS)

https://www.courrierinternational.com/article/entretien-antonio-ledezma-opposant-venezuelien-nous-sommes-un-peuple-sequestre (FRANCAIS)

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sakharovprize/es/home/the-prize.html (ESPANOL)

https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foro_Penal_Venezolano (ESPANOL)

Democratically elected mayor of Caracas, leader of the Venezuelan opposition, and political prisoner from 2015 until his escape last month – Antonio Ledezma works ceaselessly to fight for the freedom of his people.

Just yesterday, Ledezma and Julio Borges received the Sakharov Prize awarded by the European Parliament to the Democratic Opposition in Venezuela.

We are honoured to have Antonio Ledezma speaking at the upcoming Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy 2018. #GS18

(Geneva Summit Facebook)

China/EU: EU ‘Deeply Troubled’ by China’s Human Rights Record

December 10, 2017

The  delegation to China issued a statement on Friday ahead of International Human Rights Day expressing deep concerns regarding the outlook for human rights in the country. From AFP:

The  noted “significant improvements in the Chinese people’s standard of living and in access to social services such as health and education,” according to a statement on its website.

“However … during the past year, we have been deeply troubled by the deterioration of the situation with respect to freedom of information and freedom of expression and association, including with respect to online activity,” it said.

[…] The EU delegation also said it regrets the death in detention in July of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, and called for the release of imprisoned human rights defenders, including lawyer Jiang Tianyong and Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti.

[…] The delegation’s statement was not formally endorsed by all 28 EU member states, and there was no immediate response from Beijing. [Source]

The Chinese government has intensified its crackdown on civil society under President Xi Jinping. Hundreds of human rights lawyers and activists were targeted in 2015 in one of the most extensive assaults on rights advocates that the country has seen in recent years. In Hong Kong, the forced disappearance of five staff members of Causeway Bay Books in late 2015 shocked the city and raised fears of eroding  in the former British colony. Repression in Xinjiang and Tibet continues as Chinese authorities ramp up efforts to curtail political activity and suppress all expressions of ethnic and religious identity.




Turkey/EU: Turkey to cut European rights funding to protest award for jailed judge

November 21, 2017

Image result for judge Murat Arslan

Turkey said on Thursday it would cut back its funding to the Council of Europe human rights body, in protest at an award given to a Turkish judge held in detention for alleged links to last year’s coup attempt.

The council last month awarded Murat Arslan with the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize. Ankara says Arslan, who is awaiting trial, has links to the network of the U.S.-based cleric accused of orchestrating the abortive 2016 putsch.

The award was “the last straw” for the Turkish government, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during ministerial budget discussions in Ankara.

“I cannot give my people’s money to an institution who awards a ByLock user. This is the government’s decision, if there is a price to pay we will do so,” he said.






https://lepetitjournal.com/istanbul/droit-une-grande-ecole-francaise-rend-hommage-aux-magistrats-turcs-160332 (FRANCAIS)