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EU urges Turkey to protect fundamental freedoms

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EU urges Turkey to protect fundamental freedoms

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  • EU foreign policy chief says instutions must be protected
  • Turkey hints state of emergency could be extended

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says Turkey should not be using democratic institutions to undercut human rights.

In the wake of a failed coup in the country, Federica Mogherini said: “We are making it very clear to our Turkish friends – we are fully behind the institutions, the democratic institutions, the legitimate institutions.”

“But there is no excuse, there is no way in which the reaction can undermine fundamental freedoms and rights.”

“What we are seeing, especially in the fields of universities, media, the judiciary, is unacceptable.”

The state of emergency

Tens of thousands of people have been suspended, detained or placed under investigation since an attempted coup last week.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that the country’s state of emergency could be extended, if thought necessary.

“As you know, France declared an initial state of emergency for three months, then prolonged it for another three months. Then they extended it for another three months. So there is no obstacle in terms of prolonging it. Initially it is three months, but after that we can ask for a second three month period and then extend it.”

The state of emergency gives the authorities extended powers of law-making, search and control.

Turkey is also suspending its commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights.

Rights groups and international observers are urging the Turkish authorities to ensure that fundamental rights and freedoms are protected.

What they are saying

“These latest developments do put a strong onus on the institutions of the European Union and on the member states to hold Turkey to account against its international obligations, to respect and protect human rights law and to protect the rule of law,” – Roisin Pillay from the International Commission of Jurists.

“I think it could make things worse in a country where we have no freedoms. We will probably have fewer freedoms and (more) dominance. It could curb the state of awareness, which is bad, but at least people would fight more for their freedoms,” – Istanbul resident Hassan Tayyar fears the situation will only get worse.

“I think it is necessary to prevent bad things before they happen and for our government to be able to make the right decisions,” – Istanbul resident Zeki Yalcin explains why he thinks the extra measures are necessary.

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