The report prepared by our association, International Journalists Association e.V. (IJA), together with London Advocacy, made an impact at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg, France.
PACE adopted a draft resolution condemning Turkey’s use of certain cross-border repressive tools, particularly in the aftermath of the July 2016 attempted coup d’état, and its persistent surveillance and crackdown on dissidents, including exiled journalists.
The draft resolution, entitled “Transnational repression as a growing threat to the rule of law and human rights”, passed the Parliament by 39 votes to 8.
AKP MPs wanted to exclude journalists and other opposition figures who have fled Turkey due to threats to their lives, property and freedom of expression from the draft resolution. However, these requests were rejected by other parliamentarians.
In his speech, Christopher Chope, the MP who drafted the resolution, showed the IJA report in his hand and attacked the AKP MPs. Chope said,
“If you look at the contents of this report, it is very disturbing indeed. We don’t have a situation where members of the Turkish delegation in this parliament are saying, “My God, there must be a problem here, we need to start holding our own government to account.”
On the contrary, they seem to be in denial and blaming everybody but themselves. So I hope that today this House will unanimously support this report, the recommendations and the resolution, so that we send a strong message to the newly elected Turkish government. They may indeed be newly elected, but that does not mean that they can behave in an autocratic way towards their own citizens, whether they are at home or abroad.”
After AKP MP Zeynep Yıldız took the word in the plenary session with accusations of “Fetö” and said that it was clear from the election results that the people supported the government, MP Jeremy Corbyn said, “I would like to gently point out that winning an election does not mean that human rights disappear, it means that these rights continue whether someone wins the election or not. It’s about the right of people to express themselves, it’s about the right of journalists to report on what’s going on.”