Stanishev in Turkey, denounces crackdown on opposition, media and judiciary
A PES delegation led by President Sergei Stanishev is in Turkey meeting the leaders of PES associate member parties CHP, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and HDP, Selahattin Demirtaş and various democratic organisations. The delegation visited both Diyarbakir and Ankara to learn first-hand about the situation on human rights, democracy and rule of law as a consequences of recent policies conducted by the government.
Sergei Stanishev said: "We have the impression that the Turkish leadership is labelling an increasing number of people as 'criminals' simply because they express dissent to the government policies or, furthermore, because they are believed to dissent. This is the worst kind of political repression and it is unacceptable according to our European fundamental values. We understand the complexity of the context and as European Progressives we have always rejected violence and terrorism in the strongest possible terms. But the arrest of the co-mayors of Diyarbakir does not really seem based on criminal evidence; instead, it appears to be highly politically motivated."
The PES president and the delegation were in Diyarbakir having series of meetings with the Democratic Regions Party, the Free Women's Congress (KJA), the Democratic Societies Congress and the Metropolitan Municipality of Diyarbakir.
Today in Ankara Stanishev had official meetings with the CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and with the HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş. At the meetings with both opposition leaders, Stanishev discussed the political situation in Turkey and President Erdogan's actions against the freedom of media in Turkey.
Stanishev commented on the recent police operation conducted against journalists of daily Cumhurriyet: "We clearly and immediately condemned the coup attempt this summer, as our member parties here did, showing our fullest support to the democratic institutions of the country. However now it seems that the government creates an environment which look closer to an authoritarian regime rather than a functioning democracy. We believe instead that cracking on the freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary will not strengthen democracy in Turkey but rather will undermine it. President Erdogan is attacking the same principles, enshrined in the Turkish Constitution that he, and all of us, stood for in the night of the coup.
We are true friends of Turkey and we believe our partnership and cooperation is crucial for the benefit of all, therefore we strongly wish this current practices to stop and the situation to be fully reverted in respect of the rule of law".
Members of the PES delegation in Turkey:
Sergei Stanishev, PES President
Arnie Lietz, Member of the European Parliament, SPD Germany
Herbert Schmalstieg, President of USKRE, Former Mayor of Hannover, SPD Germany
Marie Rose Koro, Consular Advisor of Turkey, PS, France
Giacomo Filibeck, Deputy Secretary General, PES
Photos from the visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/partyofeuropeansocialists/albums/72157674770615500