Meeting of the Congress Current Affair Committee

Ankara, Turkey, 27 June 2013

Common position of the Current Affairs Committee of the Congress

Exploring new paths to a renewed dialogue

The good relations between many Council of Europe member states and Turkey go back centuries. All the more reason for us to express our concern with regard to the methods being used by the government of an important Council of Europe member state against largely peaceful and democratic protests.

We, the members of the Current Affairs Committee of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, believe the current reaction of the authorities towards protesters to be disproportionate. In our view, the protesters’ core concerns have not been acknowledged and, thus, a durable solution to the conflict will be harder to find.

We therefore support any individual standing for his/her basic democratic and civil rights. Any intrusion into the private lives of the people of Turkey places the secular and democratic order of Turkish society in jeopardy. We reject any form of violence in this context.

We, members of the Current Affairs Committee, condemn these actions against citizens, and call upon the Government and regional and local authorities of the Republic of Turkey to carefully investigate incidents of police violence and to ensure the full implementation of the basic civil right to freedom of expression.

Furthermore, heavy-handed policing erodes the many indisputable and impressive reforms and progress towards meeting the common values of the Council of Europe and the European Union in recent years, causing concern among friends of Turkey in Europe. In particular, this relates to oppressive steps against the media, journalists and authors.

The socio-political turmoil in the region, which has existed for years and which encompasses more and more states, has highlighted once again Turkey’s important role in the region, but only if Turkey takes into account the interests and expectations of all sections of Turkish society and opens new channels of democratic dialogue.

With our common position, we express our hope that this domestic conflict be settled peacefully and violence be ended immediately.

We hope that the Turkish society continues along the path of democracy, affirming its European outlook as well as its defence of civil rights and continuing to respect diversity.

We, therefore, support the position of Secretary General Jagland, issued during his visit to Prime Minister Erdogan in Ankara on 25 June 2013:

“Turkey and the Council of Europe listen to each other: Turkey has made impressive reform. I have been assured that excessive use of police power which raised international concern in recent weeks will be fully investigated.

Europe needs Turkey and Turkey needs Europe.”