EU calls on Turkey to respect human rights, rule of law

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EU's High representative for foreign affairs and security policy Federica Mogherini. / AFP PHOTO / THIERRY CHARLIER

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini urged Ankara in a declaration on Tuesday to resume political dialogue with the opposition, as the state continues to jail rival political figures and critical news outlet personnel.

“The EU and its Member States … call on Turkey to safeguard its parliamentary democracy, including the respect for human rights, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and the right of everyone to a fair trial, also in conformity with its commitments as a candidate country for EU membership],” Mogherini’s statement said. “A return to a credible political process and to a genuine political dialogue is essential for the country’s democracy and stability in the region.”

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

About 120,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 80,000 detained and over 36,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.

On Monday, Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, said that the Turkish authorities’ purging of officials and critics was reminiscent of Nazi Germany.”To put it bluntly, these are methods that were used during the Nazi era and that’s a really, really bad development… that the European Union simply cannot accept,” Asselborn said on Monday.

The foreign minister also suggested implementing economic sanctions against Turkey to “counteract the unbearable human rights situation.”

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