CoE’s Jagland meets Turkey’s PM, FM amid hundreds of purge complaints to ECtHR

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ANKARA, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 10: Turkish Prime Minister (R) meets Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjorn Jangland (L) at Cankaya Palace in Ankara, Turkey on November 10, 2016. Prime Ministry Press Office / Mustafa Aktas / Anadolu Agency

Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjørn Jagland met with Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the president of the Constitutional Court on Thursday during a visit to Ankara following the release of an extremely critical EU Commission report on Turkey and amid an enormous number of complaints about an ongoing post-coup purge and a crackdown on opposition in the country.

Despite the pro-government media’s reports that only include messages of support for the Turkish government, Europe Online Magazine reported a statement by Daniel Holtgen, Jagland’s spokesperson, during his visit to Turkey, saying that some 40,000 cases had been brought to Turkey‘s Constitutional Court since a coup attempt on July 15 by a faction of the military.

Jagland himself tweeted on Thursday a photo from his meeting with the president of the Constitutional Court, Zühtü Arslan, emphasizing the key role of the court in implementing European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) verdicts. Since Turkey‘s failed coup attempt in July, some 850 cases have been filed at the European court in Strasbourg, many related to civil servants being dismissed from their posts, a senior European official said Thursday, according to Europe Online Magazine.
No other statement had come from Jagland as of Thursday evening though his spokesperson said the secretary-general‘s aim is to find a remedy for the potential victims of human rights violations.

Jagland’s visit came at a time when the Turkish government has attracted widespread criticism for its recent crackdown on an opposition party and an opposition newspaper last week

“Secretary General wishes to continue the dialogue with Turkish leaders on the current situation in the state of emergency following the failed coup d’état [of July 15],” a statement from Jagland’s office said on Wednesday.

Turkish courts last Friday arrested nine pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies including the party’s Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. The HDP deputies were arrested after they refused to testify about alleged crimes linked to “terrorist propaganda.” One more HDP deputy was arrested on Monday, bringing the total number of arrested HDP deputies to nine.

Last Saturday, Turkey also saw the arrest of nine journalists from the opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper including the paper’s editor-in-chief.

Both developments sparked harsh criticisms from Europe and the US.

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