At a time when the Turkish government has attracted widespread criticism for its recent crackdown on an opposition party and an opposition newspaper, Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjørn Jagland arrived in the Turkish capital of Ankara on Wednesday for a series of talks with Turkish officials.
He was scheduled to meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and leaders of the opposition parties.
“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.