EU urges Turkey to follow CoE recommendations for effective judicial remedies

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European Union spokesperson Maja Kocijancic

In the wake of the Turkish government’s decision to revoke the citizenship of 130 people, the European Union called on Turkey to follow up on the recommendations of the Council of Europe (CoE) with regard to establishing effective judicial remedies.

“It is important that Turkish authorities fully respect the presumption of innocence ensuring under any circumstances the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right of all individuals to a fair trial,” EU spokesperson Maja Kocijancic said in response to a question concerning the Turkish government’s threat to revoke the citizenship of 130 people if they do not return to Turkey after being summoned.

“As stated previously, it is crucial that Turkey follow up on the recommendations of the Council of Europe and its bodies with regard to establishing effective judicial remedies,” added Kocijancic.

On June 5, Turkey’s Interior Ministry released a list of 130 people who are currently abroad including Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and two deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who will be stripped of citizenship if they do not return to the country within three months.

According to government decree No. 680, individuals who are facing administrative or judicial investigation or prosecution over charges of “crimes against the government,” “armed rebellion against the government,” “armed attack and assassination of the president” or “membership in an armed terror organization” will be summoned by prosecutors to testify. If they cannot be reached and are understood to be abroad, the public prosecutor will refer the case to the Justice Ministry within a month.

A high criminal court in the southern province of Adana on Saturday applied to Turkey’s Justice Ministry demanding revocation of the citizenship of journalist Bilal Öğütçü over terror charges.

The Adana representative of the Zaman newspaper and the Cihan news agency until they were shut down by the government in the aftermath of a July 15, 2016 coup attempt, Öğütçü faces 15 years in prison on accusations of membership in the Gülen movement.

Last month, a high criminal court in the southern province of Adana applied to Turkey’s Justice Ministry demanding the revocation of the Turkish citizenship of Islamic scholar Gülen, who is accused by the Turkish government of instigating a failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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