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Letter to President Erdogan on fundamental rights


On July 18th, Marietje Schaake sent to following letter to President Erdogan of Turkey. The letter was co-signed by 34 MEPs from groups across the political spectrum.


After two years in place, President Erdogan announced that he will not renew the State of Emergency which expires on July 19th. While we should welcome this move, there are reasons to remain concerned as the government can still prevent the full enjoyment of those rights by presidential decree even after the state of emergency is lifted. 

The below letter urges the Turkish government to improve the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. The letter makes reference to several unresolved human rights issues like the arrest of Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtas, as well as the blockage of Wikipedia.


Brussels, July 18th 2018

His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan,  

We urge your Government to ensure the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms. We therefore welcome the expected end of the state of emergency, which for the past two years has meant certain rights guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights were suspended. Yet we are concerned that even after the state of emergency is lifted, Presidential decree will allow the suspension of rights.  

In general, we are alarmed by what the European Commission has called “serious backsliding” on human rights. In a decree issued earlier this month, you ordered more than 18,000 civil servants be fired. This number is added to the 130,000 people already fired from government jobs.  

Furthermore, thousands of people have been illegitimately detained, including human rights defenders, writers, and social media users.   

The withdrawal of press cards, as well as the closure of numerous media outlets or the assertion of government control remain deeply troubling and are incompatible with Turkey’s commitments to human rights and freedoms.  

The Government continues to use its authorities to block online content on a wide range of grounds. The global encyclopedia Wikipedia remains blocked in Turkey for more than a year, denying people access to information on topics ranging from medicine, to history, to current events.  

As President, we look to you to take immediate and irreversible steps to demonstrate a commitment to people’s rights under this new government.  

We call for the release of all unjustly detained, and for an end to censorship and silencing of journalists.  

In particular, the immediate release of Osman Kavala and Selehattin Demirtas would help indicate that there is commitment to international standards concerning freedom of expression and fair trial.   


Marietje Schaake (ALDE)  

Rebecca Harms (Greens/EFA)

Anna Maria Corazza Bildt (EPP)

Alessia Mosca (S&D)

Bodil Valero (Greens/EFA)

Matthijs van Miltenburg (ALDE)

Joachim Starbatty (ECR)

Bernd Kölmel (ECR)

Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL)

Renate Sommer (EPP)

Sven Giegold (Greens/EFA)

Jean Lamberts (Greens/EFA)

Brando Benifei (S&D)

Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL)

Jiří Pospíšil (EPP)

Hans-Olaf Henkel (ECR)

Michal Boni (EPP)

Julie Ward (S&D)

Pavel Telicka (ALDE)

Sophie in ‘t Veld (ALDE)

Ana Gomes (S&D)

Franz Obermayr (ENF)

Margot Parker (EFDD)

Kostas Chrysogonos (GUE/NGL)

Jordi Solé (Greens/EFA)

Tunne Kelam (EPP)

Takis Hadjigeorgiou (GUE/NGL)

Eleonora Forenza (GUE/NGL)

William Dartmouth (EFDD)

Helga Trüpel (Greens/EFA)

Helga Stevens (ECR) 

Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL)                                                          

Hilde Vautmans (ALDE)

Eva Kaili (S&D)                                                                                  

Barbara Spinelli (GUE/NGL)