Motion for a resolution - B8-0040/2015Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the freedom of expression in Turkey: Recent arrests of journalists, media executives and systematic pressure against media

12.1.2015 - (2014/3011(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Ignazio Corrao, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Marco Affronte, Daniela Aiuto, Dario Tamburrano, Kristina Winberg, Peter Lundgren, Rolandas Paksas on behalf of the EFDD Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0036/2015

Procedure : 2014/3011(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Debates :
Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on the freedom of expression in Turkey: Recent arrests of journalists, media executives and systematic pressure against media


The European Parliament,

–       having regard to the Commission’s 2014 progress report on Turkey,

–       having regard to the Commission communication of 16 October 2013 entitled ‘Enlargement strategy and main challenges 2013-2014’ (COM(2013)0700),

–       having regard to its previous resolutions on Turkey, in particular those of 13 June 2013 on the situation in Turkey[1] and 12 March 2014[2] on the 2013 progress report on Turkey,

–       having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey of 3 October 2005,

–       having regard to Council Decision 2008/157/EC of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Turkey (‘the Accession Partnership’), and to the previous Council decisions of 2001, 2003 and 2006 on the Accession Partnership,

–       having regard to the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA);

–       having regard to the Council conclusions of 16 December 2014 on enlargement and stabilisation and the association process,

–       having regard to the joint statement of 14 December 2014 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, on the police raids and arrests of media representatives in Turkey,

–       having regard to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–       having regard to the statement of 15 December 2014 by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas the response of the government following allegations of corruption in December 2013 has given rise to serious concerns regarding the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers;

B.     whereas on Sunday, 14 December 2014, 32 journalists were detained in raids across Turkey, including senior journalists, media executives and scriptwriters on charges of forming, leading and being members of an armed terrorist organisation;

C.     whereas media outlets that have been openly critical of the current Turkish Government are among the targets of these actions by Turkish law enforcement;

D.     whereas media freedom has been a long-standing problem in Turkey that already led to waves of arrests of journalists in 2011 and to a ban on Twitter and the arrests of social media users;

E.     whereas state officials continue to make statements that have an intimidating effect on the media;

F.     whereas demonstrators in Turkey have increasingly voiced concerns over a perceived lack of representation of minority voices, authoritarian governance and the lack of the rule of law and of good governance, and of fair trial and due process in Turkey;

G.     whereas amendments to the internet law restricted freedom of expression on the internet; whereas attempts to ban social media, later overturned by the Constitutional Court, and pressures on the press leading to widespread self-censorship, reflect a restrictive approach to freedom of expression;

H.     whereas media freedom, due process, and judicial independence are key elements in every healthy democracy and are enshrined in the Turkish Constitution, in particular in Article 26 thereof which guarantees freedom of expression, and Articles 27 and 28 thereof that guarantee ‘freedom of expression’ and the ‘unhindered dissemination of thought’;

I.      whereas Turkey, as a candidate for EU accession, has the obligation to respect and promote democracy and to reinforce democratic and human rights and freedoms; whereas these obligations should be viewed as an opportunity for Turkey to continue its process of modernisation;

J.      whereas in 2013 Turkey received a funding allocation of EUR 902.9 million through the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) to support political and economic reforms, paving the way for the rights and obligations that come with EU membership;

K.     whereas freedom of expression and freedom of the press are fundamental principles of the EU;

L.     whereas by introducing further restrictions on the freedom of expression online, Turkey is violating Chapter 10 of the EU-Turkey Association Agreement;

1.      Express its deep concern over the arrests of journalists and media workers; believes that these actions represent an unacceptable setback for media freedom in the country; is concerned at the large number of journalists in prison and the numerous ongoing trials of journalists and social media activists;

2.      Deplores the fact that the measures taken by the Turkish authorities are disproportionate and unnecessary in a modern and pluralist democracy; believes that such measures undermine Turkey’s own democratic foundations and are likely to polarise Turkish society, further increasing public mistrust in the state’s ability to uphold human rights;

3.      Calls for the immediate release of all journalists, social media activists and media workers currently detained; requests that the principle of presumption of innocence be applied; calls for independent and transparent investigations and insists that all detainees have unrestricted access to lawyers of their choice;

4.      Is concerned about the serious deterioration of press freedom across the country and about the systematic censorship of Turkish media, including on the internet; requests that the Turkish Government uphold the principle of press freedom; stresses that true freedom of expression and an independent press, as well as a free and uncensored internet, are crucial elements of a truly democratic, free and pluralist society;

5.      Calls on the Turkish authorities to guarantee and respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular the freedom of expression and freedom of the press and to guarantee a participatory political culture that includes the voice of the opposition, minorities, civil society and women in the decision-making process, thereby creating a true democratic political culture with full respect for diverse views and opinions;

6.      Points, in this connection, to the essential role of the judiciary in protecting and enhancing press and media freedom; recalls the crucial role that the principle of the separation of powers should play in a modern democratic state; express its deep concern over the interference of the government on the work of the judiciary’s power; calls on the Turkish authorities to guarantee a true balance between executive, legislative and judicial functions;

7.      Urges the EU to take concrete actions to respond to the media crackdown, the excessive use of force by the Turkish police against protesters, the widespread reassignments and dismissals of police officers, judges and prosecutors following the allegations of corruption involving prominent members of the government; calls for the EU to halt accession negotiations with Turkey as long as its democratic institutions, the rule of law and the observance of fundamental freedoms are not respected in the country;

8.      Urges the Turkish Government to work in cooperation with all political actors to enhance media freedom and political plurality in state institutions and act in compliance with the rule of law and human rights; reiterates its call for a new media law that could guarantee the freedom of expression and pluralism in media;

9.      Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey.