Procedure : 2016/2935(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-1163/2016

Texts tabled :

B8-1163/2016

Debates :

PV 26/10/2016 - 15

Votes :

Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2016)0423

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 277kWORD 76k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1162/2016
24.10.2016
PE593.589v01-00
 
B8-1163/2016

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


on the situation of journalists in Turkey (2016/2935(RSP))


Elena Valenciano, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Clara Eugenia Aguilera García, Nikos Androulakis, Zigmantas Balčytis, Hugues Bayet, Brando Benifei, José Blanco López, Vilija Blinkevičiūtė, Simona Bonafè, Biljana Borzan, Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, Nicola Caputo, Andrea Cozzolino, Miriam Dalli, Viorica Dăncilă, Isabella De Monte, Tanja Fajon, Jonás Fernández, Monika Flašíková Beňová, Doru-Claudian Frunzulică, Enrico Gasbarra, Michela Giuffrida, Theresa Griffin, Sergio Gutiérrez Prieto, Cătălin Sorin Ivan, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Eva Kaili, Cécile Kashetu Kyenge, Javi López, Krystyna Łybacka, Vladimír Maňka, Louis-Joseph Manscour, Costas Mavrides, Sorin Moisă, Alessia Maria Mosca, Victor Negrescu, Momchil Nekov, Demetris Papadakis, Emilian Pavel, Vincent Peillon, Pina Picierno, Tonino Picula, Kati Piri, Miroslav Poche, Liliana Rodrigues, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero Fernández, Daciana Octavia Sârbu, Siôn Simon, Tibor Szanyi, Claudiu Ciprian Tănăsescu, Paul Tang, Claudia Țapardel, Marc Tarabella, Julie Ward, Carlos Zorrinho, Miltiadis Kyrkos on behalf of the S&D Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation of journalists in Turkey (2016/2935(RSP))  
B8‑1163/2016

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Turkey, in particular its resolution of 15 January 2015 on freedom of expression in Turkey: Recent arrests of journalists, media executives and systematic pressure against media(1),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Turkey of 18 July 2016,

–  having regard to the statements by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights,

–  having regard to the joint statement of 16 July 2016 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations on the situation in Turkey,

–  having regard to the statement of 21 July 2016 by the Vice-President / High Representative and the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations on the declaration of the state of emergency in Turkey,

–  having regard to the EU-Turkey High Level Political Dialogue of 9 September 2016,

–  having regard to the fact that respect for the rule of law, including freedom of expression, is at the core of the EU accession process,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,

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

A.  whereas on 15 July 2016 there was an attempt to illegally overthrow the elected government in Turkey, in which over 250 people were killed and more than 2 100 injured;

B.  whereas following the coup attempt of 15 July 2016 the Turkish police arrested at least 99 journalists and writers, most of whom have had no charges brought against them to date, bringing the number of media workers detained on charges believed to be related to their exercise of the right to freedom of expression to at least 130, as of 20 October 2016; whereas 64 of those journalists arrested after 15 July 2016 have been released;

C.   whereas among those journalists detained are well-known novelist Asli Erdogan, who was also an Advisory Board member and columnist for the Kurdish daily newspaper Özgür Gündem, which is now closed, academic and columnist Mehmet Altan, and his brother Ahmet Altan, a writer and former editor of the weekly newspaper Taraf;

D.  whereas free, diverse and independent media is essential in any democratic society; whereas without freedom of expression and freedom of the media, active and engaged citizenry is impossible;

E.  whereas under the provisions of the decree issued following the declaration of the state of emergency, those journalists arrested have been denied the right of access to a lawyer during the first five days in detention, the right to choose a lawyer during police detention and the confidentiality of the client-lawyer relationship, and have had restrictions imposed on their visitation rights; whereas some journalists are facing even more stringent restrictions;

F.  whereas several of the detained journalists have allegedly been mistreated, threatened, insulted and attacked in prison; whereas there are serious claims that the co-editors-in-chief of the closed daily newspaper Özgür Gündem, Bilir Kaya and Inan Kizilkaya, have been tortured in prison;

G.  whereas during the first two and a half months of the state of emergency, the authorities closed around 150 media outlets and publishing companies, leaving over 2 300 journalists and media workers without jobs;

H.  whereas following the attempted coup, journalists have been the targets of administrative sanctions, including confiscation of passports, travel restrictions for the holders of special ‘grey’ passports, withdrawal of press cards and other arbitrary restrictions, such as temporary arrests without charge; whereas the state of emergency has suspended any possibility of a legal appeal against those decisions;

I.  whereas following the coup attempt, family members of journalists, despite not being under investigation themselves, have also been arrested and been the targets of administrative sanctions, including confiscation of passports;

J.  whereas following the coup attempt, foreign journalists have been arrested and deported from Turkey;

K.  whereas more than 150 media outlets have been closed in the aftermath of the failed coup, including 46 newspapers, 29 TV channels, 31 radio stations, 3 news agencies, 16 magazines and 28 publishing houses; whereas Zarok TV, a children’s cartoon channel broadcast in Kurdish, is among those affected;

L.  whereas with the latest violent closure of leading opposition radio stations and TV channels in police raids, including IMC TV, Hayatin Sesi TV and Özgür Radyo, and the arrest of their journalists, media freedom and free speech are in great danger in Turkey, while pluralism is in danger of disappearing and self-censorship is highly on the rise;

M.  whereas Turkey is ranked 151st out of 180 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index; whereas, according to the Freedom House ranking for freedom of the press and media, Turkey is ranked as not having a free press and its internet freedom as being only partly free;

N.  whereas respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, are at the core of EU values, to which Turkey is formally committed through its application for EU membership and related negotiations, and through its full membership of the Council of Europe;

1.  Strongly condemns the coup attempt of 15 July 2016 in Turkey; supports the legitimate institutions of Turkey; deplores the high number of casualties and expresses its solidarity with the victims and their families;

2.  Stresses that the Turkish Government has the right and obligation to investigate the heinous coup attempt of 15 July 2016 and to bring all those responsible to justice; condemns, however, the massive crackdown on journalists, writers and media representatives in Turkey, including well-known journalists such as Nazli Ilicak, Sahin Alpay, Asli Erdogan, Murat Aksoy, Ahmet Altan and Mehmet Altan, without proof of individual involvement in a crime;

3.  Reiterates that the situation of journalists and media freedom has been deteriorating over the last couple of years and is concerned that, following the introduction of the state of emergency, there has been a further backslide in the situation of media freedom in Turkey;

4.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all the imprisoned journalists, in the absence of compelling evidence of criminal activity; underlines the need to avoid the detention of journalists on the basis of the content of their journalism or alleged affiliations, including in cases where charges are brought against them, and to ensure that pre-trial detention remains an exception;

5.  Recalls that a free and pluralistic press is an essential component of any democracy; reminds the Turkish authorities that the utmost care must be taken when dealing with the media and journalists, as freedom of expression and freedom of the media remain central to the functioning of a democratic and open society; encourages the Turkish Government to issue clear guidance to the police and prosecutors about the importance of media freedom and ensure that any decision to pursue criminal investigations into journalists or news organisations is based on clear evidence of criminal wrongdoing, meets the test of public interest and does not harm freedom of expression;

6.  Reminds the Turkish authorities that the emergency decrees should not be used as a pretext to facilitate serious human rights violations, silence dissent and close down media outlets; recalls that human rights and the rule of law must be upheld according to the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which include the right to life, prohibition of torture and inhumane or degrading treatment, the presumption of innocence, legal certainty, no punishment without law, individuality of crimes, due process, judicial independence, ample and transparent information on the allegations and full access to the incriminating evidence;

7.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to rescind the administrative sanctions taken against journalists, including withdrawal of passports and press cards, travel restrictions for the holders of special ‘grey’ passports and other arbitrary restrictions, such as temporary arrests without charge;

8.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to refrain from also treating family members of suspected journalists as potential suspects and from using administrative or other sanctions against them;

9.  Calls on the Turkish authorities to prevent violence, threats or mistreatment being used against suspects and to conduct a credible investigation into verified cases; calls on the Turkish Government to investigate the claims on the torture of imprisoned journalists, particularly the co-editors-in-chief of closed daily newspaper Özgür Gündem, Bilir Kaya and Inan Kizilkaya;

10.  Is seriously concerned about the closure of more than 150 media outlets, including IMC TV and Zarok TV, which airs Kurdish-language children’s cartoons; calls for them to be reopened, their independence restored and their sacked employees reinstated; calls on the Turkish authorities to end the practice of misusing provisions in the penal code to appoint trustees to private media organisations and to halt executive interference with independent news organisations, including in relation to editorial decisions, dismissals of journalists and editors, and pressure and intimidation against critical news outlets and journalists;

11.  Urges Turkey to defuse the tense political post-coup climate, which creates an environment curtailing freedom of speech in the media and on the internet;

12.  Stresses that Turkey faces a real threat from terrorism; reiterates, however, that the broadly defined Turkish anti-terrorism legislation should not be used to punish journalists for exercising their right of freedom of expression;

13.  Urges Turkey to work on reforms which should provide for adequate checks and balances fully guaranteeing freedom, including freedom of thought, of expression and of the media, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights;

14.  Reiterates that increased attention must be paid to independent media within the framework of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance and asks the EU Delegation in Turkey to closely monitor the upcoming trials of all journalists and writers;

15.  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, and the President, Government and Parliament of Turkey.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2015)0014.

Legal notice - Privacy policy