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Motion for a resolution - B9-0083/2021Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on human rights situation in Turkey, notably the case of Selahattin Demirtas and other prisoners of conscience

19.1.2021 - (2021/2506(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure

Hilde Vautmans, Barry Andrews, Petras Auštrevičius, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Olivier Chastel, Klemen Grošelj, Bernard Guetta, Svenja Hahn, Karin Karlsbro, Moritz Körner, Nathalie Loiseau, Javier Nart, Urmas Paet, Frédérique Ries, María Soraya Rodríguez Ramos, Nicolae Ştefănuță, Ramona Strugariu, Dragoş Tudorache
on behalf of the Renew Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0072/2021

Procedure : 2021/2506(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on human rights situation in Turkey, notably the case of Selahattin Demirtas and other prisoners of conscience


The European Parliament,


  having regard to its previous resolutions, notably the resolution on the removal of Turkish Mayors adopted on 19 September 2019; the resolution on the dangerous escalation in the Eastern Mediterranean, adopted on 17 September 2020 and the resolution on Turkey’s activities in Varosha, adopted on 26 November 2020; having regard to the European Parliament resolution of 13 March 2019 on the 2018 Commission Report on Turkey;

  having regard to Turkish membership of the Council of Europe, since 9 August 1949, which binds Turkey to the European Convention on Human Rights and the rulings of the ECHR;

-  having regard to Turkish membership of the United Nations and the UN Charter making the promotion and protection of human rights a key purpose;

-  having regard to the deteriorating respect for democratic principles and challenges to the human rights and rule of law situation in Turkey during the last years, as manifested by the imprisonment of Selahattin Demirtas, alongside other opposition politicians, journalists, human rights activists and others caught by the broad repressive measures put in place by the Turkish government;

-  having regards to the Law Amending the Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures and Certain Laws No. 7242 published on the Official Gazette on April 15, 2020;

  1. whereas Selahattin Demirtas, member of the Turkish Parliament since 2007, has been imprisoned since November 2016, and condemned by a Turkish court on 7 September 2018 to 4 years and 8 months in prison, a judgement overturned by the European Court of Human Rights on 20 November 2018;
  2. whereas Mr Demirtas remains in prison despite the ruling from the ECHR, and is only one out of many illegitimately imprisoned in Turkey on politically motivated charges;
  3. whereas his case, among all others, are part of a large scale repressive campaign by the Turkish government, impacting all people in Turkey and many Turkish nationals around the globe, in particular opposition parties and opposition members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, media workers and journalists, officials in the Turkish military, diplomatic service, police and security forces, as well officials working in the judiciary and in the state administration;
  4. whereas the situation of media freedom in Turkey is extremely precarious as the country ranked 154th  out of 180 entries in the 2020 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index and features 68  level one alerts still pending state reply on the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists, concerning the detention of over 80 journalists;
  5. whereas many of the repressive measures used by the Turkish authorities violate Turkish domestic and international legislation and are in breach of  the commitments of a member of the Council of Europe and against the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;
  1. reiterates its condemnation of the on-going deterioration in fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in Turkey, and the use of arbitrary detention, judicial and administrative harassment, travel bans along with other means to persecute thousands of Turkish citizens, including politicians and elected officials, human rights defenders, civil servants, members of independent civil society organisations, academics and countless ordinary citizens;
  2. Deplores the fact that following the adoption by Turkish Parliament of a Law Amending the Code on Enforcement of Sentences due to the high risk of spread of COVID-19 in the overcrowded Turkish jails, a remarkably tiny number of journalists, human rights defenders, politicians, lawyers and others detained pending trial or serving sentences following trials under Turkey’s overly broad anti-terrorism laws figured among the 90,000 prisoners released; urges Turkey to treat political prisoners on the same basis as the ordinary prisoners;
  3. is deeply concerned by repeated accusations of serious human rights breaches committed by militias supported by or mercenaries sent by Turkey in armed conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabagh;
  4. urges the Turkish government to ensure that all individuals have the fundamental right to due process and to have their cases examined by a fully independent and functioning judicial system  in accordance with international standards; calls on Turkey to ensure the operational, structural and financial independence of the National Human Rights and Equality Institution and of the Ombudsman Institution in order to guarantee their capacity to provide genuine review and redress opportunities and to abide by rulings by the European Court of Human Rights;
  5. calls on the Turkish authorities to immediately release Selahattin Demirtas, in accordance with the ECHR ruling, and to equally release all other arbitrarily detained and imprisoned politicians,  journalists and other individuals highlights in the context the cases of Figen  Yüksekdağ, Osman Kavala, for whom the related ECHR decision has not been respected, and all others imprisoned or detained on dubious political ground;
  6. calls on the Turkish government to take urgent and fundamental measures to strengthen and restore democracy and the freedom of press and expression in the country; urges Turkey to make its anti-terrorism legislation compliant with international human rights standards; notes that those detained on terrorism charges often do not receive trials that meet internationally recognised standards, as was the case in the Ilhan Sami Comak case;
  7. expresses serious concern over the monitoring of social media platforms and condemns the closedown of social media accounts by Turkey’s authorities, sees in this a further restriction of the freedom of expression and a tool to repress civil society;
  8. is highly concerned over the situation of media freedom in Turkey; calls on the Turkish authorities immediately to reply and act upon all alerts issued with regards to Turkey on the Council of Europe Platform to promote the protection of journalism and safety of journalists; calls on the Turkish authorities to ensure fair access to justice and to end politically motivated lawsuits against journalists and media professionals, such as in the recent case of journalist Melis Alphan who was charged with terrorist propaganda and faces up to 7 years and 6 months of prison;
  9. calls on the EU Delegation in Ankara to provide increased support and, where necessary and possible, public backing to Human Rights Defenders, notably by monitoring and observing trials, requesting permission for prison visits and issuing statements addressing the Turkish authorities at all levels;
  10. calls on the Commission to use funds currently allocated under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II and the future IPA III) to support, through a dedicated envelope directly managed by the EU, Turkey’s civil society, LGBTI-rights activists, human rights defenders and journalists and to increase opportunities for people-to-people contacts, academic dialogue, access for Turkish students to European universities, and media platforms for journalists with the objective of protecting and promoting democratic values and principles, human rights and the rule of law;
  11. takes note of the recent statements from the Turkish leadership on the need to improve relations with the European Union and reiterates the EU’s openness for a new start, underlines however that better and deeper relations is fully dependent , inter alia, on tangible improvements in the respect of democratic principles, the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights inside Turkey;
  12. 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 and Security Policy, the Member States, the Government of Turkey and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and asks for this resolution to be translated into Turkish.



Last updated: 19 January 2021
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