Procedure : 2021/2788(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0409/2021

Texts tabled :


Debates :

PV 06/07/2021 - 11
CRE 06/07/2021 - 11

Votes :

Texts adopted :


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<TitreSuite>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</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>

<Titre>on the repression of the opposition in Turkey, specifically the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)</Titre>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Sergey Lagodinsky, Ernest Urtasun, Hannah Neumann, Ignazio Corrao, Jordi Solé, François Alfonsi, Henrike Hahn, Gwendoline Delbos‑Corfield, Mounir Satouri, Diana Riba i Giner, Francisco Guerreiro</Depute>

<Commission>{Verts/ALE}on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group</Commission>


See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0406/2021


European Parliament resolution on the repression of the opposition in Turkey, specifically the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)


The European Parliament,

 having regard to its previous resolutions on Turkey, in particular those of 19 May 2021 on the 2019-2020 Commission Reports on Turkey[1], of 21 January 2021 on the human rights situation in Turkey, in particular the case of Selahattin Demirtaş and other prisoners of conscience[2], of 19 September 2019 on the situation in Turkey, notably the removal of elected mayors[3], of 8 February 2018 on the human rights situation in Turkey[4], of 13 March 2019 on the 2018 Commission Report on Turkey[5], and of 27 October 2016 on the situation of journalists in Turkey[6],

 having regard to the most recent Commission reports on Turkey, namely the 2018, 2019 and 2020 reports,

 having regard to the joint statement of 18 March 2021 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi on latest actions regarding the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP),

 having regard to the relevant statements by the spokesperson of the European External Action Service, in particular those of 21 and 25 December 2020,

 having regard to the relevant Council and European Council conclusions, in particular the European Council conclusions of 24 June 2021 on external relations,

 having regard to the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights of 22 December 2020 in the case of Selahattin Demirtaş v Turkey,

 having regard to the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 10 December 2019 in the case of Kavala v Turkey, which became final on 11 May 2020, and to the decisions of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe of 1 October 2020 and 3 December 2020 urging Turkey to ensure Osman Kavala’s immediate release,

 having regard to resolution 2347 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 23 October 2020 entitled ‘New crackdown on political opposition and civil dissent in Turkey: urgent need to safeguard Council of Europe standards’,

 having regard to resolution 2260 of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe of 24 January 2019 entitled ‘The worsening situation of opposition politicians in Turkey: what can be done to protect their fundamental rights in a Council of Europe member State?’,

 having regard to the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of March 2018 on the impact of the state of emergency on human rights in Turkey, including an update on the South-East,

 having regard to the report of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances of 30 July 2019,

 having regard to the statement by several UN Special Rapporteurs of 2 September 2020,

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

 having regard to the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders,

 having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

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

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Turkey is an EU candidate country and longstanding member of the Council of Europe; whereas as a member of the Council of Europe, Turkey is a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and bound by the provisions and case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR);

B. whereas crackdowns against the political opposition and civil dissents in Turkey have intensified in recent months, with numerous investigations and prosecutions targeting local politicians, members and former members of parliament, members of opposition political parties and lawyers; whereas the ongoing crackdown against the Turkish political opposition, in particular the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), is taking place in a context of shrinking space for democracy and the rule of law and of continuous measures by the Turkish authorities aimed at silencing dissenting voices, including those of journalists, human rights defenders, academics, judges and lawyers;

C. whereas on 17 March 2021, the Chief Public Prosecutor of Turkey’s Court of Cassation first applied to the Constitutional Court demanding the closure of the HDP; whereas a revised indictment was submitted on 7 June 2021 and demanded, in addition to the closure of the party, a ban from the exercise of political activities for around 451 HDP politicians and a freeze on the party’s bank accounts; whereas the General Assembly of the Constitutional Court unanimously accepted the revised indictment on 21 June 2021;

D. whereas most of the accusations made by the Chief Public Prosecutor against the HDP relate to the Kobane protests, for which there is an ongoing legal case against 108 HDP politicians, including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ; whereas the accusations concern their roles in the 2014 protests in support of Kobane and are mainly based on a tweet posted by the HDP’s Central Executive Board calling on people to protest in solidarity with the people of Kobane against ISIS and against Turkey’s embargo on Kobane; whereas more than 50 people were killed during the protests, the overwhelming majority of whom were HDP members or sympathisers murdered in gunfire by the Turkish police;

E. whereas as the third-largest party in the Turkish Parliament, the HDP represents a significant portion of political voices in Turkey; whereas around 4 000 HDP members and functionaries remain in prison, including a number of parliamentarians;

F. whereas Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the HDP and presidential opposition candidate in 2014 and 2018, when he obtained 9.76 % and 8.32 % of the vote, has been held in an F-type prison in Edirne since 4 November 2016 on charges of terrorism for which, if convicted, he faces a possible 142-year prison sentence; whereas a separate terrorism investigation was opened against him in September 2019 for his alleged role in incidents for which he was previously detained and is already on trial; whereas Selahattin Demirtaş is one of the numerous prisoners of conscience in Turkey;

G. whereas in its judgment in the case of Selahattin Demirtaş v Turkey issued on 22 December 2020, the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR condemned Turkey for the violation of the right to liberty regarding prolongation of detention and the right to free and fair elections, and found that by detaining Selahattin Demirtaş Turkey had pursued an ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate; whereas the court has found no clear link between Mr Demirtaş’ speeches and terrorism offences and ruled that Turkey should take immediate measures to release him;

H. whereas in the same judgment, the ECtHR stated that the HDP headquarters’ call for solidarity with the people of Kobane remained within the limits of political speech, insofar as they could not be construed as a call to violence; whereas the court stated that the acts of violence that took place between 6 and 8 October 2014, regrettable though they were, cannot be seen as a direct consequence of the tweets by HDP headquarters;Top of FormTop of Form

I. whereas terrorism charges continue to be exploited on a massive scale against Kurdish democratic leaders and others in order to restrict the rights to freedom of expression and association in the aftermath of the fifth year after the coup attempt; whereas the criminalisation of opposition parties, leaders and dissenting voices is taking place in a context of increased polarisation and violence, which culminated in the assassination of HDP member Deniz Poyraz in an armed attack on a party office in the Province of Izmir on 17 June 2021;

1. Calls on the Government of Turkey to urgently reverse its autocratic policies and to work to strengthen democracy, the rule of law and human and civil rights, including political pluralism, as well as the freedoms of association, assembly and expression; stresses that democracy presupposes an environment in which political parties, civil society and the media can function without threats or arbitrary restrictions;

2. Condemns the decision to ban the HDP, as confirmed by the General Assembly of the Turkish Constitutional Court; notes with great concern that the HDP and its youth organisations have been specifically and continuously targeted by the Turkish authorities; strongly condemns the continued detention of HDP parliamentarians and functionaries, including former co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş; calls on the Turkish authorities to release Selahattin Demirtaş and other jailed members of the opposition immediately and unconditionally, to drop all charges against them, and to restore the legal status of the HDP;

3. Calls for the standards of the rule of the law to be strictly applied during the ongoing Kobane trial proceedings, notably judicial independence, impartiality, total fairness and procedural safeguards;

4. Is deeply concerned about the Turkish judiciary and authorities’ disregard for ECtHR rulings and the increasing non-compliance of lower courts with the judgments of the Turkish Constitutional Court; stresses that the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR ordered the immediate release of Selahattin Demirtaş in its final judgment of 22 December 2020; emphasises that the failure to do so would violate Turkey’s obligation to comply with the rulings of the ECtHR; calls on Turkey to ensure full compliance with the provisions of the ECHR and the decisions of the ECtHR; urges full cooperation with the Council of Europe in strengthening the rule of law, the rights of minorities, democracy and fundamental rights; calls on the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to continue to supervise the execution of the ECtHR’s decision regarding Selahattin Demirtaş;

5. Is deeply concerned about the constant attacks and pressure on the opposition parties, which undermine the proper functioning of the democratic system; notes the political, legislative and administrative measures taken by the Turkish Government to paralyse municipalities run by the mayors of opposition parties in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir; condemns the fact that in majority-Kurdish eastern cities such as Kars, Van, Diyarbakır and Mardin mayors have been dismissed, replaced with appointed trustees and detained; regrets the fact that the incumbent government is abusing the financial resources and administrative authority of the state to weaken or silence the opposition;

6. Strongly condemns the re-arrest and continued detention of important figures, including Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş; urges the Turkish authorities to immediately release them, together with all imprisoned human rights defenders, journalists, academics and others detained on unsubstantiated charges, including Can Dündar and Erol Önderoğlu, and to drop all charges against them;

7. Calls on the EU Delegation to Turkey to further monitor the situation of political prisoners and human rights defenders, including by observing trials, making public statements and requesting permission for prison visits;

8. Expresses great concern regarding the attacks on civil society and the promotion of fundamental rights and freedoms; denounces the arbitrary closure of civil society organisations, including prominent human rights non-governmental organisations and media; warns against the additional detrimental impact on the right to freedom of association of the Law on Preventing Financing of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction of 31 December 2020, as it hands ample discretionary powers to the Ministry of the Interior to curtail and restrict the legitimate activities of non-governmental organisations; condemns, in addition, the negative impact on freedom of expression of the Law on the Regulation of Publications on the Internet and Combating Crimes Committed by Means of Such Publication of July 2020;

9. Is appalled about the numerous and constant reports of intimidation, harassment and violence against human rights defenders, journalists, academics, doctors who have provided assistance to the victims of torture, and other activists, especially those in the Kurdish community; urges Turkey to refrain from detaining and prosecuting journalists and human rights defenders as a means of intimidating them or discouraging them from freely reporting on human rights issues; urges Turkey to investigate swiftly and independently the reported cases of intimidation and harassment of human rights defenders, journalists, academics and civil society activists and to bring the perpetrators of these abuses to account;

10. Strongly condemns the decision of the Turkish Government to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, particularly at a time of rising violence against women during the pandemic and in view of the country’s high femicide rate; calls on the Turkish Government to urgently reverse this decision; expresses deep concern about the violations of the human rights of LGBTI people, in particular physical attacks, the protracted bans on pride marches across the country, and restrictions on the freedoms of assembly, association and expression;

11. Calls on the EU and its Member States to exert greater pressure on the Turkish Government and to step up their support for human rights defenders in Turkey, including through emergency grants, to facilitate the issuance of emergency visas, to provide temporary shelter in the EU Member States, and to ensure the full implementation of the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders by the EU Delegation and the embassies and consulates of the Member States;

12. Reminds the European Council that any improvements in official EU-Turkey relations and any démarches towards a positive agenda as stated in its conclusions of December 2020, March 2021 and June 2021 are contingent on improvements in the situation of civil and human rights and the rule of law in Turkey;

13. Calls for this resolution to be translated into Turkish;

14. 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 EU Member States, and the President, Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey.


[1] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0243

[2] Texts adopted, P9_TA(2021)0028.

[3] OJ C 171, 6.5.2021, p. 8.

[4] OJ C 463, 21.12.2018, p. 56.

[5] OJ C 23, 21.1.2021, p. 58.

[6] OJ C 215, 19.6.2018, p. 199.

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