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Parliamentary questions
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15 April 2020
E-002280/2020
Question for written answer E-002280/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Niyazi Kizilyürek (GUE/NGL)
 Answer in writing (1) 
 
 Answer in writing (2) 
 Subject: Release of prisoners in Turkey

Turkey’s parliament has passed a law for the release of around 90 000 prisoners in order to ease overcrowding in jails and protect detainees from the Coronavirus (1) . According to data of the Council of Europe, as of January 2019, Turkey has Europe’s most overcrowded prison system. Approximately 45 000 prisoners would be released temporarily and the rest, permanently.

However, this number does not include about 50 000 people convicted or jailed pending trial on ‘terrorism’ charges. Among them are journalists, writers, activists and politicians who were jailed following the attempted coup in 2016, such as Selahattin Demirtas and Osman Kavala.

The European Court of Human Rights, the Commission and Parliament, in several decisions, resolutions and statements, have criticised Turkey for its prosecution policies over the last four years and drawn attention to the deterioration of the rule of law in the country.

Taking into account the fact that Turkey is a candidate country for accession to the EU and that it has access to EU funds to help tackle the Coronavirus outbreak, can the Commission explain what measures it intends to take to persuade Turkey also to release imprisoned journalists, writers, activists and politicians?

(1)https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-turkey-prisoners/turkey-plans-prisoner-release-excluding-those-jailed-on-post-coup-terrorism-charges-idUSKBN21P1WW
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