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Parliamentary questions
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4 August 2020
Answer given by Mr Várhelyi
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-003192/2020

The Commission is aware of the situation mentioned by the Honourable Members. In its 2019 Report on Turkey(1), the Commission expressed growing concerns about the continued backsliding in Turkey in the areas of fundamental rights and freedom of expression in recent years.

The high number of arrests of journalists, ongoing and new criminal cases against journalists, writers and social media users, the withdrawal of accreditations, as well as the closure of numerous media outlets, continue to be of serious concern.

The Commission regularly raises these issues in the context of its policy dialogue with the Turkish authorities. During the Association Council held on 15 March 2019, the EU emphasised once again the deeply worrying backsliding on the rule of law and fundamental rights, especially the freedom of expression, and called on Turkey to safeguard fundamental freedoms. It also raised it during the relevant sub-committees and in its bilateral contacts with the Turkish authorities.

The Commission is closely monitoring the situation of journalists and other critical voices, as well as the overall situation of freedom of expression in Turkey. The Commission’s assessment will be reflected in its next annual report on Turkey to be published in autumn 2020.

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