Didier Reynders concerned about the detention of human rights defenders in Turkey
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders is concerned about the arrest and enduring detention of human rights defenders under the current state of emergency in Turkey. This regards among others 10 human rights activists, including the director of Amnesty International Turkey and two international experts, who were arrested last week in Istanbul.
Early this week a decision was taken for 6 of the arrested persons to maintain their detention and to remand them in custody. The others are provisionally free under bail, but the charges have been maintained. The President of Amnesty International had already been arrested earlier and is also remanded in custody.
For Didier Reynders, this situation is very worrying. It is a further step in the restrictions to the freedom of expression and to the work of civil society organizations since the state of emergency was established one year ago. These arrests have no justification and the accusations do not bear on criminal activities.
The Minister calls on the Turkish authorities to drop all charges against the 11 persons in question, immediately and without conditions. He underlines the importance of guaranteeing individual rights, in conformity with Turkey's obligations under international human rights treaties. Respect for human rights and democratic principles is an important element in our relation with Turkey. Accordingly Minister Reynders requests that this situation should be discussed during the next political dialogue between the EU and Turkey on July 25th.