Council of Europe: Turkey must separate coup plotters from Gülen employees

Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.


Date posted: September 8, 2016

By EurActiv.com with agencies

Turkey must produce clear evidence in pursuing participants in a failed coup and avoid targeting teachers and journalists simply because they worked for firms run by the Muslim cleric Ankara portrays as its mastermind, the head of the European rights watchdog said Thursday (8 September).

Otherwise, said Thorbjorn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Turkey may be challenged in the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which is tasked with enforcing the European Convention of Human Rights.

Turkey said the judicial process would be fully transparent.

President Tayyip Erdoğan has cracked down on schools, media and businesses run by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen since the July coup. Several thousand soldiers have been expelled from the army and more than 100,000 people including civil servants, teachers, journalists and soldiers suspended or sacked.

“We are stressing to the Turks that they have to present clear evidence, be able to separate those who were clearly behind the coup and those who have been in some way or another connected to or working for this so-called Gülen network,” Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, told Reuters.

“They are not necessarily guilty. For teachers and journalists that worked in schools or media outlets of Gülen – you cannot say automatically that because they’ve done that, they are part of this military coup.”

Gülen has denied being behind the coup.

Anti-terrorism laws

Turkey has accused the European Union of double standards in criticising the crackdown while, in its view, showing hesitation in condemning the coup that killed about 240 people. Western officials have said they fear Erdogan may use the action as a cover for suppressing any opposition

Jagland was speaking after Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu briefed representatives of Council of Europe states in the French city of Strasbourg on the situation in his country after the coup.

Speaking to reporters before the CoE session, Cavusolgu outlined plans in dealing with the aftermath of the coup.

“Be assured that this process will be very transparent and the supervision of the European Court of Human Rights is still valid and the Convention on Human Rights is also a guideline for Turkey even during this difficult time.”

Jagland is also trying to persuade Turkey to apply more narrowly its counter-terrorism laws. The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg has in the past ruled against convictions of journalists on the basis of these regulations.

While Turkey is a member of the CoE, it is not in the EU. The 28-nation bloc made easing visa requirements for Turks traveling to the EU conditional on changing the terrorism laws.

Turkey says it needs a broad interpretation of such regulations to meet a threat from Kurdish rebels and from Islamic State militants.

“Journalists who have reported on the work of terrorist organisations, which is the job of journalists – you can’t say one supports terrorists by reporting on them,” Jagland said.

Three journalists working for the nationalist Yenicag newspaper were detained at their homes and were being held at a sports hall in Ankara, the daily said on its website, describing the men as critics of the Gülen movement.

Turan Yaldir, a former lawmaker from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), was detained in Ankara on similar charges, Yenicag also reported.

“Nationalists will not forget those who are doing this merely to sideline political opponents,” Meral Aksener, a senior MHP figure, said in a statement on Twitter. Aksener this year mounted a challenge to the MHP’s veteran leader but has faced legal stumbling blocks and could face expulsion from the party.

The chief prosecutor’s office in Ankara launched an investigation into 105 suspected leaders of cells in 17 provinces said to be responsible for military personnel in what authorities have dubbed the “Gulenist Terrorist Organisation,” the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

Authorities have already detained tens of thousands of people over alleged links with Gulen, whose religious movement publicly espouses interfaith dialogue and education, and have made rooting out Gülen’s followers their top priority.

The crackdown has alarmed Western allies and rights groups who fear a witch hunt. The body of a teacher who was dismissed last week over suspected Gülen links was discovered after an apparent suicide, the Dogan news agency said on Wednesday.

Source: EurActive.com , September 8, 2016


Related News

Al-Nusra Claims Responsibility For Murder Of Russian Ambassador, Warns Of More Attacks

The Jabhat Fatah al-Sham organization (formerly the al-Nusra Front) claimed to be responsible for Monday’s murder of Russian Ambassador Andrey Karlov’s in Ankara. Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu had even told his US counterpart John Kerry that both Turkey and Russia “know” that the Gulen movement was behind the ambassador’s murder.

Mother detained over Gülen links while twins left in intensive care

A day after former teacher Ş.A., mother of a week-old premature infant, was taken into police custody over links to the faith-based Gülen movement while she was on her way to the hospital to feed the baby, another mother was detained as part of the same investigation while her twins were left in an intensive care unit.

Why did Turkey seize Bank Asya?

In September 2014, in an address to the Turkish Industry and Business Association, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the following statement: “No effort is underway to cause the bankruptcy of a bank. That bank is already bankrupt. They are carrying water by hand to keep it afloat.”

Lynching campaign: Democratic stance of Zaman and Today’s Zaman

We have been observing a systematic campaign of lynching in social media against Zaman and Today’s Zaman. Zaman has been on the side of democracy since it was launched. To this end, it has supported the democratic reforms that Turgut Özal initiated as well as the EU membership bid and the AK Party’s democratic reforms. Zaman has never wavered in its democratic stance despite all direct and indirect pressures.

Police raid Gülen-inspired prep schools in Erzurum

In another government-orchestrated operation targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, popularly known as the Hizmet movement, police officers and inspectors from a number of ministries and government bodies carried out raids early on Thursday on FEM prep schools established by Hizmet volunteers in Erzurum.

Students from 140 countries to participate in Turkish Olympiads this year

A total of 2,000 students from 140 countries will attend the 11th International Turkish Olympiads, which brings together hundreds of foreign students studying at Turkish schools around the world, this year. A press conference was held by a member of the International Turkish Olympiads organizing committee, Işılay Saygın, on Monday in İzmir to give details […]

Latest News

5 children abandoned in front of prison as mother detained

Erdogan targets Hizmet inspired schools on Africa visit

Recep Tayyip Erdogan is about to make himself a virtual dictator in Turkey

A Case Study In How Lobbyists For Turkish Government Manipulate The American Media on Gulen Issue

Cambodia’s Zaman Institutes Get Big-Name Backing

Gülen says he could be blamed for assassination of an MHP, CHP politician

German court fines pro-Erdoğan daily for calling Hizmet movement ‘terrorist’

Erdogan plotted Turkey purge before coup, say Brussels spies

My Meeting With Fethullah Gülen, the Man Accused of Plotting Turkey’s Coup

In Case You Missed It

Lawyer Karahan: Hate crimes against Hizmet can be prosecuted at ECtHR, ICC

Nine decades later, Hizmet gives back to Karachi

Bank Asya answers smear campaign

Australian PM praises int’l language festival’s contribution to peace

Volunteers Back from Medical Service in Somalia

Hizmet and Turkey’s relations with Nigeria

Children from across the globe meet in Germany for peace

Former US Ambassador David Newton praises Gülen

Taraf, Baransu file criminal complaint against PM Erdoğan

Copyright 2017 Hizmet News