Situation in Turkey
The European magistrates call for the release of thousands of judges and prosecutors arbitrarily detained by Turkish government
- Published: 19 July 2016
After the Turkish government purged and arrested thousands of judges and prosecutors, MEDEL (European Magistrates for Democracy and Liberty) urged on July 18, 2016, all the European institutions "to condemn in the strongest terms the brutal attack of the Turkish authorities to the independence of the judiciary in the country".
The European magistrates also called “for the immediate release of the thousands of judges and prosecutors who were arbitrarily deposed from the bench and arrested without the respect of any basic principles of Rule of law”.
Over 2,700 judges and prosecutors were purged by the Turkish authorities, with a declared intent to cleanse the judiciary system in the country.
"Purging a quarter of the judges and prosecutors in matters of hours, and arresting many of them, are actions specific to totalitarian regimes, not to a democracy", the European magistrates said.
This action against judges and prosecutors comes after the Turkish government dismantled the free media and civil society in the country.
Over the past years MEDEL raised numerous concerns in its reports about the decline of democracy in Turkey.
"All those warnings sent to the European institutions were ignored, and the environment for arbitrary actions against Turkish judiciary and for the dismantling of the independence of the judiciary has been created", the letter said.
After the failed coup, all the European leaders have claimed the support for the democratically elected government in Turkey. “However, democratic governments have to respect the Rule of law and the human rights of every person”, the magistrates stated.
"The European institutions cannot remain silent anymore to the gross violations of democratic rules in Turkey and must take action when the judiciary, the guarantor of the Rule of law, is attacked in such a brutal and arbitrary way”, the magistrates added.
The European magistrates said that “the special situation in Turkey does not justify the purge and arbitrary arrest of thousands of magistrates".
"Security cannot be built on brutal violation of fundamental rights or on dismantling the independence of the judiciary, nor on the silence of the international democratic institutions witnessing such deviations from democracy”, they added.
MEDEL expressed “full solidarity with the judges and prosecutors in Turkey who defend the values of democracy, Rule of law, fundamental rights and liberty of every citizen, and will take all the necessary actions to make sure detained magistrates are released and return safely back to their families”.
"We call on every judge and prosecutor to demand their governments to condemn the actual coup against the judiciary and democracy in Turkey", said Gualtiero Michelini, the president of MEDEL.
The letter to the European institutions can be accessed HERE.
MEDEL - (Magistrats européens pour la démocratie et les libertés) - is an organization of European judges and prosecutors created with the main purpose to defend the independence of judiciary, democracy and the human rights. The organization has 22 national associations from 15 European countries, including Turkey.
Berlin, Germany – July 19, 2016