See related documents

Written declaration No. 409 | Doc. 11589 | 18 April 2008

Judicial proceedings against the Justice and Development Party in Turkey

Signatories: Mr Luc Van den BRANDE, Belgium, EPP/CD ; Mr Miloš ALIGRUDIĆ, Serbia, EPP/CD ; Mr Aleksandër BIBERAJ, Albania ; Mr Márton BRAUN, Hungary, EPP/CD ; Mr Mátyás EÖRSI, Hungary, ALDE ; Mr Valeriy FEDOROV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Jean-Charles GARDETTO, Monaco, EPP/CD ; Mr Andreas GROSS, Switzerland, SOC ; Mr Davit HARUTYUNYAN, Armenia, EDG ; Ms Danuta JAZŁOWIECKA, Poland ; Mr Konstantin KOSACHEV, Russian Federation, EDG ; Mr Tiny KOX, Netherlands, UEL ; Mr Göran LINDBLAD, Sweden, EPP/CD ; Mr René van der LINDEN, Netherlands ; Mr Yevhen MARMAZOV, Ukraine, UEL ; Mr Dick MARTY, Switzerland, ALDE ; Ms Christine McCAFFERTY, United Kingdom ; Ms Nino NAKASHIDZÉ, Georgia ; Mr Andrea RIGONI, Italy, ALDE ; Mr Samad SEYIDOV, Azerbaijan, EDG ; Mr Paul WILLE, Belgium

This written declaration commits only those who have signed it.

We are concerned about judicial proceedings recently instituted by the general prosecutor in Turkey to dissolve the Justice and Development Party and ban 71 of its members from politics. We are concerned that the Constitutional Court has declared this request admissible.

Recognising the independence of the judiciary and prosecution, we emphasise that the freedoms of association and expression are essential in a pluralist democracy. Forming and joining political parties and expressing political opinions are integral parts of the rights guaranteed by Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This includes opinions which amount to seeking to change the constitutional order, provided they do not incite violence.

We expect the Turkish prosecution authorities and judiciary to respect the case law of the European Court of Human rights when considering political party closure and bans on individual members.

Turkey has a legacy of political party closures. Cases concerning party closures have resulted in the European Court ruling that they contravened the ECHR. Despite reforms of the Constitution of 1995 and 2001 and of the Law on Political Parties in 2003, attempts to close parties continue. Further reforms are needed.

Encouraged by the resolute commitment of Turkey to pursue the democratic reform process, we urge Turkey to consider, without delay, further constitutional and legislative reforms to conform fully with the ECHR.