Congress concerned by detention of Nurhayat Altun and other elected representatives detained in Turkey


Leyla Güven adressed the 17th Congress Session in October 2009

Nurhayat Altun, Congress member, arrested on 17 November 2016

Nurhayat Altun, ‘co-mayor’ of Tunceli, was arrested on 17 November 2016 and is being held in Kocaeli F-type prison, in north-west Turkey.

A 50,000 word indictment against her has been drawn up by the Turkish prosecutors. Her trial began on 3 July 2017 and was adjourned to 23 October 2017 due to the heavy workload of the court. The prosecutors are asking for 22 years’ imprisonment.

Ms Altun, who has been a member of the Turkish delegation of the Congress since 2014, is an elected councillor of the Municipal Council of Tunceli, designated by her municipal council as ‘co-mayor’. She is a member of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP).

Since her detention, a request by the Congress to visit her in prison has been refused by the Turkish authorities. She has informed the Congress that she is being kept in isolation and claims that she was detained because of her work to promote gender equality and that more than 30 female co-mayors from the pro-Kurdish party are in prison in similar circumstances.

In its Resolution 416 on the Fact-Finding mission on the situation of local elected representatives in Turkey, adopted at the 32nd session, the Congress agreed "to put the review of the situation of Nurhayat Altun on the agenda of its Bureau meetings until the end of legal proceedings" and pointed out that the arrest of a local elected representative must be a decision duly substantiated in domestic law, taken in conformity with the standards of the Council of Europe and, in particular, with the European Convention on Human Rights. The Congress also called for Turkish legislation to be revised, in order to align its definition of terrorism with European standards, notably the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, and called for a revision of the ministerial instructions of 11 November 2016, with a view to decriminalising the appointment of co-mayors.

At its meeting on 16 June 2017, the Congress Bureau decided to create this webpage dedicated to Ms Altun, which will be updated as more information concerning her situation becomes available.