On 7 and 8 September 2017, the working group between the Council of Europe and the Turkish Ministry of Justice met in Ankara to discuss issues relating to freedom of expression and the fight against terrorism in Turkey.
The Council of Europe experts also held exchanges with members of the newly-created commission in charge of reviewing measures adopted under the state of emergency decree laws, including dismissals of public officials and the closure of media outlets.
The working group discussed issues related to Turkey’s implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and in particular to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights on freedom of expression.
Legal consequences of the recent developments in the country were reviewed, focusing in particular on the implementation of the relevant legislation in compliance with the ECHR.
The need to ensure that decisions of public prosecutors and first instance courts are aligned with the ECHR and the case-law of the Turkish Constitutional Court was emphasised.
In particular, it was underlined that, as deprivation of liberty should be a measure of last resort, pre-trial detention should be based on reasonable suspicion as required by the ECHR; it should also be in full accordance with the case-law of the Strasbourg court.
The importance of the continuing dialogue and cooperation between Turkey and the Council of Europe was underlined.
The working group was established at the beginning of 2015 upon the initiative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and the Minister of Justice as part of Turkey’s action plan to prevent violations of the ECHR.The working group is composed of representatives of the Secretary General and officials from the Ministry of Justice. Judges of the Court of Cassation and the Constitutional Court in Turkey also took part on this occasion.