Worrying developments in Turkey

Norway’s Government is following developments in Turkey closely after the attempted coup d’état on 15 July. ‘We are especially concerned about the extensive measures against government employees and the media,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende. He has discussed the situation with Turkey’s Foreign Minister, the presidency of the Council of the EU, and foreign ministers from a number of countries.

‘Norway supports the democratically elected Government of Turkey. Legal proceedings should be initiated against those responsible for the coup. However, so many employees in education, the judiciary and other sectors have been laid off or dismissed that the rule of law is threatened. A number of media channels have been closed down, and arrest orders have been issued for a large number of journalists. Norway shares the concern about the situation expressed by the EU and the Council of Europe,’ said Mr Brende.

Yesterday, Mr Brende discussed with European colleagues and the EU presidency, represented by Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák, how they can jointly prevail upon Turkey to fulfil its human rights obligations. Mr Brende also had a lengthy talk with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, in which he expressed Norway’s concerns about the rule of law, freedom of expression and the situation for journalists and academics in particular.

The Norwegian Government has been contacted by institutions, organisations and individuals in Norway who are concerned about the situation. Turkey has declared a 90-day state of emergency and announced that it will suspend parts of the European Convention on Human Rights during this period. Norway expects Turkey to fulfil its obligations under the Convention.

‘The principles of the rule of law must respected even in difficult situations such as in the wake of a coup d’état and in the fight against terrorism. We are aware that Turkey’s leaders have mentioned the possibility of reinstating the death penalty, and would like to point out that torture is prohibited regardless of the circumstance. We have witnessed negative developments in Turkey in recent years when it comes to human rights. The coup must not be used to silence the voices of the opposition,’ said Mr Brende.