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Turkey should listen to the Council of Europe on the rule of law

9 25 26
21.02.2018

It was very unfortunate that the visits of United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland to the Turkish capital took place on the same days last week. Given the importance of Tillerson’s visit because of highly strained ties between Ankara and Washington, Jagland’s visit and the messages he conveyed were underemphasized and poorly transmitted to the Turkish public.

Apart from his routine meetings with senior officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Jagland’s Ankara program included a speech to candidate judges and prosecutors of the Justice Academy. As his visit came just weeks after a Constitutional Court ruling on arrested journalists was rejected by a lower court - in an open violation of the principle of the rule of law - and on the same day as three prominent journalists were given life sentences, Jagland’s address to future judges and prosecutors was significant.

Here are some excerpts from his speech, which started with a reminder to future judges and prosecutors: “Over the coming years you will gain experience, progress in your profession and become the judges and prosecutors who will help shape Turkey’s future: Turkey’s European future. For all that Turkey’s relationship with the European Union remains an unresolved issue, its relationship with the Council of Europe should be clear.”

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© Hürriyet Daily News