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Secretary General's visit to Turkey

25/06/2013

Secretary General's visit to Turkey
Thorbjørn Jagland and Recep Tayyip Erdogan 

On 25 June Secretary General Jagland met in Ankara with Prime Minister Erdogan, Foreign Minister Davutoğlu, Justice Minister Ergin, Interior Minister Güler and the Minister for Family and Social Affairs, Ms. Şahin, as well as with the Turkish Ombudsman, Mr. Ömeroğlu. The main topics of discussion were Turkey's reform process, its cooperation with the Council of Europe, European integration, neighbourhood policy and recent demonstrations and the response to them in Turkey and internationally.

 

In a cordial and cooperative atmosphere, Prime Minister Erdogan and Secretary General Jagland had an exchange of views on recent events in Turkey. The Secretary General underlined the importance of Turkey's commitment to Europe and European standards. "Europe needs Turkey and Turkey needs Europe", he said.

 

Justice Minister Ergin confirmed that an investigation was being carried out on the use of force by police during recent demonstrations. He also reported about problems caused by violent and extremist groups who undermined the intentions of peaceful demonstrators. The Minister presented the Secretary General with a report about Turkey's progress on judicial reforms and confirmed Turkey was not planning new regulations on the use of social media.

 

The Turkish Ombudsman, Mr. Ömeroğlu, reported on the activities of his organisation, which has been operative for the last three months, and the recent individual complaints it had received. The Secretary General offered the Council of Europe's support to the new Ombudsman organisation.

 

At his meeting with the Minister for Family and Social Policies, Ms Şahin, the Secretary General discussed Turkey's progress in combatting violence against women and domestic violence in line with the Council of Europe Istanbul Convention.

 

Concluding the meetings Mr. Jagland said: "Turkey and the Council of Europe listen to each other. Turkey has made impressive reforms. I have been assured that excessive use of police power which raised international concern in recent weeks will be fully investigated."

 

"I also welcome the EU's decision to open Chapter 22 of the accession negotiations with Turkey. The Council of Europe and Turkey will continue their good cooperation and I have offered our assistance in preparing accession negotiations in the area of justice and fundamental rights. I am pleased to say we have received a positive response to our proposal to involve civil society in the process."

 

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