Friday

22nd Mar 2019

Turkey must not stifle democracy, say EU and US

  • Kerry (l): the US "firmly urges the government of Turkey to maintain calm and stability throughout the country" (Photo: Council of the EU)

The EU and US have urged Turkish authorities to show restraint and respect the rule of law in the aftermath of the failed coup on Friday (15 July).

"We continue to condemn the attempts at a coup, and call for full observance of Turkey's constitutional order and rule of law," EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday at a joint press conference with US secretary of state John Kerry in Brussels.

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"We need Turkey to respect democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms."

Kerry said he "firmly urge[d] the government of Turkey to maintain calm and stability throughout the country" and to "uphold the highest standard of respect for the nation's democratic institutions and the rule of law".

"We will certainly support bringing the perpetrators of the coup to justice, but we also caution against a reach that goes well beyond that," he said.

Kerry was in Brussels for a meeting with the EU's 28 foreign ministers that was planned before events in Turkey.

About 6,000 people have been arrested since Saturday, including army commanders, constitutional judges and president Erdogan's own aide-de-camp.

Mogherini and Kerry said the EU and the US would remain "vigilant" in the coming days.

"Nato has a requirement with respect of democracy and Nato will measure very carefully what is happening," Kerry said.



Mogherini stressed that Turkey, as a member of the Council of Europe, was bound by the European Convention on Human Rights. She added that "no country can become an EU member state if it introduces the death penalty".

Kerry said that the US had received no formal notice from the Turkish authorities to extradite US-exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom they accuse of being behind the coup.

He said the US would examine any legal request but under the condition that Turkey sent "evidence, not allegations".

"We need to see genuine evidence that would stand the standards of scrutiny that exist in many countries," he said.

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