OSCE PA President Wolfgang Grossruck today released the following statement regarding the situation in Turkey, which is scheduled to host the Annual Session of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly beginning 29 June in Istanbul.
“Like our colleagues around the world, we have been monitoring with great concern the ongoing events throughout Turkey. The Parliamentary Assembly has a unique interest in these affairs as our membership will gather in Istanbul next week for our Annual Session.
I appreciate the assurances we received yesterday from the Grand National Assembly of Turkey that the situation in Istanbul will not hinder our meetings and debates on important global issues related to our shared commitments to comprehensive security, including human rights.
Regarding the demonstrations, we stand in support of peaceful expression and assembly. Whether demonstrators stand or sit, speak or sing, they have a basic right to assemble and freely express themselves, and it must be respected. However, we respect a government’s duty to preserve peaceful order, and those who commit and incite vandalism and violence should receive a proportionate response from law enforcement.
“I welcome the dialogue the government entered into with several protest leaders last week and I regret that violence continued after these discussions. Mass arrests and the use of force to disrupt demonstrations are not emblematic of a democracy nor are such actions in line with Turkey’s commitments as an OSCE participating State.”