PACE votes to monitor Turkey

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has voted in favour of re-opening monitoring procedures in Turkey, the Associated Press reports.

The assembly’s monitoring committee raised concerns over constitutional amendments that were approved this month in a national referendum amid a state of emergency.

Turkey rapporteur Marianne Mikko said on Tuesday the amendments, which significantly expand the powers of the presidency, “do not comply with our fundamental and common understanding of democracy.”

She stressed that the monitoring process is not “punishment” but a bid to strengthen dialogue with Turkey.

The committee was critical of the atmosphere ahead of the referendum and of emergency decrees after the failed coup attempt in July 2016.

The committee pointed to the detention of parliamentarians and journalists and the sweeping dismissals of civil servants allegedly linked to the coup.

The Turkish foreign ministry said it strongly condemned the “unjust decision” of a European rights body to put it on a monitoring watchlist, adding that Ankara was left with no choice but to reconsider its relations with the body.

“Deciding to re-open the monitoring procedure on Turkey… under the guidance of malicious circles at the PACE is a disgrace to this organ, which claims to be the cradle of democracy,” the ministry said in a statement, adding that xenophobia and Islamophobia were “spreading with violence” across Europe.

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