ECR Party

ACRE Statement on Turkey


We deplore the violent coup attempt of 2016. We also appreciate the enormous burden placed on Turkey by the Syrian war and refugee crisis – a burden they have shouldered cheerfully and uncomplainingly.

An unstable environment, however, is not a justification for weakening democratic norms, abandoning political pluralism or moving toward a more authoritarian style of government.

We have been concerned, since 2014, by some of the actions of the Turkish government. Our values, as expressed in our Reykjavík Declaration, stress the importance of the rule of law and limited government. That necessarily means respect for critical media, an independent judiciary, an impartial civil service and a free opposition.

We have undertaken two missions to Turkey to assess the compatibility of AK Party with the values of ACRE and the principles set out in the Reykjavík Declaration.

In September 2016, some of our member parties tabled a motion asking for a vote on whether AK Party was compliant with our principles and whether its membership of the Alliance should be suspended. After a further debate and exchange of views, votes will be held in February 2017.

The ACRE Council notes with concern the continuing developments in Turkey. ACRE understands that an attempted coup d’état can lead to measures that would not be contemplated in normal times. None the less, a coup cannot justify a permanent shift in the balance of power, nor a continuing State of Emergency, nor a purge of officials who were uninvolved, nor the mistreatment of detainees.

Similarly, we accept the need for some reforms of the 1980 constitution, and recognize that it is for the Turkish electorate to determine its own constitutional arrangements. But we stress that the supremacy of national parliaments is part of the Reykjavík Declaration, and oppose any shift in power that would lead to a less pluralist or more autocratic form of regime.

We will keep the situation under review. We urge AK Party, as the coup passes into history, to normalize the situation, to end the state of emergency, to respect the freedom of the parliamentary opposition and of critical media, to restore the immunity of parliamentarians when acting in a political capacity, to expedite the trials or else move to the release of those detained in connection with political offences, and to ensure that the new constitutional dispensation provides for a proper balance of powers. We shall continue to monitor the compatibility of AK Party, as of all our member parties, with our basic values.