How safe is Turkey and for whom?

Yesterday, the Turkish police raided houses and arrested leaders and MPs of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), the second biggest opposition party of the country. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said the arrests were made in respect to the rule of law, although HDP claims that the detainees were refused access to lawyer, while social media are reportedly blocked since yesterday.

The situation in Turkey is extremely worrisome: from the suffocating restriction of the liberty of expression and of press, to the violent repression of demonstrations, the suspension of implementation of the European Convention for Human Rights, the massive dismissals of public servants, and the reported tortures against the detainees after the coup; Turkey is gradually violating all procedural guarantees of a democratic country.

Given that soon the question of the extradition of the eight Turkish military officers will be discussed before the Greek judiciary, SolidarityNow stresses that no European country until today has extradited people who are at risk of torture or inhumane and degrading treatment. Also, no European country until today has extradited people to a state that doesn’t adhere to the basic rules of a fair trial, i.e. the uninhibited access to legal counsel and judgment by an impartial court made up of judges with guaranteed personal and operational independence. It is clear that Greece cannot bypass basic human rights which comprise the core of human dignity in order to pursue political objectives.

Regarding the asylum process, the Greek Minister of Migration Policy stated today that “the question whether Turkey remains a safe country after the arrest of HDP official is not valid. Greece applies all the principles of the asylum system, which means that the examination of asylum claims is personal, ad hoc”. SolidarityNow reminds that the principle of the individualized asylum process means that the Greek authorities are obliged to examine the individual circumstances of each case, not that they can only examine cases that they believe are politically useful.