For Written Answer on : 06/09/2019
Question Number(s): 41 Question Reference(s): 36084/19
Department: Foreign Affairs and Trade
Asked by: Seán Crowe T.D.

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Turkish Government has removed three democratically elected Kurdish mayors from office and Turkish authorities arrested more than 400 political activists in August 2019 as part of a deepening crackdown on Kurdish political parties (details supplied); his views on this development and the worsening human rights and democratic situation in Turkey; and if he will raise the issue with his Turkish counterpart. (Details Supplied) the mayors of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van, who are all members of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), were democratically elected by large majorities in March 2019

The Irish Government, together with our European partners, continues to view the situation in Turkey with regard to human rights, rule of law, and democracy with grave concern.

The Conclusions on Enlargement adopted on 18 June at the General Affairs Council noted that there has been continued backsliding on fundamental rights in Turkey, and that arrests, detentions, and other measures targeting journalists, academics, civil society actors, and elected officials cannot be condoned. Both the EU and the Government have repeatedly called on Turkey to reverse these negative trends and allow Turkish citizens to freely exercise their fundamental rights.

The dismissal of three democratically elected mayors and their replacement with Governors appointed by the central Government is a particular cause for concern. Such measures undermine the democratic outcomes of the local elections that were held at the end of March, and deprive voters of political representation at the local level. Anti-terror legislation must not be used as a political tool and must be exercised with respect for fundamental rights, the rule of law, and democracy.

Together with our European partners, we will continue to monitor developments in Turkey, and raise our concerns on human rights, freedom of expression, rule of law, and democracy.