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The EUDEL expresses its concern that the decision of the Constitutional Court of Turkey to release imprisoned journalists Mehmet Altan and Şahin Alpay has not been implemented.
According to the Constitutional Court ruling of 11 January, the ongoing detention of Altan and Alpay is disproportionate and infringes upon their rights to liberty, freedom of expression and freedom of the media. This decision was however rejected by lower courts, as well as publically criticized by a government representative making reference to the Constitutional Court overstepping its authority.
The lack of implementation of the Constitutional Court’s ruling and subsequent continued imprisonment of the two journalists further increases the EU’s serious concerns relating to the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression in Turkey.
The EU expects Turkish authorities to respect the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, including pre-trial detention as well as the principle of presumption of innocence. We also recall that all OSCE participating States agreed in Helsinki 2008 on “the role of constitutional courts or comparable institutions of the participating States as an instrument to ensure that the principles of the rule of law, democracy and human rights are observed in all state institutions”.
The EU reiterates its call on Turkey to respect the freedom of the media, and ensure a safe and enabling environment for media actors to carry out their work independently and without fear of reprisals. We call on Turkey to ensure that the Constitutional Court decision of 11 January 2018 in the cases of Altan and Alpay is implemented and that they are released without any further delay.