MP Marianne Mikko (SDE), head of the Estonian Delegation to and Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is on an information gathering mission in Istanbul and Ankara this week as the PACE Monitoring Committee's rapporteur for the monitoring of Turkey.
"The parliamentarians and journalists whom the government of Turkey considers connected with the Kurdistan Workers' Party or the coup attempt of 2016 are still being arrested and detained in Turkey," Mikko said according to a Riigikogu press release. She emphasized that the coup attempt should not be used as a justification for suppressing peaceful opposition and forbidding freedom of speech to journalists and the media.
"The purpose of the visit is to gather information and get an overview of what the situation in Turkey is like at the moment in regard to following the principles of the rule of law, democracy and human rights," Mikko explained, adding that the rapporteurs would also meet with victims of the coup attempt and their families.
On the agenda are meetings with Turkey's Minister of European Union Affairs, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of the Interior as well as the speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, or Turkish Parliament. In the Parliament, there will also be meetings with representatives of the Turkish delegations to PACE, NATO PA and OSCE PA, committees handling issues related to human rights, equality, relations with the EU and Turkey's special situation, as well as political groups. Also on the agenda are meetings with representatives of Turkey's judiciary.
Accompanied by British co-rapporteur Nigel Evans, a member of the European Conservatives Group, Mikko will be in Turkey through Friday, March 30.
Last April, PACE decided to launch a monitoring procedure on the honoring of obligations and commitments in order to strengthen cooperation with Turkish authorities. The rapporteurs will prepare a report on respect for human rights, the freedom of the media and expression, as well as the principles of the rule of law in Turkey.
Editor: Aili Vahtla