Following the extraordinary meeting of the Bureau of the European Economic and Social Committee, held on 10 November 2016, the President made the following statement:
I wish to voice my very serious concern at the current situation in Turkey concerning respect for the fundamental rights.
While the crime committed in attempting to seize power by violence is to be strongly condemned, under no circumstances can an attempted coup d'état serve to justify any deviation from respect of the fundamental rights.
It moreover gives cause for alarm that citizens, civil society organisations, journalists and elected representatives, who are not supporters of the attempted coup, are being deprived of certain of their freedoms, with no evidence of their involvement. It is crucial that Turkey remain committed to meeting its obligations, specifically in keeping with the European Convention on Human Rights, by ensuring continuing compliance with the standards of the Council of Europe and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights regarding human rights, even where there are derogations justified by the state of emergency.
I call on the Turkish authorities now to seek a different path to overcoming this difficult challenge: it is in the interests of Turkey itself, of its people and of its future relations with the European Union to move decisively and irreversibly towards a pluralist, peaceful society in which all ideas, except for incitement to violence, may be freely expressed, where freedom of expression and of association, including the right to demonstrate in public and to take part in strikes, are absolute, and where all the components of civil society, including minorities of every kind, may exist and speak out without fear. I am convinced that this is the best way of finally disposing of any risks to the country, of bringing together its people in spite of their diversity, and of efficiently preparing its accession to the European Union.