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PACE monitors welcome return of Turkish opposition MP to parliament

The PACE co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Turkey, Thomas Hammarberg (Sweden, SOC) and John Howell (United Kingdom, EC/DA), have welcomed yesterday’s return to parliament of MP Enis Berberoğlu, a member of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

“The protection of parliamentary immunity – including for opposition parliamentarians – and respect for the rulings of the Constitutional Court are necessary conditions for a well-functioning democracy and a state governed by the rule of law,” they said.

Mr Berberoğlu was originally sentenced to 5 years and 10 months in prison in October 2017 for disclosing secret state information, following the publication of a news report on “MİT Trucks” in the Cumhuriyet newspaper. In June 2020 he was unexpectedly stripped of his parliamentary immunity, despite an earlier ruling upholding it, detained and later subjected to house arrest. After Turkey’s Constitutional Court twice ruled that his rights to be elected and engage in political activities had been violated, a lower court in Istanbul finally held a re-trial, which paved the way for his return to parliament.

“We hope that this welcome development will inspire the judicial system to fully comply with rulings of the Turkish Constitutional Court in the future, as well as with the binding judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, notably calling for the release of opposition leader Selahattin Demirtaş and philanthropist Osman Kavala,” the co-rapporteurs concluded.

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