The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks [official website] on Wednesday called [press release] on Turkey to focus on human rights in the wake of their anti-terrorism security measures. The remarks were made at the end of a nine-day official visit to the country to observe the ways in which the Turkish government was balancing human rights concerns among growing security threats. The Commissioner’s concerns are due to his observations and his discussions with the local community. To combat terrorism, Turkey has increased their interactions with media by having trustees take over publications, which has led to censorship fears. In addition, the investigations have reportedly curtailed basic judicial rights in order to complete investigations in a timely fashion. The Commissioner argues that the measures will not only impact human rights in the long term but also prevent the growth of democracy in the country.
Turkey and its treatment of human rights are cause for concern due to the growing partnership with the EU caused by the refugee crisis. EU leaders agreed [JURIST report] to a deal with Turkey in March to stem migrant flows, particularly of Syrian refugees, to Europe in return for financial and political incentive to Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated [JURIST report] last week that EU states are violating international law by breaking their migrant pact with Turkey by not allowing the country to extradite suspected terrorists. Earlier this month Amnesty International [advocacy website] reported [JURIST report] that Turkey has been forcibly returning up to 100 refugees to Syria per day and expressed concern for the possible future of transported migrants.