The end of the state of emergency in place in Turkey since the coup attempt of 2016 is a welcome step, a spokesperson for the European Union’s foreign policy arm, the European External Action Service (EEAS), said on July 19.
“At the same time, we believe the adoption of new legislative proposals granting extraordinary powers to the authorities and retaining several restrictive elements of the state of emergency would dampen any positive effect of its termination,” the EEAS spokesperson said.
“We reaffirm our expectations that Turkey implements the key recommendations of the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission and other relevant institutions and to respect the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.”
The spokesperson said that in view of the termination of the state of emergency, the EU also expected Turkey to follow through and reverse all measures that continue to impact negatively on the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and the fundamental freedoms that are at the core of any democratic state.
These include freedom of expression, freedom of association and procedural rights.
“And we expect Turkey’s derogations from its obligations under the European Convention for Human Rights to cease with the lifting of the state of emergency.”
Concrete and lasting improvements in the area of rule of law and fundamental freedoms remain essential to the prospects of EU-Turkey relations, the spokesperson said.
The state of emergency was declared after the failed coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. Seven three-month renewals were declared. During the state of emergency, tens of thousands of people in Turkey were detained or fired from their posts.
The decision not to renew the state of emergency follows the re-election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan as president, with that role now significantly strengthened. Ahead of the election, opposition parties had pledged that, should they be elected to govern, they would lift the state of emergency.