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High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini has stated that they hope Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) imprisoned former Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş will be released as soon as possible.
Mogherini has currently been in the capital city of Ankara for the Turkey-EU High Level Political Dialogue Meeting. EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn also attended the meeting held today (November 22).
Mogherini, Hahn and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held a joint press conference after the meeting.
Mogherini: We want Turkey to be a democratic country
In her speech at the joint press conference, Mogherini also addressed the judgement of the ECtHR regarding Selahattin Demirtaş. She stated, " We hope that Demirtaş will be released."
Mogherini also said, "Turkey is a candidate country and is also a key strategic partner for the European Union. The EU wants to see a strong Turkey. A strong Turkey means a democratic Turkey. We want to say that we have positive relations. We want to work together in the foreign policy."
Judgement of the ECtHR on Selahattin Demirtaş
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) pronounced its judgement on Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) former Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş on November 20.
The ECtHR has ruled that all necessary measures shall be adopted to put an end to the pre-trial detention of Demirtaş, who has been behind bars in the Edirne Type F Prison for 2 years. The court has also sentenced Turkey to pay 25 thousand Euro in total in pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages.
Hahn: We are strongly concerned about detentions
Speaking at the joint press conference, Johannes Hahn also addressed the detention of 13 academics and rights defenders by stating,
"We expressed our strong concerns about the detention of several prominent academics and civil society representatives, including recently."
Detention of 13 academics and rights defenders
An operation was launched against two academics from Boğaziçi and İstanbul Bilgi Universities and people from civil society on November 16. It was reported that a detention warrant had been issued against 20 people.
As part of the operation, the following 13 people were detained: Prof. Dr. Betül Tanbay from Boğaziçi University and an Academic for Peace signatory to the declaration "We will not be a party to this crime"; Prof. Dr. Turgut Tarhanlı, Dean of the Faculty of Law of İstanbul Bilgi University; Anadolu Kültür Executive Board Deputy Chair Yiğit Ekmekçi; executive board member Ali Hakan Altınay; General Coordinator of Anadolu Kültür Asena Günal; its former director general and Co-Director of Truth Justice Memory Center Meltem Aslan; Bora Sarı from Anadolu Kültür; Ayşegül Güzel, Filiz Telek, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, Yusuf Cıvır, Hande Özhabeş and producer Çiğdem Mater.
In a statement released by the İstanbul Security Directorate, it was alleged that businessperson Osman Kavala, who has been behind bars for over a year without an indictment, was responsible for organizing and financing the Gezi Park protests in 2013, adding that a warrant of detention had been issued against 20 people in İstanbul, Adana, Antalya and Muğla for having acted in an hierarchical order with Kavala.
Except for Yiğit Aksakoğlu, all of the detained were released on November 17 and 18.
At the press conference, Mogherini, Hahn and Çavuşoğlu also addressed the refugee agreement signed by Turkey and the EU in 2016 and the ensuing funds provided to Turkey by the Union.
Mogherini, Hahn and Çavuşoğlu had the following dialogue about the issue:
Çavuşoğlu: We have received only 1.7 billion Euro from the EU so far. The EU is an unreliable source for us due to double standards and hypocrisy.
Hahn: A decision was made two days ago. The expenditure must be seen. We have to see where and how this funding will be used. It is said that the money has been spent quite quickly. The European Court of Accounts has been criticizing us on some points.
Mogherini: There are no double standards. You like it or not, but, you cannot find a partner that is more reliable than the European Union.
EU asked the unaccountable 1.1 billion Euro
The European Court of Auditors, which is responsible for auditing the financial conditions of the EU, has published a report regarding the funds that have been provided by the EU to Turkey for refugees.
The report dated November 13, 2018 has highlighted that the auditors of the European Court of Auditors met with officials from several ministries in Turkey, but, the Ministry of Family and Social Policies refused to share information with the auditors about who have benefited from the two projects initiated by the ministry as part of the program.
* Photograph: Cem Özdel - Ankara / AA
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