STRASBOURG, France—The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Thursday adopted a declaration calling on Turkey to recognize the “Armenian, Assyrian, and Pontic Greek genocides,” reported the press office of the Heritage Party.
The document also draws attention to “the persistent scourge of impunity in Turkey,” as a result of which basic freedoms are being violated, especially those of journalists, broadcasters and publishers.
Presented by Heritage Party delegate to the PACE Zaruhi Postanjyan, the document also stresses that reforms in Turkey are not sufficient to deal with basic human right violations in that country.
“The Criminal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Act continue to seriously impede freedom of expression in Turkey. The provisions of these pieces of legislation have been applied to disproportionately limit freedom of expression, including that of journalists, broadcasters and publishers,” the documents pointed out.
“The amendments adopted so far by Turkey have not been sufficient to deal with the root causes of violations of the right to freedom of expression found by the European Court of Human Rights. We express our particular concern about the use of civil and criminal defamation provisions and invite public figures to refrain from initiating defamation proceedings which have serious effects on media freedom,” asserted the document.
“Recalling notably the murder of Hrant Dink, advocate of the freedom of expression, we urge the authorities to step up efforts to effectively protect journalists from violence and intimidation,” urged the document.
“We are concerned about the continuous denial of the Genocide of Armenians, Greeks, and Assyrians (Syriacs) by the Turkish authorities and the use of Article 301 of the Criminal Code for criminal persecution of journalists and writers,” said the document. “We strongly condemn the continuous violations of their international obligations by the authorities of Turkey.”
The PACE also adopted another document, again introduced by Postanjyan that relates to Armenia’s environmental crisis and Teghut in particular. It notes: “We strongly condemn the continuing violations of the international obligations of the Armenian government and we demand that all decisions regarding the Teghut mining exploitation be considered invalid.”