Culture Action Europe is concerned by the Turkish President’s decision to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights. The decision follows other controversial announcements that Turkey will be in a state of emergency for the next three months, which gives Mr Erdoğan powers which can easily be misused- especially considering the purge on intellectuals and other critical thinkers following last Friday’s failed coup.
To be clear, CAE also condemns the attempted coup that intended to topple a government by force. But we fear now that the move may be just the continuation of Mr Erdoğan’s censorship of the Turkish press and attacks on freedom of expression. This includes censorship of artistic expression, which has long been implemented by the government, as a recent report by the Siyah Bant initiative (which carries out research on censorship of the arts in Turkey) on censorship in the cinematic field shows.
CAE therefore urges EU institutions and leaders to keep a vigilant eye on Mr Erdoğan’s approach to human rights and fundamental freedoms. Brussels recently proposed a strategy to include culture as a determinant part of its diplomacy, basing its foreign relations on core EU values that include freedom of expression and respect for human rights. It is now time for the EU to put its actions in line with its words.