On Friday, the European Union alerted Turkey that a heavy prison punishment imposed on journalist, Can Dundar, would harm the country’s human rights and Ankara’s ties with Brussels.
On Wednesday, a Turkish court convicted the exiled former editor-in-chief of the respected Cumhuriyet daily to more than 27 years in prison with espionage and terrorism accusations. It should be indicated that Can Dundar departed to Germany in 2016 following a failed coup while the Turkish government accuses the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen.
A statement published by the EU’s external affairs arm stated that the European Union has repeatedly conveyed its serious concerns about continued negative developments as regards the rule of law, fundamental rights and the judiciary in Turkey.
It related: The decision of a Turkish Court to sentence journalist Can Dundar for what is his fundamental right to freedom of expression and (businessman) Osman Kavala’s continuous pre-trial detention go, regrettably, in the opposite direction.
It also added: As a candidate (member) country and long-standing member of the Council of Europe, Turkey urgently needs to make concrete and sustained progress in the respect of fundamental rights, which are a cornerstone of EU-Turkey relations.
In recent years, ties between the EU and Turkey have been severely strained because of many issues, and Brussels criticized the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s severe post-coup crackdown.
In fact, there are regular exchanges, particularly about human rights that Ankara states that reflect EU double-standards and the interference in its internal affairs. Whereas, Turkey’s EU membership application has been stopped in the presence of the resulting anger.