HL Deb 11 March 1998 vol 587 c65WA
Lord Hylton

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they consider that the treatment of the Ankara chairman of the Labour Party (Emegin Partisi), of Haluk Gerger, journalist, of Ismail Beskci, academic, of Yasar Kemal, novelist, of Akin Birdal, president of the Turkish Human Rights Association, and of Esber Yagmurdereli, lawyer, has been in accordance with the undertakings on human rights given by Turkey at the time of the signing of the Association Agreement with the European Union, and, if not, what action they propose to take. [HL817]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The Association Agreement of 1963 between Turkey and the European Community noted that the contracting parties would consider the possibility of Turkey's accession to the Community when the operation of the agreement had made it possible to envisage the full acceptance by Turkey of the obligations arising out of the treaty setting up the Community.

Turkey's obligations to respect fundamental human rights and freedom of expression are laid out in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The treatment of those listed in the question appears to fall short of the standards required under the European convention. We have raised these apparent shortcomings with the Turkish authorities and will continue to make representations. We welcome the Turkish Government's stated commitment to increase freedom of expression in Turkey and look forward to early legislation to this end.