Press release – 271(2007)

Council of Europe Secretary General: Turkish military should stay in their barracks and keep out of politics

Strasbourg, 29.04.2007 - “I am very concerned about the recent public statement by the Turkish military. This statement looks like a deliberate attempt by the armed forces to influence the election of a new President in Turkey. They should stay in their barracks and keep out of politics.

“The Turkish people have achieved great progress in respect for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law since Turkey’s accession to the Council of Europe in 1949. These achievements should not be put at risk", said Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

"In a democracy, the military are under the command of democratically elected State authorities. The armed forces do not have any democratic legitimacy of their own and therefore cannot have a political role. I am shocked that the military in a member state of the Council of Europe should behave in this way in the midst of a democratic and constitutional process such as the election of the Head of State. I call on all political parties to take a clear stand against interference by the armed forces in the political process."

Terry Davis added that he was confident that Turkey was a mature democracy and capable of electing its President as provided in its Constitution.

Council of Europe Press Division
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