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Council of Europe head tells Turkish military to keep out of politics

Council of Europe head tells Turkish military to keep out of politics

The head of Europe's top human rights organization expressed shock and concern Monday at the stance taken by Turkey's armed forces in the country's political crisis.
The Turkish military on Friday threatened to intervene in the presidential election and urged the government to curb Islamic influences.
"This statement looks like a deliberate attempt by the armed forces to influence the election of a new president," said Terry Davis, secretary-general of the Council of Europe. "They should stay in their barracks and keep out of politics."
Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul is running for president with the backing of the Islamic-rooted government, but he faces opposition from Turkey's deeply secular military and civilian establishment.
"In a democracy, the military are under the command of democratically elected state authorities," Davis said in a statement released from his office in Strasbourg, France.
"The armed forces do not have any democratic legitimacy of their own and therefore cannot have a political role," he added. "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."
He urged all political parties in Turkey "to take a clear stand against interference by the armed forces in the political process."
The Council of Europe was set up after World War II to promote democracy and human rights in Europe. Turkey jointed shortly after its foundation in 1949, but was suspended from organization's the parliamentary assembly from 1981 to 1984 after a military takeover.


Updated : 2021-03-06 04:54 GMT+08:00