Suspend Turkey-EU refugee deal over human rights crackdown, say Lib Dems

European Convention may not be 'switched on and off' by Erdogan


Turkey’s suspension of the European Convention on Human Rights should mean the ‘immediate suspension’ of the EU-Turkey deal on refugees, the Liberal Democrats have warned.

The party said it would be ‘inexcusable’ to deport asylum seekers to a country which rejects human rights and is ruled by an ‘increasingly despotic’ president.

Turkish President Erdogan suspended the ECHR as part of a state of emergency declared today after Friday’s failed military coup.

His government has arrested over 50,000 people from the military, police, judiciary and education sector for their alleged involvement in the plot – with human rights groups warning of a crackdown.

Tom Brake, Lib Dem spokesman on foreign affairs, said:

‘The whole purpose of the ECHR is that it guarantees universal human rights, and is not to be turned on and off at the whim of a paranoid and increasingly despotic president.’

He added:

‘I am calling for an immediate suspension of the EU-Turkey agreement, as it is inexcusable that we would deport seekers of asylum back to a country which has openly rejected human rights and violated international law.’

Brake also called for an emergency meeting of NATO to discuss potentially suspending Turkey’s membership.

The EU deal with Turkey was meant to stop migrants from the Middle East and North Africa reaching Europe. Turkey currently has over two million people in refugee camps, many having fled the civil war in Syria, which began in 2011.

This week the University College Union condemned Erdogan’s arrest of teachers and academics, while Amnesty International has called his actions ‘crackdown of exceptional proportions’.

Turkey’s Left-wing Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has called for an investigation into the coup attempt, and a ‘democratic front’ against military coups and Erdogan’s police state.

See: Turkey’s Left calls for ‘democratic front’ against military coups – and Erdogan’s iron fist

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.