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NATO Calls Turkey ‘Only Member Country That is not Free’

NATO criticized Turkey in a report for the first time in terms of democracy and human rights, acknowledging that the country is its “only member categorized by the Freedom House as ‘not free’,” Cumhuriyet daily reported on Wednesday.

The human rights report was released by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (NATO PA) and approved last week at the Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security (CDS).

Turkey was described in the report as “the only NATO member labeled as ‘not free’ by the U.S.-based Freedom House in the organization’s 2018 Freedom in the World Report,” according to Cumhuriyet.

NATO PA, which convened last week in Halifax, Canada, reportedly accepted the report that highlighted violations of human rights in countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, as well as NATO members Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey.

Labeling the 2016 military coup attempt that aimed at overthrowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “violent”, the report stated that the now-ended two-year state of emergency, along with countless arrests and dismissals, which have been ongoing since the failed coup were considered “disproportionate” by Turkey’s Western allies and human rights defenders.

In reference to the amendments made to the country’s constitution via last year’s referendum, the report defined Turkey’s current regime as “super presidency”, adding that it boosted political polarization among the society.

“The constitutional changes was designed to introduce U.S.-style presidential system. However, in practice, the presidential system in Turkey lacks checks and balances unlike the U.S. The president in Turkey has the power to abolish the parliament and increased his influence on the judiciary,” the report said, according to Cumhuriyet.

Criticisms against the arrests of Amnesty International Turkey representative Taner Kilic and philanthropist Osman Kavala were also mentioned in the report.

The NATO report is the latest in a string of warnings directed at Turkey by international organizations regarding the worsening circumstances about democracy and human rights.


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