By Diyar Guldogan
Europe and Turkey need each other, and must stand tall together, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland said on Friday.
"So as Europe faces new challenges today, we need unity and concerted action to preserve our system in the interests of the people of our continent. We cannot do this without Turkey," Jagland said, according to a statement released by the council.
Jagland's remarks came during his address to the candidate judges and prosecutors of the Justice Academy in capital Ankara.
"I will end by saying Europe needs Turkey and Turkey needs Europe. We must stand tall together," he said.
He also said the "strongest" response to the winds buffeting Europe was to "stand tall, stand strong, and stand in defiance of pressure".
"Together, as Europeans, we must maintain our common values, standards and human rights system."
About the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, Jagland said: "Speaking on behalf of myself, it is not that I fail to understand the crime committed by those who were behind the 15th July coup attempt.
"Nor is it because I do not understand the threat of terrorism that Turkey is facing. On the contrary, I understand these things well."
He added the Council of Europe condemned the defeated coup and voiced solidarity and support with Turkey.
"It was right -- and remains right -- that the Turkish authorities should investigate the crimes that were committed. And they should prosecute those who are responsible. This is clear. In emergency situations, emergency measures might be required," he said.
Jagland added this must be done in line with the European Convention and the case law of the Strasbourg Court.
He reminded the candidate judges and prosecutors that one-and-a-half years had passed since the defeated coup, adding: "It is important to look forward to a time when the emergency law is lifted and normality is restored.
"I am aware that Turkey has experienced a national trauma. But the best answer that Turkey can give is to hold firm to human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and demonstrate its respect for the Convention."
Jagland said the Council of Europe helped Turkish authorities to ensure that actions taken under the emergency law meet the required standards of the Convention.
"Turkey has acted on a number of our recommendations. Notably, a National Commission has been established to look at the cases of individuals affected by the decree laws. This is important," he said.
Jagland also voiced concern over many journalists, members of parliament, mayors and human rights defenders being deprived of their liberty in Turkey.
He said since 2000, Turkey has undertaken a series of reforms advancing the interests of the Turkish people, in line with the Council of Europe’s values, such as bolstering democracy and enhancing human rights, also abolition of death penalty and strengthening rule of law.
During his two-day working visit to Ankara, Jagland also separately met President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik and Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman.
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