By Emin Avundukluoglu
A lawmaker of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party has strongly criticized the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for giving an award to a Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) suspect.
Speaking at a news conference in the parliament in capital Ankara Monday, Leyla Sahin Usta slammed the council for giving the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize to Murat Aslan.
Earlier on Monday, PACE announced the prize "has been awarded to Turkish supporter of the independence of judiciary Murat Arslan".
Aslan, former president of Judges and Prosecutors Unity (YARSAV), was arrested on Oct. 26,
"Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize was given this year to former YARSAV president Murat Arslan who is currently arrested for FETO," Usta,
She said it is unacceptable to give such a prize to a terror suspect and a member of a terrorist organization.
"This is clearly a backing for FETO. A big shame for European Council for which we are also founder members."
According to the PACE website, "The Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly, in partnership with the Vaclav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation, to reward outstanding civil society action in
The prize consists of a €60,000 ($70,516) sum, a
FETO and its U.S.-based leader
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.