European Parliament calls on Turkey to release Demirtaş and respect human rights if it want to improve relations with the EU

BRUSSELS — The European Parliament reiterated its call for Turkey to release opposition politician Selahattin Demirtaş from prison as stipulated by a recent European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decision.

The European Parliament called on Turkey to release Demirtaş immediately and unconditionally if relations between the EU and Ankara are to improve, pointing out that his arrest two years ago was for the purpose of depriving him of his basic rights and suppressing his political aspirations. They also stressed that Demirtaş is reportedly being mistreated in Edirne prison where he is being held.

The European Parliament’s position coincided with the launch of separate talks between EU Foreign Policy Coordinator Josep Borrell and Turkish Foreign Minister Jawish Oglu in Brussels on Thursday.

At a joint press conference, Borrell noted that he discussed the human rights situation in Turkey with Oglu, who said that Turkey and the EU should take concrete steps to maintain a positive atmosphere between them.

The European Union is hosting a series of European–Turkish meetings in an attempt to defuse the worsening tensions between them. Oglu met with European Council President Charles Michel on Friday.