The UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee is examining the bilateral relationship between the UK and Turkey, focusing on rights and freedoms as well as how Turkish foreign and security policies relate to those of the UK. The inquiry is ongoing. The Committee inquiry will cover topics such as the current state of UK-Turkey relations, and the FCO’s recent record in managing this relationship; the status in Turkey of the rights and values supported by the FCO, including freedom of speech and assembly, minority rights, and the status of democracy; Turkey’s aspirations to join the EU and how that is impacted by Brexit; Turkey’s foreign and security policies in the Middle East, and how these correspond with FCO policies in the region; Turkey’s policies towards different Kurdish groups, both with Turkey itself and the wider region; and Turkey’s role as a NATO partner to the UK, including its capabilities in the fight against ISIL. The Committee will also consider recent developments in Turkey such as the failed coup of July 2016 and the declaration of a state of emergency, which gives President Erdogan enhanced powers for an additional three months, which has implications for Turkey’s democracy and human rights. Since the Turkish government have sought to justify their crackdown on human rights and democracy on the pretext of eradicating the Fethullah Gülen-inspired Hizmet movement, the Committee invited participants of the Hizmet movement in the US and UK to address the allegations. The following hearing is the outcome of this invitation. Written evidence was also submitted to the Committee before this oral hearing and can be accessed here.
The hearing was held on Tuesday, 15 November 2016 and without the intermissions, lasted 1:07 hr. The witnesses were: Dr Yüksel Alp Aslandoğan, Executive Director, Alliance for Shared Values, and Mr Özcan Keleş, Chairman, Dialogue Society.
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