05:56 GMT01 October 2020
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    Dutch News agencies revealed an email from the Turkish consulate this Thursday, urging Dutch Turks to report insults to Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Radio Sputnik discussed current freedoms of speech and human rights in Turkey with Joël Le Déroff, senior advocacy officer at the European Network Against Racism (ENAR).

    The Turkish embassy email asked, "urgently for the names and written comments of people who have given derogatory, disparaging, hateful and defamatory statements against the Turkish president, Turkey and Turkish society in general [translation by BBC]." The Turkish embassy in the Netherlands, however, later claimed that there was a misunderstanding and that Erdogan's ambassadors only want organizations to email the consulate to report incidents of racism or hate speech.

    According to Le Déroff, freedom of speech is closely connected with the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis and corresponding negotiations between the EU and Turkey.

    "EU is delegating the management of its border and the flow of refugees to Turkey."

    Le Déroff suggested that Ankara will likely restrict freedom of speech inside the Turkish communities of Europe. ENAR agrees that there may be more messages from the Turkish government aimed at Turkish communities in Europe, effectively regulating speech and damping criticism by expats and Turkish citizens living abroad.

    Asked how the EU can make more effective its stance toward Turkey, Le Déroff offered that the EU must first stop delegating to Turkey its border management of the flow of Syrian migrants. He suggested also that the EU immediately call attention to the increasingly dictatorial actions and speeches of Erdogan.

    "It appears that the EU is too much afraid of other factors, namely the refugee question, to be frank and open in negotiations with Turkey."

    Le Déroff noted that, in regard to the negotiation of traveling visas, the lack of freedoms and increasing discrimination inside Turkey should normally be taken into account, but it remains unclear if the EU will enforce its own rules. He added that his organization works in cooperation with other NGOs to establish contact with the European Parliament to convey that the observance of EU rules must be a priority in negotiating with Ankara.


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    freedom of speech, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Netherlands
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