06:16 GMT +321 February 2019
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    Delegates at a plenary meeting of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)

    PACE Almost 'Taken Hostage' by Anti-Turkish Agenda – Ankara

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    Turkish parliament’s Deputy Speaker Ahmet Aydin stated that that, despite being in close contact with the PACE and paying close attention to its reports, Ankara has often received "severe criticism based on groundless claims".

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Parliamentary Assemble of the Council of Europe (PACE) is "almost being taken hostage" by lawmakers with an anti-Turkish agenda, the Turkish parliament’s Deputy Speaker Ahmet Aydin said on Wednesday.

    "We believe it is not good intentions to ask that Turkey be discussed as a hot topic and to work on reports regarding the functioning of [the country's] democratic institutions," Aydin said during a meeting with PACE rapporteur Jordi Xucla, as cited by the Anadolu news agency.

    Aydin explained that, despite being in close contact with the council and paying close attention to its reports, Ankara has often received "severe criticism based on groundless claims".

    "What we expect of the Council of Europe is that it does not [cause] Turkish people to lose belief in Europe due to unreasonable criticism which [supports] terrorism. Rather, the Council of Europe should support the Turkish people's commitment to democracy and the steps on this," the agency wrote citing Aydin.

    Turkey is determined to continue its democratization process and to maintain friendly relations with PACE, Aydin stressed.

    Xucla, in his turn, expressed solidarity with Turkey in its fight against terrorism and for democracy, Anadolu wrote.

    In June 2016, shortly after the failed coup attempt in Turkey, PACE adopted a resolution on the functioning of democratic institutions in Turkey, in which the Assembly condemned the actions of Turkish authorities against suspected coup supporters as "a threat to the functioning of democratic institutions".

    Following the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the Turkish authorities arrested more than 41,000 people and fired or suspended more than 135,000. Many of them are teachers, public servants and journalists.


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