European Interest

MEPs blast Kosovo for deporting Turks

Flickr/EEAS/CC BY-NC 2.0
A meeting between EU and Kosovo leaders in Sofia on February 2018. From left to right: PM Ramush Haradinaj, President Hashim Thaci (3rd), President Jean-Claude Juncker (centre), High Representative Federica Mogherini and Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Members of the European Parliament have signed and sent an open letter to the president and prime minister of Kosovo to criticise the deportation of six Turkish nationals to Turkey.

Initiated by Rebecca Harms, a member of the Green Party and expert on Turkey, in cooperation with Igor Soltes, European Parliament Rapporteur for Kosovo, the letter was co-signed by another 27 MEPs.

“At the beginning of April, we were alerted of the case of six Turkish citizens who had been detained in Kosovo and were deported to Turkey due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement,” reads the letter. “Their residence permits have been cancelled without any legal procedure and they have been deported without any trial or any contact with their lawyers in violation of the principle of rule of law. We strongly criticise these grave events.”

According to the MEPs, they have also been informed that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will also seek to extradite more people from Kosovo.

“As Kosovo is part of the accession process it should align with European standards. The rule of law is a fundamental principle of the European Union,” reads the letter. “We are concerned that it has been completely forgotten that countries are morally and legally bound to respect international conventions and protocols, which were laid down to protect basic human dignity and have been upheld over the centuries by our civilization. We should strive for an inclusive society rather than one that extradites people on the basis of alleged political affiliations.

“As Members of the European Parliament we are urging you to fully respect all judicial procedures in line with European principles and standards. All actions taken by local Kosovar authorities must be in full respect of the rule of law and promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Arbitrary procedures concerning arrest, detention or extradition are in violation of these principles.”

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