Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 27th January 2015.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat, Westmorland and Lonsdale

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent representations he has made to the Turkish government on freedom of speech.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

We regularly raise human rights issues with the Turkish government and are, this week, contributing to the UN’s Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Turkey. I raised concerns over media freedoms with my Turkish counterpart on 18 December 2014.

We continue to encourage Turkey to work towards meeting EU standards on human rights, especially in the areas of freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and minority rights. We welcome the progress to date including the implementation of a fourth Judicial Reform Package and the adoption of an Action Plan for the Prevention of Human Rights Violations in 2014.

There is more to be done. The EU’s Annual Progress Report 2014 on Turkey underlines that further work is required to strengthen the human rights institutional framework and bring Turkish human rights legislation in line with European and international standards. The report highlighted areas of concern over the restrictions on the freedom of expression (including temporary bans on Twitter and YouTube), the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, and the rule of law. We support this assessment and, together with our EU partners, expect Turkey as an EU candidate country, to respect all fundamental freedoms and remain committed to supporting further progress on its continuing reform agenda.

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