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

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Photo of Matthew Offord Matthew Offord Conservative, Hendon

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent assessment his Department has made of the human rights situation in Turkey.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

We and our EU partners monitor closely the human rights situation in Turkey. The UK supports the European Commission’s assessment of human rights in Turkey, set out in its 2014 Annual Progress Report on Turkey’s EU accession.

In 2014, Turkey made progress on its human rights reform agenda and adopted an Action Plan for the Prevention of Human Rights Violations. Turkey also continued to build the capacity of its human rights institutions. We welcome this progress and the continuing efforts of the Turkish government aimed at resolving the Kurdish issue.

However, as the EU’s report has underlined, there is still much to do to implement action plans, strengthen further the institutional framework, and bring Turkish human rights legislation into line with European and international standards, including on rights for minority religious and ethnic groups. The report also highlighted areas of concern over the independence and impartiality of the judiciary, the rule of law, and restrictions on the freedom of expression, including temporary bans on social media imposed by the Turkish government. We will continue to work with our EU partners and international institutions, such as the EU and Council of Europe, to support Turkey in its continuing reform agenda.

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