Swiss Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga has called on the Turkish regime to respect the rule of law, as her department cast doubt on a migrant repatriation deal currently being thrashed out with Ankara.
Following the failed military-led coup at the weekend, the Turkish authorities have been rounding up thousands of army personnel – but also judges and prosecutors. Sommaruga said the development raised concerns about the dispensation of justice in Turkey.
"It is a central principle of the rule of law that the judiciary can carry out their work independently," she said in a written note that was reported by the Swiss News Agency SDA. “I am very concerned whether Turkey can guarantee [the rule of law] having dismissed and imprisoned such a large number of lawyers and judges.”
The Swiss Association of Judges also weighed into the precarious situation in Turkey, which is causing concern throughout the world. “The coup d’etat was obviously used to dismiss and criminalise members of the judiciary,” the organization stated on Wednesday.
The association said that the large number of lawyers and judges being arrested within hours of the failed coup proved that the crackdown had been planned in advance. It called on the Swiss government and the Council of Europe to put pressure on Turkey to protect the judiciary in Turkey from discrimination.
In the meantime, Sommaruga’s spokesman, Guido Balmer, said it was “unclear” whether current negotiations between Switzerland and Turkey on the repatriation of migrants, who had reached Europe illegally, can be concluded. He told SDA that there are “open issues” that could affect the proposed deal to send migrants back to Turkey.
swissinfo.ch with agencies