I mentioned in this morning’s ToryDiary that the governing party in Turkey, the AKP, was still technically an ally of the Conservatives via its membership of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists. That, I noted, was already an uneasy relationship given Erdogan’s seizure of critical newspapers, jailing of journalists and general increasing authoritarianism, and would become even more uncomfortable if he responded to the coup attempt with further repression.
Sadly, if unsurprisingly, that now seems to be precisely the kind of response he has in mind. The Turkish President has already stated that the coup is “is a blessing from Allah, because it will allow us to purge the military”, and he has sacked 2,700 judges so far today – suggesting reprisals will extend well beyond those soldiers who actually rebelled.
Interestingly, I also gather that the AKP could face suspension from the AECR. I understand that even before the coup attempt an investigation had already been launched to judge whether Erdogan et al are still compatible with the organisation’s values. A fact-finding mission will be visiting Turkey to judge whether the AKP still meets the principles of the Reykjavik Declaration, which established the AECR’s founding principles, and if it is found in breach then suspension proceedings will begin.
I imagine the AKP will particularly struggle to fulfil points four and five of Reykjavik:
4. AECR understands that open societies rest upon the dignity and autonomy of the individual, who should be as free as possible from state coercion. The liberty of the individual includes freedom of religion and worship, freedom of speech and expression, freedom of movement and association, freedom of contract and employment, and freedom from oppressive, arbitrary or punitive taxation. The freedom, inherent dignity and autonomy of the individual are among the highest values of modern society. AECR strongly supports governments that protect the liberty, human dignity and autonomy of its citizens in all respects. This liberty includes the right to hold political and religious beliefs and the right to express and manifest these within the bounds of international law.
5. AECR recognises the equality of all citizens before the law, regardless of ethnicity, sex or social class. It rejects all forms of political extremism, authoritarianism and racism. All individuals are equal before the law, without exceptions. AECR firmly rejects all political ideologies and systems that do not respect this equality, and it recognises the dangers of allowing these room.
Organisations that stretch across national boundaries and co-ordinate between different political parties inevitably run rather slowly, but we could be rid of the embarrassment of having Erdogan as an ally of the Conservatives before long.