The head of the Turkish delegation at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Talip Küçükcan said that PACE contradicted itself by awarding the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize to Murat Arslan, who is accused of supporting the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and has an ongoing case against him.
Commenting on the decision, Küçükcan contended that the European Council and PACE went against their values giving an awarding to a person who has affiliations with FETÖ, that Ankara says perpetrated the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey in which 249 civilians were killed and more than 2,000 others were wounded.
"PACE made a historic mistake by awarding Murat Arslan, who was arrested under suspicion of having affiliations with FETÖ and being a member of FETÖ, which masterminded heinous coup attempt."
Asserting that Arslan did not deserve the award at all, the Turkish delegation head said, "This decision, awarding Murat Arslan, who has never taken part in a humanitarian project or worked as a judge, encourage people who supported the coup attempt and contradict the core values of the European Council."
Küçükcan went on to accuse PACE of making unfair decisions, stating that the council should supports human rights, democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of belief.
"PACE, which has 324 members from 47 countries, has been masterminded by lobbies and some minority groups," he contended, urging the council and PACE to renounce its decision and not be affected by lobbies. "The European Council and PACE should rectify the decision; otherwise they will not be able to uphold democracy and human rights and lose credit in the eyes of member countries."
He claimed that that PACE and the European Commission are currently losing prestige and their reputations.
"PACE awarding Arslan must be seen similar to the EU, OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe], NATO or the U.N. giving an award to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaida, the Taliban, Boko Haram or Daesh," he said.Küçükcan also questioned how the council and PACE would react if Aslan is found guilty of terrorism, adding that PACE should instead condemn terrorists who attack fundamental rights and freedoms. He said that the council and PACE were yet to answer these questions.
PACE is the parliamentary arm of the European Council, a 47-nation international organization dedicated to upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It is an older and wider circle of nations than the 28-member European Union.