We demand immediate release of Turkish co-chairs Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sönmez

The co-chairs of the Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Yesiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi) Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sönmez were taken into custody on Friday 9 February. The international secretary Burcu Genc confirmed in a telephone call this morning that they were arrested by special forces at their homes in Istanbul at 6am. No formal charges have been issued.

The co-chairs of the European Green Party Monica Frassoni and Reinhard Bütikofer, as well as the co-presidents of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament Ska Keller and Philippe Lamberts commented as follows:

"We demand an immediate explanation from the Turkish authorities over the outrageous arbitrary arrests of Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sonmez in the early hours this morning and call for their immediate release.

"This action is yet another example of Turkey’s growing contempt for the rule of law under the leadership of President Erdogan.

"At the EU-Turkey summit in March, European leaders must show that they are not being held hostage to the refugee deal and send out a clear signal to Erdogan that this kind of behavior is unacceptable.  

"Running a political party is not a crime and this is once again evidence of an increasing intolerance of any kind of free political association.  

"We are also calling for an immediate meeting with Faruk Kaymakci, the Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Turkey to the EU to explain the reasoning behind the arrests."


Brussels, 9 February 2018