In a statement from the press office of European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Stefan Füle, the EU said the Counterterrorism Law (TMK) and its interpretation have caused concerns about the rule of law and fundamental freedoms. Professor Ersanlı and Zarakolu were arrested last year as part of a Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) terrorism probe. Facing charges of membership in the KCK, which is seen as an umbrella organization above the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by prosecutors and the police, Ersanlı and Zarakolu are currently in jail pending trial.
Their arrests sparked criticism not only abroad but also in Turkey, and led to discussion over the TMK, as dozens of journalists are being kept in prison. But prosecutors dismiss criticism against the imprisonment of the journalists, citing evidence presented in court.
The EU expressed concern about Ersanlı and Zarakolu in a statement it issued, as follows:
“The Commission is concerned about the indictment of Turkish academic, Prof. Busra Ersanlı and writer Ragip Zarakolu. While underlining the Commission’s full solidarity with Turkey in its struggle against terrorism, the Commission also stresses that such a struggle must be carried out in full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms. Both the Turkish anti-terror legislation and its interpretation raise concerns in this respect.
“The solution to the Kurdish issue and to all the problems in the Southeast can only be attained through the widest possible contribution of all democratic forces, and an open and frank public discussion that can be conducted in the full respect of basic fundamental freedoms, such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and/or freedom of assembly.”