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The case of Turkish journalist Demirkaya: Cascade reactions after extradition request

Tudorel Toader after MEP Cristian Preda asks him to stop the extradition of Turkish journalist Kamil Demirkaya: Extradition procedure – the prerogative of judicial bodies. Author of the demand does not know this elementary aspect?

 

After MEP Cristian Preda asked him to stop the extradition of Turkish journalist Kamil Demirkaya, Justice Minister Tudorel Toader stated that the extradition procedure is the prerogative of judicial bodies, wondering whether the author of the demand knows “this elementary aspect” and adding that he does not believe that the author of the demand is asking him to violate the independence of the judiciary.

“Cristian Preda is asking me to stop the extradition procedure of a Turkish journalist! In line with the law, the extradition procedure is the prerogative of judicial bodies. Does the author of the demand not know this elementary aspect?”, Tudorel Toader wrote on Facebook.

His posting also has a post-scriptum: “I don’t believe the author of the demand is asking me to violate the independence of the judiciary. I don’t believe the author of the demand knows cases in which the Justice Minister stopped judicial procedures.”

Journalist Kamil Demirkaya, an employee of the publication Zaman Romania, was heard on Wednesday by the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Bucharest Court of Appeal, after the Turkish Justice Ministry requested for his extradition, the request going to be judged by the Bucharest Court of Appeal, the Prosecutor’s Office representatives stated.

According to a press release issued by Zaman Romania, Kamil Demirkaya, former General Manager of the newspaper Zaman Bulgaria, was picked up on Wednesday morning from home, based on an extradition warrant. He was heard by the Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Bucharest Court of Appeals and later released.

Kamil Demirkaya has been living for two years in Bucharest, where he is working for Zaman Romania, holding a temporary residence permit. In November 2018 he filed his documents in order to extend his residence permit, the documents still being processed, according to the quoted source.

“At Erdogan’s order, the Prosecutor’s Office of Antalya issued an arrest warrant, the journalist being accused of being a member of the Gulen movement. The Turkish Government sent the extradition warrant on Demirkaya’s name to the Romanian authorities, and this morning, the journalist was picked up from home and taken to the IGPR (General Inspectorate of Romanian Police – e.n.) headquarter. (…) The Turkish journalists lives in Bucharest with his wife and 10 years old son. Zaman Romania calls on the Romanian authorities to take into account that Ankara has started a hunting of journalists and all those who oppose to Erdogan’s totalitarian regime since the summer of 2016. Kamil Demirkaya did nothing else than his duty as a journalist, writing about the abuses committed by the power at Ankara”, the press release issued by Zaman Romania also reads.

MEP Cristian Preda has asked the Justice Ministry to stop the extradition procedure.

“I have written to all members of the EP’s socialist group, asking them to block what their fellow travellers in Bucharest are about to do against the freedom of the press,” Preda announced.

President Klaus Iohannis stated on Wednesday that he does not want to comment on this at the moment, but he is kept abreast of the issue concerning Turkish journalist Kamil Demirkaya.

 

USR asks Romanian authorities to stop extradition procedure

 

The Save Romania Union (USR) asked Romanian authorities on Thursday to stop the extradition of Turkish journalist Kamil Demirkaya, claiming that such an action represents a signal that the Romanian Government has abdicated from the defence of fundamental rights such as the right to live and to freedom of expression.

“The USR is asking Romanian authorities to stop the actions to have journalist Kamil Demirkaya, who works for Zaman Romania, extradited to Turkey. The USR considers that such an action is liable to endanger the life of Kamil Demirkaya and that his extradition would represent a signal that Romanian authorities have abdicated from the defence of fundamental rights, such as the right to live and to freedom of expression, and is distancing itself increasingly more from European democratic values,” reads a press release remitted to MEDIAFAX.

USR leader Dan Barna states that the extradition request came as a result of the fact that journalist Kamil Demirkaya dared criticise the abuses in Turkey.

“The fact that Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dictatorship is a source of inspiration for Liviu Dragnea has long stopped being a secret, however in this case we are already talking about a gesture that condemns a man for daring to criticise the abuses in Turkey. As a member state of the European Union and NATO, Romania has taken a firm commitment to respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of its citizens and to defend and promote democracy and European and Euro-Atlantic values. If Romanian authorities are making such a gesture today, they are not only violating human rights, they are not only the footstools of Sultan Erdogan, but they are showing a clear separation from the EU and the values it represents. Once again, Dragnea’s personal interest and sympathies are betraying an entire country! Kamil Demirkaya’s extradition should not take place! Romania must remain a democratic and European state in which the rule of law takes precedence,” USR leader Dan Barna pointed out for the aforementioned source.

In his turn, Senator Vlad Alexandrescu states that it is unacceptable for the Government of a European country to take into account an extradition request from a “dictator.”

“It’s inadmissible for the Government of a European country to take into account – with such ease – an extradition request from a dictator. The fact that the Dragnea-Dancila Government is at the beck and call of a dictator who has ordered the arrest of tens of thousands of intellectuals – journalists, school teachers and university professors, magistrates and regular people – for the simple reason that they are not applauding his authoritarian regime is unspeakable. Romanian authorities must reconsider the measure and must behave like a country that respects fundamental human rights,” says Vlad Alexandrescu, USR Senate whip, member of the Senate Culture and Media Committee and former ambassador.

The USR considers that the arrest of journalist Kamil Demirkaya, in view of being extradited, represents an abuse and a gesture that demonstrates what the values shared by the members of the Dragnea-Dancila Government are, who seem to have acted on orders when enforcing the extradition request received from Turkish authorities. Kamil Demirkaya is working for Zaman Romania and has been living in Romania for the past two years, on a temporary residence permit. Romania must remain a democratic and European state that respects and promotes European values, among which fundamental rights and freedoms take precedence.

 

Basescu: Romania must reject the extradition. We are not a Turkish pashalic

 

Former President Traian Basescu wrote on Facebook on Thursday that Romania must act like an EU member state and reject Turkish journalist Kamil Demirkaya’s extradition, mentioning that our country is not “a Turkish pashalic”.

“We’re not a Turkish pashalic, we are good friends and equal partners of Turkey. Turkish authorities requested the extradition of the journalist Kamil Demirkaya for his criticisms expressed in media against the power at Ankara, He will definitely be deprived of a fair trial in turkey, his rights will not be respected, and the journalist’s life will be in danger. Romania must act like an EU member state, in which values such as the right of free speech is respected and reject journalist Kamil Demirkaya’s extradition. I hope the institutions of the Romanian State will not act as in the times when we were a Turkish pashalic”, Traian Basesci stated in a Facebook post.

In his turn, PMP Chairman Eugen Tomac sent a message to PSD’s Liviu Dragnea, advising him not to let PM Viorica Dancila allow the Turkish journalist’s extradition.

“Liviu, even if Erdogan is one of your models, DO NOT let Vasilica extradite the Turkish to the jackals from Ankara. He did nothing, maybe he just used his fundamental rights. I remind you, even according to the Romanian Constitution, the freedom to express thoughts, opinions or beliefs and the freedom of the creations of any kind, through speech, writing, images, sounds or other media, are inviolable. Also, any kind of censure is forbidden. I know, you hate these fundamental rights, but don’t send to death a mand who did nothing else than his job”, Eugen Tomac wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

 

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