Parliamentary Assembly President Mevlüt Çavusoglu has voiced his regret at protests in Tunisia which have left 21 people dead.
At the end of an official visit to the country, Çavusoglu urged the authorities to avoid the disproportionate use of force. He stressed that freedom of expression and assembly were key elements of any democracy and called on the authorities to “manage the crisis in a responsible manner and in full conformity with Council of Europe standards.”
Çavusoglu offered the Tunisian Parliament the opportunity to strengthen relations with his organisation and to play a more active part in the Assembly’s work, if it agreed to uphold democracy and human rights, organise free and fair elections and work towards abolishing the death penalty.
The President said his new “Partnership For Democracy” status was designed for neighbouring countries which shared the values of the 47-nation Council of Europe and sought closer co-operation.
“Tunisian society is modern, tolerant and well educated, and this country is the most advanced in the Arab world in the field of women’s rights,” the President said. “That said, there still remains a considerable way ahead in order to meet fully all the requirements of the partnership status, especially in the field of democratic institutions, human rights and rule of law. This status is not granted ‘for free’ – there are several important conditions to respect.”