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Turkey: Prime Minister To Visit OSCE

Vienna, 6 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - Turkey's Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz today is scheduled to visit OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) headquarters in Vienna. Yilmaz is expected to ask that an OSCE meeting be held in Istanbul. But, the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) this week said Turkey should not be permitted to host an OSCE meeting, until Ankara's human rights record improves.

The U.S. commission urged the State Department to take a firm stand opposing Istanbul as the venue for an OSCE meeting until, in the commission's words, Turkey meets minimal internationally accepted rights standards.

The U.S. commission says Turkey should not be permanently prohibited from hosting OSCE meetings. However, it says Turkey should start making improvements first, including releasing jailed parliamentarians and journalists, repealing harsh anti-terrorism laws and ensuring full respect for the rights of all citizens, including minority Kurds.