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Turkey: Helsinki Group Calls For Rights Improvements

Washington, 5 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission) says Turkey should not be permitted to host an Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) summit until its human rights record improves.

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

Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz is expected to appeal for an OSCE meeting in Istanbul while he visits OSCE headquarters in Vienna this week.

The 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.