Four senior members of US’s Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), which is also known as the Helsinki Commission, has called on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to lift post-coup emergency rule, in force over a year.

Chairman Sen. Roger Wicker, Co-Chairman Rep. Chris Smith, Ranking Commissioner Sen. Ben Cardin,  and Ranking Commissioner Rep. Alcee Hastings said in a letter to Erdogan on Oct 17 that the prolonged State of Emergency has been undermining democratic institutions in Turkey.

“Last year, the Turkish people defeated a violent and illegal challenge to their democratic institutions; today, the 15-month-old state of emergency poses a different threat to these same institutions, particularly the judiciary. By facilitating sweeping purges with no evidentiary standards, the state of emergency has upended countless innocent lives and undercuts domestic and international confidence in Turkey’s rule of law.”

“It is clear that terrorism charges under the state of emergency are also being manipulated to suppress the activism of a group of human rights defenders arrested in early July,” the letter added.

The letter was also signed by Helsinki Commissioners Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Thom Tillis, Rep. Roger Aderholt, Rep. Randy Hultgren, Rep. Gwen Moore, and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.