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Wednesday, 8 May 1985
Page: 1518

Senator CHILDS —My question is directed to the Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. Is the Government concerned with and will it protest against the violation of human rights which is presently taking place in Turkey with the arrest and trial of members of a Turkish peace committee?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Australia has expressed its concern to the Turkish Government over the trials of 56 Turkish intellectuals who were among over 1,000 who signed a petition on human rights. The Turkish authorities explained that the trials were, in effect, a judicial inquiry to determine whether the intellectuals were being used as a cover by left-wing extremists acting on behalf of foreign powers in order to destabilise the Government. The Department of Foreign Affairs is seeking further information from the Australian Embassy in Ankara on the progress of the trials and will make very clear Australia's continuing interest in their outcome.