Pittella: harsh blow against democracy; EU accession talks must be suspended

Pittella: harsh blow against democracy; EU accession talks must be suspended, Piri,

S&D Group president Gianni Pittella speaking on the Turkish citizens’ vote in historic referendum said: 

"Another harsh blow against democracy and rule of law has been dealt in Turkey. This is yet another decisive step away from Europe. Erdoğan has closed his doors to the EU with this referendum. The EU accession talks should be suspended once Turkey decides to implement the 18 constitutional amendments.

"Many irregularities across the whole of Turkey have been alleged; irregularities that may cast a shadow on the final outcome. We, therefore, are looking forward to the official assessment by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) / Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) International Observation Mission. 

"We remain convinced that the majority of the Turkish citizens are still looking at democracy and rule of law as crucial benchmarks. Unfortunately, Erdoğan is increasingly turning Turkey into a personal authoritarian regime. 

"The S&D Group will do whatever it takes to reinforce democracy and rule of law against the authoritarian drift carried out by the Erdoğan. Nevertheless, the S&D Group requests the Council to envisage all the necessary measures in order to suspend the EU accession talks with Turkey. Europe cannot turn a blind eye and remain silent – and Europe will not."

S&D MEP Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey, stated:

"This is a sad day for all democrats in Turkey. In an unfair election environment a very narrow majority has endorsed a constitutional change that will give president Erdoğan unchecked powers. With such a constitution, Turkey cannot join the EU.

"As rapporteur, I'll continue to stand by all those fighting for democracy and fundamental rights in Turkey. Today's outcome shows there are millions of Turkish citizens who share the same European values and who chose a different future for their country. The EU should never close the door to them."