Led by S&D MEP Kati Piri, the European Parliament today called on EU member states to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Ankara. This is the answer to a blatant regression in the areas of the rule of law and human rights in Turkey during the past few years.
The MEPs expressed their will to keep lines open with the citizens of Turkey and to continue to provide direct financial support to its civil society. The Socialists and Democrats hope that the situation in the country will improve in the future. That is why the S&D Group fiercely rejected the EPP and the extreme right amendments to indefinitely terminate accession talks with Ankara, which would deprive Turkey of its EU candidate country status. We hope that Turkey in the future will return to a democratic path.
S&D MEP and European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey Kati Piri said:
“If the EU takes its own values seriously, no other conclusion is possible than to formally suspend the talks on EU integration. Our repeated calls for the respect of fundamental rights have fallen on deaf ears in Ankara. On top of the severe human rights violations, the dismantling of the rule of law and the fact that Turkey is the world record holder of the number of journalists in jail, the recently amended constitution consolidates Erdoğan’s authoritarianism.”
“I realise that stopping the accession talks is not a step which will help Turkey’s democrats. For that, the EU leaders must use all tools to their availability to exert more pressure on the Turkish government. The Parliament, therefore, calls for dedicated funds to be made available to support civil society, journalists and human rights defenders in Turkey. In addition, the modernisation of the customs union must remain conditional on the clear improvement in the field of human rights. More efforts must be put into people-to-people exchange programmes.”
“The case of Osman Kavala, a well-known civil society leader, is a sad example of what has become of Turkey’s judiciary today. He was arrested 17 months ago without an indictment. Last week he and 15 others were charged with ‘an attempt to overthrow the government’. If found guilty, they are facing life imprisonment without parole. The only ‘evidence’ against Kavala is his offer to lend a plastic folding table, fruit juice and milk during the protest - nothing that would prove he or any of the others would be behind the protests, let alone an uprising.”