MEPs highlight in a statement the setback in the rule of law and fundamental rights of the country
Relations between the EU and Turkey they have deteriorated to such an extent that the EU needs to re-evaluate them in their entirety, as highlighted by the plenary session of the European Parliament in a report adopted on Wednesday with 480 votes in favor, 64 against and 150 abstentions.
In recent years, the Government of Turkey has increasingly distanced itself from the European values and standards. As a result, relations have reached the lowest point in their history, warn MEPs, who are especially concerned about the rule of law and respect for fundamental rights.
The text stopped by the European Parliament insists that if Turkey does not change this negative trend, the Commission should recommend the formal suspension of accession negotiations. The European Parliament criticizes the regressive institutional reforms in Turkey and is concerned about the “Authoritative interpretation of the presidential system”. The text points to the lack of independence of the judiciary and the “hyper-centralization of power in the presidency.”
MEPs call on the Turkish authorities to release all human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, academics and others detained by the government on unfounded charges.
Also of concern is the hostile foreign policy Turkey, including actions against Greece and Cyprus, as well as its involvement in the conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, as they clash with the priorities of the EU. The EP reiterates its call for Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide, as it would pave the way for a true reconciliation between the Turkish and Armenian peoples.
The Chamber is convinced that Turkey is a key partner for stability in the region and therefore values the diplomatic efforts of the EU in pursuit of a true and effective dialogue with the country. The text recalls that Turkey continues to play an important role by hosting almost four million refugees, of whom approximately 3.6 million are Syrian, and recognizes that the challenges have increased due to the covid-19 pandemic. It commends the Turkish effort in this area and encourages the EU to continue to provide the necessary support to Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey. MEPs stress, however, that it is unacceptable to use migrants and refugees as a tool for political influence and for blackmail.
The European Parliament also emphasizes that Turkish society, diverse and engaged, is one of the few controls remaining on the power of the government and encourages the Commission to continue to financially support Turkish civil society organizations.
According to Nacho Sánchez Amor [S&D, Spain], rapporteur for the text, this “is probably the toughest report to date in its criticism of Turkey. It reflects everything that has unfortunately happened in the country in the last two years, especially in the field of human rights and the rule of law, which continue to be the most worrying element for the EP, and in its relations with the EU and its Member states”. «We hope that Turkey change course and turn the latest statements of goodwill into fact We urge the other EU institutions to condition any positive progress on democratic reform, “he said.
European Union [EU], Turkey, Syria, Greece, Cyprus