The European Parliament (EP) has adopted a resolution that suggests the suspension of the accession negotiations with Turkey in its general assembly in Strasbourg.

The non-binding resolution was adopted in yesterday’s (March 13) session by 370 votes in favor, 109 against with 143 abstentions.

“Taking into account the human rights situation and the new Turkish constitution, the European Parliament recommends that the current EU accession negotiations with Turkey be formally suspended,” says the resolution.

The resolution will be on the agenda at the meeting of the EU – Turkey Association Council, which will be held tomorrow.

“No other conclusion is possible”

The report bases its suggestion on the regression in the areas of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.

EP’s Turkey Rapporteur 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 to respect 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 holds the world record for the number of journalists in jail, the recently amended constitution consolidates Erdoğan’s authoritarianism,” she added.

The resolution, in addition to the suggestion of suspension of the negotiations, also says that the relations between Turkey and the EU should be redefined on the basis of an effective partnership. It says that every kind of new obligations between Turkey and the EU should be based on the rule of law and respect for the basic rights. Not that anyone was seriously considering accession under the current circumstances, but continuing talks on EU integration with President Erdoğan is a charade.”

“Democracy for Customs Union upgrade”

The EP’s statement on the resolution said, “MEPs believe that to keep Turkey economically anchored to the EU, the possibility to upgrade the 1995 EU-Turkey Customs Union to include, for example, agriculture and public procurement, must remain an option, but only if there are concrete improvements in the field of democracy, human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.”

The resolution also calls the European Commission to make this condition a part of the upgraded Customs Union.

“What will EU do for Demirtaş?”

The resolution demands that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) MPs who were arrested because of the speeches they made be released.

Also touching on HDP’s former chair Selahattin Demirtaş, imprisoned civil society figure Osman Kavala, Pisi said,

“We want to hear what the EU will do for Osman Kavala. What will the EU do for Selahattin Demirtaş, the opposition leader who was imprisoned for two and a half years, for the other members of parliament in jail, for the tens of thousands of people who have been jailed without a fair trial, for the LGBTI activists, for the Saturday mothers who are no longer allowed to protest, for the brave Turkish women who, on 8 March, went out on the streets and were met with rubber bullets fired at them by the police?”

AKP Spokesperson: “We return the report to EP”

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s Spokesperson Ömer Çelik responded to the adoption of the resolution on Twitter.

“This disrespectful decision shows the European Parliament’s far-right ideological tendency. The EP is far away from making supportive decisions to democratic development and looking through the narrow window of the far-right,” Çelik said.

“Everyone knows the EU Commissioner for Enlargement’s racism and intimacy of the Turkey rapporteur’s intimacy with those who support terrorism rather than democracy.

“The mark given by the EP, which surrendered itself to the far right, is null. We call on to the EP: We fully return this report to you. You can found a ‘European Museum of Racism and Islamophobia’ and put this report on the door of that museum.”

Foreign Ministry: “One-sided, far from objective”

Releasing a written statement, the Foreign Ministry of Turkey asserted that the resolution is “meaningless” because of being “one-sided and far from objective.”

“We will decisively continue to work in cooperation with the European Union and the Council of Europe in order to ensure the highest standards of rights and freedoms for our citizens, as they deserve.

“Instead of encouraging the elimination of political obstacles to the negotiation process, this and similar initiatives prepared in cooperation with those opposed to the European integration and our common values, contradict the values represented by an EU institution.

“In addition, the reference made once again this year to the unfortunate assessment of 15 April 2015 of the European Parliament adopted on 1915 events which is based on one-sided Armenian narratives, reflects the biased and political character of this report.” (AS/VK)


This article appeared on Bianet on 14/03/2019.