Accession talks with Turkey end when new constitution comes into force

The European Parliament is expected to support by a large majority the call to formally suspend accession talks with Ankara when the new constitution comes into force. Today there will be a plenary debate on EU-Turkey relations, the vote will follow tomorrow.

One year after the heinous coup attempt, the Turkish population is paying the heavy prize for the governments’ wide-scale purge against not only alleged Gülen followers, but all critics of the government. “If you are not with us, you are against us” is the credo applied by the Turkish government. Academics, mayors, university rectors, opposition politicians and journalists are all labelled as ‘terrorists’. If they dare to speak out against President Erdogan’s policies. With the state of emergency in place, ten thousands are fired from one day to the other. 50.000 people are imprisoned – all without having the possibility to defend themselves in courts.

Such blatant breaches in a candidate county for EU membership must also have consequences for EU-Turkey relations. Kati Piri, European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey:

"It speaks for itself that cooperation is needed with Turkey, but if the new constitution is implemented in a way that runs contrary to EU democratic standards, accession talks with the current Turkish government must be ended. The EU’s financial assistance, which is now directed to Ankara, should then be made available to directly support Turkish civil society – the ones who believe in the EU as an anchor for reforms in their country".

This is the time to stand in solidarity with millions of people in Turkey who believe in the European values, with all those who dared to speak out during the referendum, with those who are marching from Ankara to Istanbul pleading for justice. The EU cannot remain silent over Ankara’s consistent and serious breaches of fundamental rights. In contrast, the current strategy of the European Commission and EU leaders seems to wait silently for things to improve in Turkey.

"This is not just feeding President Erdogans’ authoritarianism, it also fuels Euroscepticism under the European population and sends the wrong signal to the other candidate countries in the Western Balkans. Waiting, pretending and looking away is not a smart policy. The European Parliament expects that the EU stands up for its own values", says Kati Piri.

 

Find here the full report on EU-Turkey relations: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-%2f%2fEP%2f%2fTEXT%2bREPORT%2bA8-2017-0234%2b0%2bDOC%2bXML%2bV0%2f%2fEN&language=EN