Harsh criticism for Ankara and Brussels from EP

The draft resolution proposing the suspension of Turkey’s accession negotiations with the EU was discussed in the EP in yesterday’s general assembly, and will be voted on today. The hunger strikes were discussed in the EP session.

The European Parliament (EP) discussed the report prepared by Kati Piri, EP’s Rapporteur for Turkey. If the amendment proposal by the Christian Democratic Party (PPE) and other right-wing groups on the report is accepted, a decision could be issued to suspend negotiations.


Before the European Union (EU) Council and Commission representatives spoke in the general assembly, EP Turkey Rapporteur and Dutch MEP Kati Piri gave a speech pointing out the human rights violations, unlawful and antidemocratic practices and the over 100.000 arrests in Turkey in the span of one year.

Piri said it is unacceptable that the EU and Ankara act like there aren’t severe and bad developments despite the rights violations.

Piri added that there is no more sense in the EU continuing accession negotiations with the authoritarian president in Ankara, but the EU is yet to take serious precautions or exert the necessary pressure.

Piri stressed that Turkey ignores the decisions and suggestions by Council of Europe bodies and added that the data in the report points to a dire course of events to come. Piri added that businessman Osman Kavala has been imprisoned for 17 months and that a laughable indictment was just prepared recently, and said: “This is what Turkey has come to.”


EU Term President Romania’s EU Minister Melania Gabriela Ciot spoke after Piri and said: “It is true that Turkey has been drifting away from the EU. The negotiations have been all but halted already. As the EP, we will relay what you voiced here today and what you will decide on to the Turkish authorities after we share them with EU member state representatives next Friday, we promise that.”

EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn said there are great concerns regarding the developments in Turkey. Hahn stressed that they are monitoring the developments closely and with great concern: “From now on, the aid we will provide will go to civil society and their representatives, we will take their demands into consideration and relay them to relevant persons.”

Renata Sommer spoke in the name of the PPE and said, “The Erdogan regime has trampled the rule of law, human rights and democracy. Negotiations with Turkey must end.”

Speakers for the Socialist and Liberal groups also voiced the rights violations cited in the report and issued harsh criticisms.


Bodel Valerio spoke in the name of the EP Greens and said: “The invasion of Afrin cannot be forgotten, it’s not a matter to be ignored. It was Kurds who cleared northern and northeastern Syria from ISIS jihadists, and we are obligated to protect those very Kurds.”


Socialist Democratic Group Member Joly Word said they supported Turkey’s membership to the EU from the beginning, and that they are still prepared to offer support, but the treatment of the Kurdish people and other minorities, the arrest of opposition members and elected officials and the isolation are unacceptable. Word added: “If Leyla Guven and the activists in Strasbourg are going on a hunger strike to end the isolation imposed upon Kurdish Peoples’ Leader Abdullah Ocalan, this shows how severe the situation is. It means that they had no other means to defend their rights left.”

EP United Left Member Elenora Forenza said she visited Turkey and Kurdistan recently but was barred from visiting the imprisoned former HDP co-chairs.

Forenza added: “I believe the Kurdish people’s struggle is important, and so I will be visiting the hunger strikers in Strasbourg now for support. I send my salute to them here.”

Greens Member Ana Miranda spoke wearing a kesk u sor u zer (yellow, red, green) keffiyeh and, mentioning Guven’s hunger strike and the prisoners, said: “There is more to Turkey than the dictator Erdogan. We must not abandon the Kurdish people and democratic Turks in the hands of Erdogan.”

MEPs speaking in the session said Erdogan’s practices are growing more authoritarian every day and that Turks are being pushed toward Islamism not just in Turkey but in Europe as well, through the religious affairs authority and the mosques. Some MEPs said Turkey is not part of the European civilization and as such, all relationships with Turkey regarding accession should end.