Turkish gov’t reportedly bans EP rapporteur Kati Piri from entering Turkey

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European Parliament's Turkey Rapporteur Kati Piri holds a press conference at EU Delegation's headquarters in Ankara, Turkey on August 25, 2016.

The Turkish government has reportedly banned Kati Piri, Turkey rapporteur for the European Parliament, from entering Turkey following the release of an EP report harshly criticizing Turkey for backsliding in human rights, freedom of the press, fundamental rights and the rule of law, especially during the state of emergency declared following a failed coup attempt on July 15.

According to the Brussels-based Vocal Europe magazine, Piri will not be allowed by the Turkish government to enter Turkey for her upcoming visits.

Following the release of the EP report, Piri suggested that the EU immediately freeze accession talks until the Turkish government returns to the path of respect for the rule of law and human rights.

Piri, who already had urged the suspension of talks after the arrest of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies, said that in the face of severe violations of freedom of expression and a massive purge that has resulted in the dismissal of more than 100,000 people, it is clear that Turkey has been moving away from the EU.

In an exchange of tweets on Twitter last week with Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Şimşek, Piri criticized the arrest of the 10 HDP deputies in a government-orchestrated investigation.

Piri first replied to a Twitter user who shared a photo showing that 82 percent in an Internet poll on a Turkish website supported the arrest of HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, saying, “The rule of law is not rule by surveys or popular opinion.”

Later, Şimşek replied to Piri’s tweet, saying: “That’s true! But, where does rule of law allow support for terrorism & refusal to comply with court order?”

In the end, Piri reacted against the arrest of the HDP deputies by saying: “If refusal to comply with court order, why detain MPs collectively like a gang of criminals in the middle of the night? And why the arrests?”

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