Despite postponed trip, EP president favors dialogue with Turkey

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European Parliament President Martin Schulz. / AFP PHOTO / FREDERICK FLORIN

 

Although the European Parliament (EP) on Wednesday postponed a visit to Ankara by two of its members due to a disagreement with the Turkish government, particularly over Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri, EP President Martin Schulz said on Friday that dialogue with Turkey should continue.

Speaking with a German newspaper, Schulz, who has been harshly criticized by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his inner circle in recent weeks, said that nobody will benefit from the suspension of negotiations with Turkey, in reference to Turkey’s almost half-century-long journey to the European Union.

Schulz defended the idea that if talks are suspended as some suggest, there would be no means left for the EU to have a positive impact on developments in Turkey. However, the EP president added that in the event Turkey reinstates death penalty as its government has promised following a failed coup on July 15, there would be no way for talks to continue as the negotiations would be automatically aborted.

Meanwhile, Elmar Brok, the president of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, told Die Welt that despite disagreements, an EP delegation is still considering a trip to Turkey in the weeks to come. Brok also underlined the importance of dialogue with Turkey in order to monitor the cases of deputies and journalists under arrest. There are currently 145 journalists in prison in Turkey as well as 10 Kurdish deputies as a result of the latest phase of a crackdown on opposition voices on allegations of disseminating terrorist propaganda.

The EP cancelled its visit to Turkey after Ankara demanded the exclusion of Piri from the delegation. Piri had earlier suggested the suspension of talks with Turkey after a crackdown on Kurdish deputies on Oct. 4.

Turkey has been conducting a massive purge since the failed coup on July 15, calling it a fight against terrorism but without due process or substantive evidence.

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