European United Left/Nordic Green Left says EU’s Turkey policy ‘incoherent’

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The European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) group from the European Parliament on Tuesday scrutinized the future relations between the EU and Turkey in the Strasbourg plenary, branding the EU’s approach towards Ankara as “incoherent” and “contradictory.”

Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Sofia Sakorafa referred to the lack of coherence and clarity regarding the European Commission’s policy towards Turkey and claimed that this made it impossible for the accession talks to progress.

“For a long time now, there’s been a deliberate effort to interrupt these negotiations with Turkey. Whoever is responsible for this has, in effect, given Turkey the time and the excuse to continue with its own policy which in turn, has led to the EU’s own impasse,” she said.

French MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat criticized the imprisonment of opposition politicians and journalists in Turkey, which, she argued, “is the largest prison in the world for journalists,” and said Turkey’s human rights violations are a cause of major concern.

Referring to the imprisonment of French journalist Loup Bureau, who was arrested on Aug. 1 in the southeastern Turkish province of Şırnak on charges of aiding and supporting a terrorist organization, and jailed Kurds including the co-presidents of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ on charges of terrorism, Vergiat said: “In this context any negotiation seems absurd. Only the rule of law and the interests of the people should motivate decisions, not an Islamophobia that dares not speak its name.”

In the meantime, Cypriot MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis argued for EU leadership and called on the EU to “pressure Turkey into implementing its contractual obligations as a candidate country.”

“It must also respect the human rights and freedoms of all its citizens, restart the negotiations for the solution to the Kurdish issue and actively support the solution of the Cyprus problem,” he said.

On the other hand, Greek MEP Kostas Chrysogonos — a member of the Parliament’s delegation to Turkey – asked for accession talks with Turkey to be immediately suspended.

”Turkey’s accession is unrealistic, and this is what the European Parliament has stated when it asked for the suspension of the accession negotiations. … This should happen immediately, and the EU’s 636 million euros of pre-accession aid for 2017 should also be suspended,” said the Greek MEP, arguing that the aid is used by the Turkish government to attack Kurds and torture detainees.

Turkish authorities have been criticized by the EU for the crackdown on government opponents, academics, judges, prosecutors, police officers, soldiers and journalists especially through decrees issued as part of the emergency rule declared after a failed coup in July of last year.

After EU-Turkey ties became strained due to the Turkish government’s crackdown on dissents, a resolution calling for the freezing of membership negotiations with Turkey if Ankara were to implement a constitutional overhaul, backed by a referendum in April, was adopted by a large majority of votes in the European Parliament on July 6.

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