Turkish Minute

MEPs recommend suspending EU talks if negative trend is not reversed in Turkey

A woman passes by Turkish and EU Union flags on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul, 14 December 2004. Just two days before a key EU summit on whether to launch membership talks with Ankara, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made one of his final appeals for approval Tuesday, stressing that he will settle for nothing less than full membership. AFP PHOTO/Mustafa Ozer (Photo by MUSTAFA OZER / AFP)

Members of the European Parliament in a report adopted by the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) on Thursday called on the European Commission to recommend suspending accession negotiations with Turkey if the current negative trend in the fields of human rights and rule of law is not urgently and consistently reversed by Ankara, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

The AFET report said the Turkish government has in recent years distanced itself deliberately and increasingly from European values and standards despite Turkey’s candidate status.

The MEPs called on Turkey to credibly demonstrate the sincerity of its commitment to closer relations with the EU.

Turkey’s lack of political will to carry out reforms assumed in the accession process and its failure to address the EU’s serious concerns on the rule of law and fundamental rights have negatively affected the accession process, the MEPs stressed.

“This report is probably the toughest ever in its criticism towards the situation in Turkey. It reflects all that has unfortunately happened in the country in the last two years, in particular in the fields of human rights and rule of law, which remain the main concern for the European Parliament, and in its relations towards the EU and its members,” the EP’s Turkey rapporteur Nacho Sánchez Amor said.

“We hope Turkey will definitively change course and put recent expressions of good will into concrete action. We urge the other EU institutions to make any positive agenda they might pursue with Turkey conditional upon democratic reform,” Amor underlined.

The strong and, at times, provocative statements against the EU and its member states, and its hostile foreign policy have brought EU-Turkey relations to a historic low point, according to the EP report.

The report was adopted by 49 votes in favor, four against and 14 abstentions during the AFET meeting and will be submitted to the plenary for the parliament to vote on as a whole.

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