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Closure of HDP may spell end of Turkey’s EU accession process: EP rapporteur

MEP Nacho Sánchez Amor

European Parliament Standing Rapporteur for Turkey Nacho Sánchez Amor has said he does not think the process for Turkey gaining membership in the European Union will continue if the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is closed down, Euronews Turkish service reported.

Amor, also a member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, spoke at the general assembly of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Monday before a vote on the 2021 annual Turkey report.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court in June 2021 accepted an indictment filed by a prosecutor seeking the closure of the HDP and the imposition of a political ban on 451 party members as well as a freeze of the party’s bank accounts for alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

According to Amor, if the HDP is closed down by the Constitutional Court, it may mean the end of Turkey’s process of accession to the EU.

Turkey’s relations with the EU date back to 1963. The country was named a candidate in 1999, and negotiations for full membership started in 2005. The EU has suspended talks with Turkey due to the EU’s unhappiness with what the union has described as a decline of democratic norms in the country.

Amor also said there are deliberate efforts for the deterioration of democratic standards in Turkey, adding that people in the country are witnessing the fading away of their hopes in a never-ending cycle of authoritarianism.

Amor said if the current trend regarding Turkish democracy and the human rights situation continue following the elections in 2023, this will also mean the end of the country’s EU membership process.

Turkey is scheduled to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in 2023.

Turkey’s incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is accused by critics of establishing one-man rule in the country, engaging in massive corruption and using the state’s resources for the benefit of his family and cronies while the Turkish people are overwhelmed by the increasing cost of living caused by the depreciation of the Turkish lira and a record level of inflation at around 70 percent.

Public surveys show Erdoğan and his election ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), losing considerable public support.

Commenting on Turkey’s relations with Russia, Amor accused Turkey of violating sanctions imposed on Russia by the international community due to its invasion of Ukraine. He said Turkey is granting Russian kleptocrats the right to make investments on the Turkish coasts, that the number of flights between Russia and Turkey have increased and that thousands of Russian citizens have been allowed to obtain credit in Turkey.

Turkey, which has not joined international sanctions on Russia as it tries to stay neutral in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, is accused by some of trying to take advantage of the situation by helping Russians evade the international sanctions.

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