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Piri: EU should stand for its values vis-à-vis Ankara

5.07.2017. Strasbourg. The latest developments in Turkey after a failed coup-d’état continue to concern MEPs, especially regarding human rights and the constitution reform, granting president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan an immense power. Today during plenary MEPs debate Turkey’s situation in regard to its EU candidate country status, and vote on a resolution tomorrow, requesting for EU accession talks suspension in case the proposed changes to the Turkish constitution go ahead. 

 If Turkey would reintroduce the death penalty, if the leadership brings the constitutional reform into force,  there can be no other way than to stop talking about integrating Turkey into the EU. That doesn’t mean we should stop all forms of cooperation”, – the rapporteur Kati Piri, a Dutch member of the Socialist & Democrats group said.

 “The impact of suspending talks in terms of finances would generate 700 million euros a year, which currently go to pre-accession funds to Turkey. In case the suspension comes into force, the EP asks to use this money to directly fund civil society in Turkey. However if politically, we are at that point, this will mean that 60 years of Turkey’s attempts to integrate into Europe have come to a drastic end”.

In spite of current Ankara leadership policies, Turkey remains an influential  partner of the EU in many fields, Piri added. The EP is not proposing to stop cooperating with Turkey, but to divert to the other adjusted framework like with many other countries in the world which are not in accession negotiations.

Piri denies a concept of a “Turkish blackmail” suggested by many experts, considering that the EU is silent on human rights violations because of the fear of migrant flows from Middle East, currently regulated by Ankara government agreement with Brussels.

“We are trying to make agreements on migration with many countries which aren’t even on the European continent” – Piri underlined.

However, Brussels has to change its current policy, Piri continues, as at the moment the EU leaders, except for this European Parliament, choose a strategy waiting-hoping for the best, avoiding to draw red lines – the ill strategy ignoring authoritarianism, only contributes to its growth.

“You cannot just wait, and talk gallantry to President Erdogan observing the degradation of the situation in Turkey. The EU has to take its values seriously, and stand tall for them. That what is what this Parliament is doing” – Piri concluded.

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