This afternoon, the foreign affairs committee is about to adopt its annual report on Turkey, drafted by S&D MEP Nacho Sánchez Amor. In the compromised text already approved, the European Parliamentarians say that any progress in the EU relations with Ankara must be based on the conditionality of the progress in the human rights and the rule of law situation in Turkey.
Nacho Sánchez Amor, S&D MEP and EP standing rapporteur on Turkey, said:
“This is possibly the toughest EP report ever on Turkey. It is not by chance. It is the consequence of the continued backsliding on human rights and the rule of law internally, and the deterioration of the EU-Turkey relations that have reached their lowest point in decades during the past months.
“This report sends a clear message to both Turkey and the other EU institutions, particularly the Council. For the Parliament, fundamental rights and freedoms cannot be put aside in order to deal with the rest of our relations with Turkey. Their critical situation remain the main obstacle to progress on any positive agenda that could be offered to Turkey.
“With this report, we take stock of the many reasons for concern, from the shrinking space of civil society, or the crackdown on any critical voice including journalists and opposition parties, to the worrying lack of independence of the judiciary, or the regrettable withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention. However, the report also opens possibilities for a way forward, provided that Turkey confirms with real facts its declared will to reforms, starting with the compliance of its international commitments, including the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). We saw recently a positive sign with the long due release of Ahmet Altan. Why not also apply other ECHR rulings, such as on the cases of Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş?
“Finally, the report also sends a clear message of support and commitment with the large pro-democratic and pro-European part of the Turkish society and contains a message of solidarity with our two sister parties, CHP and HDP. In a time when we have been talking so much about seats, I want to stress that the seats that should really worry us are those of the MPs and mayors stripped of their mandates. We reiterate our call on Turkish authorities to drop the process to ban the HDP party and to allow without any impediment the legitimate activities of the opposition parties.
“The regrettable incident of sofagate has completely overshadowed that after a lot of pressure from Parliament and civil society, presidents von der Leyen and Michel finally came closer in their speeches to the EP regarding human rights and the rule of law in EU-Turkey relations during their visit to Ankara “
Note to the editors:
The result of the final vote in AFET will be announced tomorrow morning. The report will then be adopted in the plenary in May.