BRUSSELS (ARA News) — The European Commission’s rapporteur on Turkey, Kati Piri, on Wednesday called for freezing the EU accession talks with Turkey.

“The annual Turkey report of the European Commission reflects the dire situation and the serious backlash of the rule of law in the country,” Piri said in a statement.

“For the last three years, Turkey has been drifting away more and more from European values such as the respect for human rights and media freedom. While the heinous coup attempt on 15 July needs to be strongly condemned and its perpetrators brought to justice, we see that the state of emergency is being used to further suppress any critical voices left,” she said.

“Almost all critical media outlets have been closed and Turkey is again the world’s top jailer of journalists; more than 100.000 people have been dismissed and 35.000 arrested without due process – among them 1/3 of all the judges and prosecutors, elected mayors are replaced by appointed trustees and 10 members of parliament have been jailed for using their freedom of expression,” she added.

“While the S&D Group [Socialist and Democrats] remains committed to keeping Turkey anchored to the EU, we also believe that the EU must draw political consequences from the current situation. The government in Ankara is shutting the door to the European Union with its actions. In reaction, the EU has to immediately freeze the accession talks until the Turkish government returns to the path of respect for the rule of law and human rights”.

According to the last enlargement report of the European commission on Turkey, serious allegations of human rights violations and disproportionate use of force by the security forces in the majority Kurdish south-east were increasingly reported.

“The situation in the south-east remained one of the most critical challenges for the country,” the report said. “Turkey saw a continued very serious deterioration in the security situation, leading to heavy casualties following the collapse of the Kurdish settlement process in July 2015 and was struck by several large-scale deadly terrorist attacks by PKK and Da’esh,” the report added.

Furthermore, the report said that Turkey pursued an extensive anti-terror campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which remains on the EU list of terrorist organisations. Nevertheless, the EU says the Kurdish issue should be solved peacefully.

“Many elected representatives and municipal executives in the south-east were suspended, removed from their duties, or arrested under terrorism-related charges, some of them on the basis of decrees under the state of emergency following the coup attempt,” the report said.

“However, anti-terror measures need to be proportionate and must respect human rights. The settlement of the Kurdish issue through a political process is the only way forward; reconciliation and reconstruction are also becoming key issues for the authorities to address,” it concluded.

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