BRUSSELS — Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs called on Tuesday for a freeze in Turkish EU accession talks if changes to the country’s constitution are implemented unaltered.
The committee approved the draft of the 2016 commission report on Turkey and proposed upgrading the EU-Turkey Customs Union instead, by making human rights and fundamental freedoms part of a new agreement.
“A close and privileged relationship between the EU and Turkey is in the interest of both sides. But this can only be realized if it is based on human rights, the respect of the fundamental freedoms, democratic values and the rule of law. Turkey accepted this when it became a candidate for EU membership in 1999. But the developments in recent years, which culminated in the Turkish Constitutional Referendum last April, have shown that this country’s EU bid has no future. This is why we are now calling to formally suspend the accession talks”, said Renate Sommer MEP, after today’s vote. The suspension was supported by all political Groups in the European Parliament.
The parliament’s press release also criticized Ankara’s actions following last year’s coup attempt. The MEPs have expressed concern that Turkey will “backslide” when it comes to the rule of law, human rights, media freedom, and the fight against corruption. They also condemned the Turkish governments “repeatedly declared support for the reintroduction of the death penalty,” which would “put into question Turkey’s membership in the Council of Europe and lead to an immediate end of EU accession talks.”