The Council of the Member States should use visa liberalization and the modernization of the customs union as a means of putting pressure on Turkey to reverse the human rights situation and the rule of law in Turkey, Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s rapporteur suggested today, while presenting the last progress report on Turkey, for the current legislative term.
“There is not one in this Parliament who believes that this Turkey can become a member of the EU,” said Kati Piri.
Kati Piri described the deterioration of the rule of law and the human rights situation in Turkey, referring to the arrests of dissidents, journalists and opposition executives (with a nominal reference to the Kavala and Dermitas cases and the withdrawal of German journalists` accreditations).
“Bad has become worse,” said Kati Piri and clarified that the goal is “to draw a line in the accession negotiations and at the same time to help the citizens”, noting that the new constitution that does not contain the elementary separation of powers (judicial, legislative, executive) is a red line for the EP.
She noted that the report called for a “formal suspension of the accession negotiations” and that it was voted by a large majority in the relevant committee and expects that this will happen in plenary.
She announced that the EPP and the “far-right” group, as she has said, tabled an amendment requesting “to terminate and take away candidate status” , adding: ”I hope it will not be approved”.
According to Kat Piri, “we have to stop this mockery that we are talking to Erdogan about accession”, she said.
Interpreting the EPP amendment Kati Piri said that “only the Council can take this decision” to remove the candidate status, which, as she explained, removes the possibility of reopening negotiations if the situation improves. “I hope it will not be adopted tonight,” she said, adding that this sends a hard message “not only to Erdogan, but also to the Democrats.”
She then went on to say (in reply to a question) that in any case it was only for the Council of Member States to decide the freezing, the formal suspension, the termination, or anything for that matter, but questioned whether the Council really ever had a strategy, accusing the Member States that the Council is only actively engaged in human rights in Turkey, when it affects European citizens and not in relation to the permanent situation within the country.
Kati Piri criticized the declaration of the Varna Summit saying that “it is sad” that the text contained only “bilateral issues of Greece and Cyprus” which, while admitting that they are important “do not show a European strategy on how to keep Turkey in the West “.
Finally, Kati Piri criticized again the Council for not using the opening of accession chapters as a means of pressing Ankara for human rights issues and explained that the EP report calls upon the Council to use the modernization of the customs union for this purpose. As she said, “we are asking the Council and the Commission to consider preparing for the modernization of the customs union only if there is progress in the field of social rights.”