The European Parliament stated that Türkiye‘s accession process to the European Union (EU) cannot continue unless a radical change of course is made by the Turkish Government. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Hakan Fidan reacted immediately on the results of the report with a written statement, accusing the European Union to publish a report, which is “full of unfair accusations and prejudices based on disinformation from anti – Türkiye circles.“
The report came to the conclusion, that the country is not yet ready for continuing the accession process, when at the same time conflicts with women’s rights, gender – based violence, the increase in femicides, widespread hate speech and discrimination against the LGBTI+ community are happening on a regular basis.
The report, which described and pointed out such issues has been written by Spanish rapporteur Nacho Sanchez Amor. In the report, the Turkish government, the European Union and member countries were called to establish closer cooperation by breaking the current impasse. In the document, which recommended “creating an alternative and realistic framework for EU – Türkiye relations”, a radical change of course was requested by the Turkish Government. It was emphasized that otherwise Türkiye‘s EU accession process could not be sustained.
Additionally the report pointed out, that Türkiye‘s support and commitment to the Common Foreign and Security Policy Program of the European Union reached an all – time low.
Nacho Sanchez Amor, European Parliament Rapporteur on Türkiye, said: “Türkiye‘s EU membership will not be realized as a result of geopolitical negotiations, but only when the Turkish authorities are willing to make a real effort to end the decline in fundamental freedoms and the rule of law in the country.” The report also reflected on the Presidential elections in 2023, stating, that the parties and the two political rivals Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu “did not compete under equal conditions” in the Presidential and parliamentary general elections and that the government carried out the election process with an unfair advantage. The ruling party and President Erdogan used “harsh, provocative and discriminatory rhetoric, intimidation and harassment against the supporters of some opposition parties“ to dominate the process of the elections. Already during the election opposition members in the country criticized the unfair way how Erdogan and his AKP were running the election campaign. In the European Parliament report, which pointed out that the democratic decline in Turkey continued throughout the last year, it was emphasized that this negative trend was far from stopping or reversing. It is believed by many experts, that the AKP and Erdogan will use every method to strengthen their position in the upcoming years and weakening the opposition parties as much as possible.
The report also reflected on the „lack of independence of the judiciary in Türkiye and the use of the judicial system for politics” and asked “the European Court of Human Rights to fully implement all its decisions.” Only about 8 months before the Presidential election started, the AKP changed most of the personnel of the Ministry of Justice, especially those, who criticized the government or used to ask unpleasant questions. The European Parliament report also strongly condemned the ongoing prosecution and censorship in Türkiye, as well as the crackdown on journalists and independent media. The report clearly underlined and emphasized that widespread hate speech and discrimination against the LGBTI+ community has also increased in the country.
The Parliament report mentioned another political topic, which caused during the past months controversial reactions: the so called „Kurdish issue.“ The report stated, that the situation of Kurds in Türkiye and how the government plans to deal with the issue is extremely concerning. This is the reason, why the European Parliament demanded the urgent resumption of a credible political process with the participation of all relevant parties. The report also stated that the democratic and pro-European wishes of the majority of the Turkish society is highly appreciated in Brussels. Therefore, a commitment has been made to continue and increase the support for Türkiye‘s independent civil society. Finally the report pointed out, that “A country’s NATO accession process cannot in any way be associated with another country’s EU accession process.” Of course the European Parliament is reflecting with this statement on the still ongoing tensions between Sweden and Türkiye. During the last years, and especially after the increasing events of burning the Quran in Sweden, Ankara is not willing to change its opinion and vote for a Swedish NATO membership. The EU Parliament noted in the report, that it is regrettable that Türkiye as one of only a few countries does not support sanctions against Russia outside the framework of the United Nations (UN).
The results of this report are a political disaster for Türkiye especially during a time, when the country tried to position itself as a big player not only in the Middle East, but also internationally in being the mediator between Russia and Ukraine in the conflict between those two countries.
But the European Parliament showed its political pokerface once again. After criticizing many issues in Türkiye, its vote at the UN General Assembly to condemn Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine and its commitment to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity were evaluated as satisfactory. The report praised also Türkiye‘s efforts to continue hosting the world’s largest refugee population, with approximately 4 million people. It was underlined that the European Parliament is determined to support the EU’s continued financing of refugees and host communities in Türkiye. At this point it has to be addressed, that the European Union is negotiating for years now with the government in Ankara, about how to use the border crossings towards Syria and who provides the humanitarian aid there. Türkiye uses this political bottleneck to gamble for its own benefits. The EU pays hundreds and hundreds of millions of Euros every year for humanitarian aid to keep Ankara politically on track.
Having that in mind, the European Parliament report emphasized the firm belief that the country on the Bosporus is a partner with strategic importance in terms of political, economic, energy and foreign policy, and said, “Türkiye is a key partner for the stability of the wider region and an important ally, including NATO.”
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