* Photo: Anadolu Agency (AA)
Prepared by Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nacho Sánchez Amor, the European Parliament’s 2019-2020 report on Turkey was adopted at the Plenary Session yesterday (May 19).
While 480 MEPs voted in favour of the report 64 MEPs voted against it. 150 MEPs abstained from the vote.
The report has called on the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council and all Member States “to suspend accession negotiations with Turkey and all financial agreements between the European Union (EU) and Turkey, in particular by freezing pre-accession assistance to Turkey, until the EU is convinced that Turkey is fulfilling its contractual obligations to properly manage the funds and is fully complying with EU and international law.”
Urging Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide, the report has also demanded that Turkey “align its anti-terrorism legislation with international standards in order to ensure effective protection of fundamental rights and freedoms and proportionality and equality before the law.”
The report has called on “Turkey to maintain progress in its alignment with the EU directives and acquis related to the environment and climate action and to ratify the Paris Agreement on climate change” and condemned Turkey for withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention.
The report has also said the following about the Eastern Mediterranean: The EP is “deeply concerned by Turkey’s unprecedented illegal behaviour in the Eastern Mediterranean conducted by an EU candidate country against EU Member States, and by the related security and stability risks; strongly condemns Turkey’s illegal activities in Greek and Cypriot waters, as well as its violations of the Greek national airspace, including overflights of inhabited areas, and its territorial sea, which violate both the sovereignty and the sovereign rights of an EU Member State and international law; expresses its full solidarity with Greece and the Republic of Cyprus.”
‘Membership is a strategic goal’
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey condemned the adoption of this report by issuing a press release yesterday.
“This unilateral and by no means objective report, adopted in a period when efforts are made to revive Turkey-EU relations on the basis of EU membership perspective within the framework of a positive agenda, is unacceptable,” the Ministry has said and briefly added the following:
“We reject this biased text which not only includes false allegations regarding human rights, democracy, the rule of law, our governmental system and political parties; and views Turkey’s effective, solution-oriented, humanitarian and enterprising foreign policy as a threat; but also reflects the completely unfair and biased Greek and Greek Cypriot arguments regarding the Aegean, the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus issue and supports the one-sided and inconsistent Armenian narratives regarding the 1915 events.
“We consider that the wording in the report which is trying to open the future of Turkey’s accession negotiations to discussion, reflects a lack of vision and an effort to deviate from the principle of pacta sunt servanda. It is well known by the EU institutions and the EP members that the standstill in Turkey’s accession negotiations is not due to Turkey’s lack of will for reforms or any shortcoming in assuming the EU acquis, but, rather, to the fact that certain circles have exploited the membership process as an opportunity for political gains against Turkey since the beginning of this process. EU membership is a strategic goal for Turkey and will be beneficial for all of Europe and beyond. Turkey will decisively continue its efforts in line with this objective.
‘Turkey expects constructive efforts’
“While the EU expresses its appreciation for our efforts, particularly with regard to migration issue, within the scope of the Turkey-EU Statement of 18 March 2016, for which we have fulfilled our commitments, the EU should get out of the vicious circle of not taking any concrete step to fulfil its own commitments in the 18 March Statement, ranging from Turkey’s EU accession process to cooperation on migration.
“As a candidate country, Turkey expects the EP to carry out constructive efforts about how the relations can be improved with Turkey and how it can contribute to Turkey’s EU integration process, rather than being a platform for baseless allegations and blind accusations against Turkey.” (EKN/SD)