Freeze EU accession talks with Turkey until it halts repression, urge MEPs

BRUSSELS, 24 November 2016 - MEPs want a temporary freeze on EU accession talks with Turkey. In a resolution voted on Thursday, they say Turkey should nonetheless remain “anchored” to the EU. They also pledge to review their position when the “disproportionate repressive measures” under the state of emergency in Turkey are lifted.

“Turkey is an important partner of the EU”, say MEPs. “But in partnerships, the will to cooperate has to be two-sided (…) Turkey is not showing this political will as the government’s actions are further diverting Turkey from its European path”, they add.

A temporary halt of the negotiations would entail that no new negotiating chapters be opened and no new initiatives be taken in relation to Turkey’s EU Negotiation Framework.

The re-introduction of the capital punishment by the Turkish government would lead to a formal suspension of the accession process, say MEPs, pointing out that “the unequivocal rejection of the death penalty is an essential element of the Union acquis.”

MEPs strongly condemn the “disproportionate repressive measures” taken by the Turkish government since the failed coup attempt in July 2016. These “violate basic rights and freedoms protected by the Turkish Constitution” itself, they say.

The resolution was approved by 479 votes to 37, with 107 abstentions.