The European Parliament has adopted the European Commission’s revised report on Turkey. Once called the ‘Progress report on Turkey’, the document is now just the ‘Turkey 2018 report’. This means that in the eyes of Europe, Turkey has regressed, not made progress towards its ambitions to join the EU.
“Turkey is an important neighbour of the EU and we want to continue our close partnership. Unfortunately, the Turkish government put its European ambitions on the back burner a long time ago”, said Renate Sommer MEP, the EPP Group’s Spokeswoman on Turkey. “The rule of law has been abolished, human and minority rights have been trampled on, opposition members, critics, journalists and religious minorities are persecuted, arbitrariness and a climate of fear prevail”, she added.
Turkey remains a key EU partner but has been moving away from the Union. The long state of emergency, which has been in place since July 2016, has eroded the rule of law. Since its introduction, more than 152,000 civil servants have been dismissed. In order to push Ankara to respect human rights, freedom of religion and democracy, the EPP Group demanded the suspension of accession negotiations and the redefinition of relations.
“Our former demand for the suspension of the accession negotiations obviously didn’t impress the Erdogan regime. This is why we are now asking to redefine the relationship between the EU and Turkey in terms of an effective partnership. Since the Customs Union is of the utmost importance to Turkey, it can and will be the basis of our future cooperation, provided that the Turkish side fulfils our basic conditions: respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law”, concluded Renate Sommer.