Commissioner Verhelyi urges Turkey to conform to EU values and its obligations

The European Union will continue to urge Turkey to comply with its international obligations and the EU values, as an EU candidate state, and to implement the ECHR decisions as a Council of Europe member.

The remark was made on behalf of the European Commission by Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, replying to a letter by Cypriot MEP, Demetris Papadakis, and Greece’s MEP, Nikos Androulakis, both of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament Greece.

Varhelyi said that freedom and plurality of mass media, are a fundamental principle of the EU and the EU is concerned over attempts to undermine the freedom of expression and pluralism of the media in the Turkish Cypriot community, as is the case of publisher Sener Levent.

As part of the assistance provided to the Turkish Cypriot community, the EU has funded the project “Stronger, freer and more ethical journalism”, implemented by the Turkish Cypriot Union of Journalists. The EU-funded work of the Human Rights Platform, he added, monitors freedom of expression as a fundamental right.

The targeting of media and journalists, Varhelyi said in the letter, is contrary to Turkey’s obligations as an EU candidate state and as a member of the Council of Europe and Turkey urgently needs change the negative trend it has shown in the recent years and make tangible progress in respecting fundamental rights.

The EU, he said, will continue to raise the issue to its Turkish counterparts at all levels, noting that from 2018, due to Turkey’s distance from the EU, its accession negotiations have effectively been inactive.

Concluding, he said the EU will continue to call on Turkey to conform with its international obligations, the EU values as an EU candidate state and to implement the ECHR decisions, as a member of the Council of Europe.

Source: Cyprus News Agency