EP Rapporteur Kati Piri calls for formal suspension of accessions talks with Turkey (2)

EP Rapporteur Kati Piri calls on the Commission and the member states to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey reiterating her call on Turkey to refrain from any threat or action which might have negative effects on good neighbourly relations with Cyprus.

Dutch socialist MEP Kati Piri presented today at the European Parliament in Strasbourg her draft report on Turkeys accession progress.

On Cyprus, Piri welcomes efforts by the UN to resume negotiations on the reunification of Cyprus and expresses her support for a fair, comprehensive and viable settlement in line with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions and the EU acquis.

She reiterates her call on Turkey to commit and contribute to a comprehensive settlement, to begin withdrawing its troops from Cyprus, to transfer the sealed-off area of Famagusta to the UN, and to refrain from actions altering the demographic balance on the island.

EP Rapporteur praises the important work of the Committee on Missing Persons and recognises the right of the Republic of Cyprus to enter into bilateral agreements concerning its exclusive economic zone.

She also urges Turkey to engage in the peaceful settlement of disputes, and to refrain from any threat or action which might have negative effects on good neighbourly relations.

Kati Piri welcomes in her report the decision on 19 July 2018 to lift the state of emergency in Turkey, which was introduced after the 2016 coup attempt and extended 7 times, noting that that the prolonged state of emergency has led to an erosion of the rule of law and deterioration of human rights in Turkey.

She regrets that the adoption of new legislative proposals preserve many of the abusive powers granted to the president and executive under the state of emergency and thereby dampens any positive effect of its termination. She recalls that over 150,000 people were taken into custody in the post-coup crackdown and 78,000 have been arrested on the basis of terrorism charges, while more than 50 000 people remain in jail.

According to the report since the introduction of the state of emergency more than 152, 000 civil servants – including teachers, doctors, (peace) academics, judges and prosecutors – have been dismissed, while expressing concern at the excessively lengthy pre-trial detention and judicial proceedings, the fact that in several cases no indictment has been issued yet, and the harshness of detention conditions.

She notes that while the EU accession process was at its start a strong motivation for reforms in Turkey, there has been a stark regression in the areas of rule of law and human rights during the last few years. Piri calls on the Commission and the member states, in accordance with the Negotiating Framework to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey, remaining, however, committed to democratic dialogue with Turkey.

The report asks the Commission to use, during the formal suspension of negotiations, all funds available under IPA II and the future IPA III to support, through a dedicated envelope directly managed by the EU, Turkey’s civil society and to increase opportunities for people to people contacts, academic dialogue, access for Turkish students to European universities and media platforms for journalists.

Rapporteur Piri, although proposing the suspension of the accession negotiations, does not want to close the door on Turkey’s population. A democratic and economically stable Turkey is in the interest of the European Union. Therefore, all tools should be used to keep Turkey anchored to the EU and its values, she concluded during her presentation of the report.

The report will be debated by the EP Committee on Foreign Affairs for the first time on Wednesday 21 November.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results. The latest round of negotiations, in July 2017 at the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana ended inconclusively.

Source: Cyprus News Agency