Turkey report voted at EP Foreign Affairs Committee, calls Turkey to withdraw troops and return areas to UN control

European Parliaments Committee on Foreign Affairs voted today in favor of a resolution on Turkeys accession negotiation progress by 51 votes to 3, with 14 abstentions, opening the way for it to be tabled at the Plenary, scheduled in Strasbourg on 3 to 5 July.

The original text compiled by the Dutch Rapporteur Kati Piri (Socialists and Democrats), highly critical for Turkey has been heavily revised after a series of amendments that reinstated all the Cyprus related Turkish obligations.

Thus the final text calls on Turkey to start withdrawing troops form the island, to seize any colonization activities, return the Varosia area to UN and control and be constructive towards a viable solution of the Cyprus issue.

More specifically, the amended text now refers to “a fair, comprehensive and viable solution based on a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation with political equality, an international legal personality, sovereignty and citizenship with political equality between the two communities, in accordance with its relevant resolutions The UN, international law and the acqui communautaire and on the basis of respect for the principles on which the EU is founded “.

In addition, MEPs call on Ankara to “fully respect the sovereign rights of all Member States, including those relating to the exploration and exploitation of natural resources, in accordance with the acquis communautaire and international law”.

It is worth noting that there is a specific reference to the “ongoing process of harmonization of Turkish Cypriots”.

Moreover the MEPS warn that Turkey’s EU accession talks should be suspended if the proposed changes to the constitution go ahead, committee MEPs recommended on Tuesday.

Foreign Affairs Committee MEPs note in their annual assessment of Turkey’s reform progress that 2016 was a difficult year for Turkey as a result of the war in Syria, the influx of refugees, a string of heinous terror attacks and a coup attempt. They condemn the coup attempt and express their solidarity with the people of Turkey.

The resolution recognizes the importance of good EU-Turkey relations and maintaining a constructive and open dialogue, which is key for addressing common challenges, such as migration, security or terrorism. MEPs propose upgrading the EU-Turkey Customs Union, by making human rights and fundamental freedoms part of a new agreement.

However, MEPs think that measures taken in response to the coup attempt are disproportionate, regretting the large-scale dismissal of civil servants, the closing of media outlets, the arrest of journalists, judges and human rights defenders, and the closure of schools and universities.

Taking note of the outcome of Turkey’s recent referendum and the expansion of presidential powers, the Foreign Affairs Committee calls on the EU Commission and the EU national governments to formally suspend the accession negotiations with Turkey without delay if the constitutional reform package is implemented unchanged.

Committee MEPs are concerned about Turkey’s backsliding in the rule of law, human rights, media freedom, and the fight against corruption. They condemn the repeatedly declared support for the reintroduction of the death penalty by the Turkish President, which would put into question Turkey’s membership in the Council of Europe and lead to an immediate end of EU accession talks.

Despite all internal differences, the European Parliament speaks with one voice when it comes to condemning human rights abuses in Turkey. The continuation of the state of emergency has disproportionately negative effects on Turkish society and the arbitrary arrest of thousands of citizens, including parliamentarians and mayors, is of utmost concern”, said the Rapporter Kati Piri

“As the proposed constitutional reform package is not in line with EU membership criteria, the report calls for the formal suspension of the accession talks if the constitutional amendments are implemented unchanged”, she added.

“We expect the government to take the Venice Commission recommendations seriously, as well as the fact that half of the Turkish population voted against it in the referendum”, warned Kati Piri.

Source: Cyprus News Agency