European Parliament: Joint statement on Turkey


«Putinization» of Turkey poses a risk to the EU

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Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee discussed the motives and the possible consequences of Turkey’s recent attempted coup with Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn and representatives of the European External Action Service on Tuesday morning. MEPs emphasized that to ensure further accession talks, Turkey must stick to democracy, the rule of law and human rights.

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I noted with shock what happened during and after the attempted coup, including the listing and the swift removal of thousands judges and public servants. There is a danger now that Turkey could move further away from Europe. The introduction of the death penalty is a clear line, it could prevent further EU accession talks. It is important to stay calm though and make sure we are not creating myths. Turkey is a strategic partner and we will only get peace in Syria if Ankara is involved. But on the other hand, two-third of foreign direct investment in the country comes from Europe, so let us not pretend that we depend on Turkey. As for the meeting of the Turkish president with Russian president Vladimir Putin, I hope we won’t see a festival of autocrats.

After such a violent attack on Turkish democratic institutions, it’s important that in the end democracy and rule of law come out of this strengthened, not weakened. The Turkish government has the right and the obligation to bring the people involved in the attempted coup to justice. But first reactions by the Turkish authorities raise the fear that the government of president Erdogan is pursuing a witch-hunt as thousands of military, police, judges and governors have been arrested or put on non-active. I ask the Turkish government for restraint and respect for the rule of law. In this situation, further Putinization of Turkey poses a risk to the EU and must be avoided at all costs. I sincerely hope that Turkey takes this as an opportunity for reconciliation and national unity after years of polarization.

Foreign affairs MEPs to debate attempted coup in Turkey [Video replay of the debate]

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Turkish authorities to observe rule of law in the aftermath of the coup attempt

Following the extraordinary meeting of the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee, the S&D Group reiterated its strong condemnation of the attempted coup in Turkey, but also expressed concerns about the aftermath of the coup in which thousands of military, police, judges and governors have been dismissed or arrested. The S&D Group invited the Turkish government to observe rule of law in the aftermath of the coup and not to pursue a witch-hunt against political opponents.

During the meeting, the S&D Group also called on the European External Action Service to appoint urgently a new head of the EU delegation to Turkey.

Kati Piri, European Parliament Rapporteur on Turkey

The S&D Group reiterates its support for the legitimate institutions of the country. However, we also underline that the rule of law has to be respected and democracy strengthened in reaction to the coup. That is why we remain deeply concerned about the thousands of arrests of military police, judges, prosecutors and governors within such a short time. We also stress that the EU must closely monitor the upcoming trials of the alleged coup perpetrators.

The rule of law has to prevail and the country has to get back to normal as soon as possible. It must return to peace and order but also return to the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In this regard, we welcome the common position of the political parties in support of Turkey’s democracy and we hope that this political unity remains intact.

We are also deeply concerned about news of violent attacks against minorities. The Turkish government has a duty to protect all its citizens and we invite the authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Finally, we would like to recall that if the death penalty is reintroduced by the Turkish authorities, EU accession negotiations will have to stop immediately.

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Death penalty will only lead to an end of the talks with Turkey

President Erdogan clearly is abusing the coup to prosecute his political opponents. It is a good thing that Turkey escaped a new military dictatorship, but only if democracy is being maintained. What we see now is a further crackdown by the AKP on the freedom of the press, on the independence of the judiciary and on the rule of law. This will deteriorate the EU-Turkey relationship.

The reintroduction of the death penalty is an absolute red line that should not be crossed. But also purges in the military and other arbitrary sanctions outside the framework of the law should be stopped immediately. Erdogan’s reaction to the coup has taken his country further down the wrong path. I call upon Mrs Mogherini and Mr Tusk to freeze all talks with Turkey until Mr Erdogan commits to upholding European values. Moreover, the European leaders in charge of Foreign Affairs should push for a drastic improvement of the human rights situation in Turkey and the strengthening of the rule of law.

Le président abuse clairement du coup d’État afin de poursuivre ses adversaires politiques. C’est une bonne nouvelle que la Turquie ait échappé à une nouvelle dictature militaire, mais seulement si la démocratie est réinstaurée. Nous assistons maintenant à une nouvelle vague de répression par l’AKP en matière de liberté de la presse, d’indépendance du pouvoir judiciaire et d’Etat de droit. Cela est inacceptable et cette situation va détériorer les relations UE-Turquie.

La réintroduction de la peine de mort est une ligne rouge absolue à ne pas franchir. Mais de la même manière, les purges dans l’armée et d’autres sanctions arbitraires en dehors du cadre légal, doivent immédiatement cesser. La réaction de Recep Tayyip Erdoğan face au coup d’Etat a engagé son pays davantage sur la mauvaise pente. J’exhorte Mme Mogherini et M. Tusk à geler tous les pourparlers avec la Turquie tant que M. Erdoğan ne s’engage pas à maintenir les valeurs européennes. Par ailleurs, les dirigeants européens en charge des Affaires étrangères devraient faire pression afin d’améliorer de façon drastique la situation des droits de l’homme en Turquie et le renforcement de l’Etat de droit.

Guy Verhofstadt, leader of the Liberals and Democrats

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