EU must review Turkish accession talks in light of damning report
The most damning report yet produced by the European Parliament on Turkey’s suitability for accession into the EU has been debated by MEPs in Strasbourg today, with GUE/NGL MEPs calling for a resolution to the Cyprus issue and for fundamental rights to be upheld.
The ‘Report on Turkey’ is an annual assessment by MEPs on the country’s progress towards meeting the criteria for membership of the EU, and the 2016 edition coincided with a tumultuous year that included an attempted coup, terrorist attacks as well as increasing authoritarianism and countless violations of fundamental rights across Turkish and Kurdish societies.
For GUE/NGL group shadow Takis Hadjiegeorgiou, the Cyprus issue remains critical to Turkey’s prospective membership amidst ongoing talks in Switzerland to reunify the island:
“The report captures vividly the current state of affairs in Turkey. Right now, the negotiations of the Cyprus problem are at a critical juncture. Currently, Turkey occupies one-third of Cyprus. The Greek Cypriot side has said that part of this land can be under Turkish Cypriot administration.”
“Why then does the Cyprus problem remain unresolved? The answer is that Turkey does not want to leave Cyprus. Τhe European Commission, Council and Parliament must therefore exert their influence upon Turkey to end its occupation of Cyprus,” Hadjiegeorgiou said.
Meanwhile, Greek MEP Kostas Chrysogonos said that the EU must wake up to Turkey’s hypocrisy and should not be rewarding bad behaviour by upgrading the Customs agreement:
“For twelve years, Turkey has behaved like a hypocrite. It says that it wants to come into line with the European Union and the EU pretends that it believes that.”
“But in practice, the Turkish regime has become increasingly autocratic internally, and increasingly aggressive vis-a-vis neighbouring countries.”
“There have been talks about upgrading and modernising the Customs Union on both sides, and that there’ll be a liberalisation of the visa regime for Turkish citizens - but if we don’t take into consideration the true circumstances, we are not in favour of voting for this report,”