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GUE/NGL President condemns Erdoğan action against political opponents and critics

In light of 138 Turkish MPs having their parliamentary immunity stripped by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in order to shore up his powerbase, a debate took place in Strasbourg this evening with MEPs also discussing its impact on Turkey’s EU membership talks and the migrant deal.

GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer used her speech to criticise President Erdoğan’s dictatorial streak, and lamented the effects this has had on democracy in the country,

“This is a concerted effort to push the political system towards a presidential and autocratic system. The parliament dominated by the ruling AK Party is abusing the power of Turkish democracy – and that is going to have ramifications on the way in which members can express their views and represent their citizens.”

“We are in the 21st century now in Europe and it is still possible for a climate of fear to be created,” Zimmer reasoned.

“Such action is not just against the HDP, political opponents and other critical voices like journalists, lawyers. You now see Erdoğan calling upon members in the German Bundestag to be punished for voting in favour of recognising the Armenian genocide!”

“This impinges upon the responsibilities and the possibilities for members of the Turkish Grand Assembly to represent themselves and their citizens,” she said.

Zimmer also expressed her disappointment with the Commission’s reaction towards the lifting of the immunity, mindful of what impact it might have on the EU’s migrant and refugee deal with Ankara.

“When the Commission says we have to trust in the justice system in Turkey – well, Erdoğan only signed the bill to lift immunities some days after having changed the places and positions of 3228 judges and prosecutors in an attempt to get rid of his opponents in the judiciary.”

“We need to find another way through this. We cannot take this lying down! This concerns our common European freedom – we must stand up for our common fight for democracy!” Zimmer concluded.