EP largest political groups blast Turkey on democratic violations

24 November 2016
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The leaders of the two largest parties in the European Parliament, Manfred Weber of the European Peoples Party (EPP), and Gianni Pitella of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats (PASD) have issued a stark warning to Turkey that its accession process to the EU would be suspended, following the purges of the Erdogan regime against his opposition after the failed coup attempt in the country on July 15.

“For the EPP the accession negotiations cannot continue under the current conditions and they must freeze”, Weber stated. He added that in the event Turkey reintroduces the death penalty, the EP should make it clear that “such a country cannot become a member of the EU”. Weber parsed the Turkish people for standing up for democracy against the military in the July coup, but underlined that the event should not be used as a pretext to abuse human rights and political dissent.

“Thousands of public servants have been fired. Press freedom has been curtailed. Media outlets have been closed down. Politicians and democratically elected MPs are in prison”. Weber raised his concerns about these developments. The head of the socialist group in the European Parliament, Gianni Pitella echoed his colleagues fears, stressing that under the current circumstances Turkey had no chance of being admitted into the EU. “We want to send a strong political message to Erdogan because he has crossed the limits. The arrests of thousands of people, judges, lawyers, free citizens, politicians, parliamentarians, opposition party leaders, is unacceptable”, he stated. Pitella added that his political group would reconsider its position on the accession talks only if Turkey demonstrated positive signs.

“We seen tangible proof if this is to happen. People have been unjustly arrested and they must be released and Turkey should become a state of justice again”, Pitella underlined, adding that when human rights are violated so viciously the EU should react. The European Parliament is scheduled to vote on whether to suspend talks with Turkey for the country’s admission to the EU later Thursday.

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