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Protests against the recent arrests of journalists in Turkey ©BELGAIMAGE/AFP/O.KOSE 

MEPs condemn the police raids and arrests of journalists in Turkey in December in a resolution adopted on Thursday. They call on the Turkish government to address media freedom as a priority, recalling that "a free and pluralistic press is an essential component of any democracy" and pointing to the need to make progress with reforms in order to gain pre-accession funding.

Parliament demands "ample and transparent information on the allegations against the defendants", insists that the defendants are given access to the incriminating evidence and full defence rights and say the cases must be handled properly in order to "establish the veracity of the accusations without delay and beyond reasonable doubt.

The enlargement process

The resolution expresses concerns about "backsliding in democratic reforms, and in particular the government’s diminishing tolerance of public protest and critical media" and urges the Turkish government "to address media freedom as a matter of priority and provide an adequate legal framework guaranteeing pluralism in line with international standards"

Financial Pre Accession Assistance

MEPs point to the paragraph in the Council conclusions of 16 December 2014, which links financial assistance from the Instrument for Pre Accession Assistance (IPA II) for the period 2014-2020 more closely to "the overall progress made in the implementation of the pre-accession strategy, including full respect for fundamental rights and freedoms". They call for increased attention to be paid to independent media within the framework of this IPA

The resolution was passed by a show of hands