Motion for a resolution - B7-0308/2013Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Turkey

11.6.2013 - (2013/2664(RSP))

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
pursuant to Rule 110(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Geoffrey Van Orden, Adam Bielan, Sajjad Karim, Charles Tannock on behalf of the ECR Group

Procedure : 2013/2664(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected :  
Texts tabled :
Debates :
Texts adopted :


European Parliament resolution on the situation in Turkey


The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions, in particular that of 18 April 2013, on Turkey’s 2012 progress report[1],

–   having regard to the Negotiating Framework for Turkey of 3 October 2005,

–   having regard to Council Decision 2008/157/EC of 18 February 2008 on the principles, priorities and conditions contained in the Accession Partnership with the Republic of Turkey[2] (the Accession Partnership), as well as to the previous Council decisions on the Accession Partnership of 2001, 2003 and 2006,

–   having regard to Rule 110(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas demonstrations in Istanbul, and the police response to them, have provoked wider unrest in Turkey and elicited criticism from both national and international observers;

B.  whereas the wave of protests seems to have grown out of an initially peaceful and small-scale environmental demonstration against the planned municipal development of Gezi Park in Istanbul’s Taksim Square;

C. whereas Turkish police tried to dispel the demonstrators in the early hours of Friday, 31 May 2013, and whereas the excessive use of force by the police led to clashes with protestors that have since spread to other cities in Turkey, resulting in hundreds of casualties, numerous arrests and extensive damage to private and public property;

D. whereas Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has reportedly stated that peaceful protests against the demolition of the park were legitimate and that the reaction of the police to the demonstration was extreme;

E.  whereas Article 34 of the Turkish Constitution protects the right to organise peaceful and unarmed meetings and demonstrations without permission;

F.  whereas the Republic of Turkey is a long-standing secular democracy that has served as a model of modernisation, tolerance, and economic progress for other countries with largely Muslim populations;

G. whereas the growth of the unrest has been linked to wider social and political concerns in Turkish society, such as over recent legislative acts to restrict the sale and advertising of alcohol and the reorganisation of the education system to give greater scope for religious schools;

H. whereas the mainstream Turkish media were slow to report fully on the demonstrations, and whereas Turkish media outlets seem to have practised inappropriate self-censorship in their reporting of recent events;

1.  Expresses its support for the democratic right of peaceful protest, and condemns the disproportionate and counter-productive use of force by Turkish police forces in their response to the recent demonstrations in Istanbul and other cities;

2.  Urges the Turkish authorities to show restraint and understanding in their handling of legitimate protests, and to acknowledge the substantial human rights reforms that have been introduced in recent years along with the overhaul of the penal code and the ongoing judicial changes;

3.  Welcomes the response by President Gül, the apologies to the injured protestors by Deputy Prime Minister Arinc and the dialogue with members of the Taksim Platform initiated on 5 June 2013, and encourages the government of Turkey to recognise the legitimate concerns of a large section of its population;

4.  Points to the ninety years of democracy in Turkey and the secular nature of the Turkish state, which has been reiterated by Prime Minister Erdogan; emphasises the importance of Turkey as a democratic model for other countries and peoples in the region;

5.  Recognises the recent societal and economic reforms carried out by the Erdogan government, which have led to economic growth, improved human rights for the Turkish people and progressive alignment with the EU; reiterates the importance of Turkey’s ongoing efforts to further improve its democratic institutions, the rule of law and the observance of fundamental freedoms;

6.  Stresses the important geostrategic position of Turkey in the region and its role as an active regional foreign policy actor; recalls Turkey’s long-standing membership of NATO and its more recent membership of the G20;

7.  Expresses its sympathy with Turkey for the years of terrorist violence committed by the PKK and other terrorist organisations in Turkey, and for the impact of the current conflict in Syria; recognises the extensive humanitarian assistance provided by Turkey to refugees from the conflict in Syria; asks the Commission, the Member States and the international community to continue to support the efforts of Turkey and other affected countries in the region to deal with the massive influx of refugees;

8.  Recalls that freedom of expression and of the media are essential democratic values, and is concerned about inappropriate acts of censorship and self-censorship affecting the Turkish media, including on the internet and on social networking sites; stresses that an independent press is crucial for the health of a democratic society;

9.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of the Republic of Turkey.