Motion for a resolution - B8-1278/2016Motion for a resolution

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on EU-Turkey relations

22.11.2016 - (2016/2993(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 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

Takis Hadjigeorgiou, Marie-Christine Vergiat, Merja Kyllönen, Patrick Le Hyaric, Neoklis Sylikiotis, Malin Björk, Marisa Matias, Martina Michels, Cornelia Ernst, Helmut Scholz, Ángela Vallina, Marina Albiol Guzmán, Dimitrios Papadimoulis, Stelios Kouloglou, Kostas Chrysogonos, Barbara Spinelli, Josu Juaristi Abaunz, Thomas Händel, Eleonora Forenza, Anne-Marie Mineur, Dennis de Jong, Jaromír Kohlíček, Kateřina Konečná, Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Miguel Urbán Crespo, Tania González Peñas, Estefanía Torres Martínez, Xabier Benito Ziluaga on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-1276/2016

Procedure : 2016/2993(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on EU-Turkey relations


The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Turkey, in particular those regarding the annual progress reports, the resolution of 15 January 2015 on the freedom of expression in Turkey[1] and the resolution of 27 October 2016 on the situation of journalists in Turkey[2],

–  having regard to the Council conclusions of 18 July 2016 on Turkey,

–  having regard to the statements by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights,

–  having regard to the Commission’s 2016 annual progress report on Turkey (SWD(2016)0366),

–  having regard to the fact that respect for the rule of law, democratic values and human rights, including in particular freedom of expression, lies at the core of the accession process,

–  having regard to the statement of 26 July 2016 by the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights on measures taken under the state of emergency in Turkey,

–  having regard to the European Convention on Human Rights,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1996,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the European Union and the European Parliament have strongly condemned the failed military coup in Turkey;

B.  whereas Turkey is still a candidate country for EU membership; whereas the use of repressive measures under the state of emergency is unacceptable for a candidate country and is in breach of the EU’s founding principles of democratic values, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as contradicting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

C.  whereas the co-chairs of the HDP party and eight other parliamentarians belonging to that party were arrested on 4 November 2016 by the Turkish police, following the waiver of their immunity under a law adopted on 20 May 2016;

D.  whereas since the coup the authorities have arrested 10 members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and some 150 journalists – the largest number of such arrests worldwide – while 40 000 people have been detained and more than 31 000 remain under arrest, and 129 000 public employees either remain suspended (66 000) or have been dismissed (63 000), with most having no charges brought against them to date; whereas these arrests constitute a major blow against political freedoms and democracy in Turkey;

E.  whereas respect for the rule of law and fundamental rights, including freedom of expression, are at the core of the EU’s values, to which Turkey is formally committed through its application for EU membership and the related negotiations, and through its full membership of the Council of Europe;

F.  whereas 53 democratically elected co-mayors have been dismissed and 39 co-mayors have been arrested, while the government has appointed trustees to run 34 municipalities;

G.  whereas this continued repression by the Turkish Government assumes the democratic will of millions of voters to be null and void and undermines the already weak dynamics of local democracy in the country; whereas following the coup attempt the Turkish authorities have also shut down pro-Kurdish media outlets and arrested pro-Kurdish journalists;

H.  whereas various European bodies, including the Council of Europe and the European Parliament, have on several occasions expressed their concern at the ‘broader definition’ of terrorism in use in Turkey, which allows unlimited repression against magistrates and against opponents of the regime, notably journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and members of minorities, in particular Kurds;

I.  whereas an independent judiciary is a fundamental basis for the rule of law; whereas, according to the European Association of Judges, almost 3 400 magistrates have had their status revoked and 2 900 are still incarcerated;

J.  whereas Turkey has not yet fulfilled the criteria set for visa liberalisation;

K.  whereas according to information reports by Human Rights Watch there has been a severe degradation of the state of human rights in Turkey, including at least 13 cases of torture, since the coup attempt; whereas the outlawing of torture is a general principle of international law and cannot be suspended;

L.  whereas paragraph 5 of the Negotiating Framework for Accession Negotiations with Turkey stipulates that the Commission, ‘in the case of a serious and persistent breach of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, will recommend the suspension of negotiations and propose the conditions for their resumption’; whereas Turkey no longer sufficiently meets the Copenhagen criteria, as it does not respect the values of Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union; whereas a temporary halt to negotiations would entail the current talks being frozen, no new chapters being opened and no new initiatives being undertaken in relation to Turkey’s EU accession;

1.  Strongly condemns all the repressive measures taken after the failed coup in July, which have led to the jailing of thousands of people, among them parliamentarians from the HDP party, mayors, party executives, journalists and academics, as well as all provisional detentions based on either political criteria or ungrounded suspicions of ‘praising a terrorist organisation’; calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, including politicians, journalists and academics, who are being held without proof of individual involvement in committing a crime or with no charges presented against them;

2.  Strongly condemns the recent arrests by the Turkish police of the co-chairs of the HDP party and eight other parliamentarians belonging to that party, following the waiver of their immunity under a law adopted on 20 May 2016;

3.  Calls for the EU and its Heads of State and Government to revoke the EU-Turkey Statement by putting an end to the agreement; calls on the Commission to initiate the procedure for freezing the accession negotiations and consider resumption only when the rule of law has been restored, and to consider measures against the Turkish authorities;

4.  Calls on the Commission to examine the implications of suspending the funding provided to Turkey under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II), also taking into account the impact of such a decision on civil society in the country; calls for the freezing of the modernisation of the customs union;

5.  Expresses its deep concern regarding the rule of law, democracy and human rights in Turkey; urges Turkey to defuse the tense post-coup political climate, which creates an environment curtailing freedom of speech in the media and on the internet;

6.  Insists that the Turkish Government must revise the legal framework as regards organised crime and terrorism, in line with international and European law and in order to guarantee fundamental rights and freedoms, notably the right to a fair trial and the right to exercise freedom of expression, assembly and association in practice;

7.  Calls for respect for international law when dealing with all migrants, and notably refugees; regrets Turkey’s use of the refugee issue as a negotiating tool with the EU, and calls on all sides to guarantee full respect for human rights and international law regarding refugees;

8.  Calls on the Turkish Government to restore the human rights of all people, including those in need of international protection, who live and work in Turkey; condemns the announcement of the restoration of the death penalty in Turkey; strongly condemns all violence in prisons, and notably the increase in cases of torture of prisoners;

9.  Strongly denounces the parliamentary motion proposed on 17 November 2016 aimed at changing the current law on child abuse so as to avoid prosecuting and defer sentencing of men tried for sexually abuse of minors if they marry their victims; condemns the statement by President Erdogan that he will release prisoners charged with rape in order to free up space in prisons;

10.  Calls on the Vice-President / High Representative to react in order to ensure respect for democracy and human rights in Turkey;

11.  Instructs its President to send a cross-group delegation to Turkey to observe the situation, and to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice- President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the Government and Parliament of Turkey.