EU Parliament head Schulz to visit Turkey amid human rights criticism

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EU Parliament head Schulz to visit Turkey amid human rights criticismEuropean Parliament President Martin Schulz will be visiting Turkey amid criticism on Ankara’s post-coup policy

European Parliament President Martin Schulz will be visiting Turkey amid criticism on Ankara’s post-coup policy from European parliamentarians, reports said on Tuesday. 

Specifically, a press release from the EU said that Schulz will be visiting Ankara on Thursday to speak with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkey has come under the fire of the EU, however, as there are growing concerns from MEPs on the respect of human rights and the rule of law, following a coup attempt on July 15, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament reported on Tuesday.

According to a report released after their meeting, MEPs assessed the results of last week’s fact-finding mission to Turkey by the committee chair and rapporteur and stressed the need for constant monitoring.

Turkey has gone through a shock. There are indications that since 2013, the Gulen movement put into motion more than was realised. This is a group which over the decades has developed the style of a secret alliance,” said Foreign Affairs committee chair Elmar Brok, from Germany.

He confirmed that during the visit, the EP delegation condemned the coup attempt, but said that “even before the coup d’état in Turkey, developments as regards the freedom of opinion were not acceptable and took Turkey farther away from EU”.

Traumatic effect 

Turkey rapporteur Kati Piri, MEP from the Netherlands, emphasised that the traumatic effect of the coup attempt on Turkish society should not be underestimated. She referred to the shelling of the Turkish parliament, the arrest of journalists and the killing of more than 200 civilians. But the aftermath of the coup attempt involved “the arrest of thousands of people [...] who definitely were not involved in the coup”, she added. “The rule of law, including access to lawyers and fair trials, must be respected and this will be a crucial test for democracy in Turkey,” said Piri.

Many MEPs agreed that the EU should monitor the rule of law and human rights situation in Turkey more closely, some asking for clearer evidence that the Gulen movement was behind the coup.

Despite the criticism on Turkey from the rapporteur and the head of the Foreign Affairs Committee, some MEPs, an announcement said, suggested chapters 24 and 24 of the accession should be opened.  

The chapters regard justice, free, and security, and are both still blocked by Cyprus, as the island needs Turkey to normalise relations.  

MEPs have suggested that the chapters needed to be opened as it would facilitate a dialogue with Ankara, the announcement mentioned.

An important number of MEPs said that although they supported the EU-Turkey migration deal, the European Parliament could only give the green light to the visa liberalisation, which is part of the deal, once all of the 72 benchmarks have been met.

Criticism from Cyprus 

Costas Mavrides, a member of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, has said: “The objective finding that the political situation for democracy in Turkey has become worse every year and has become even worse since the coup attempt, has revealed the unsuccessful EU policy towards Turkey, and highlights that there is a need for change.”  

The MEP has said that the new policy he hope would arise towards Ankara would bring results and not failures. 

In regards to the situation, Mavrides has mentioned that the EU cannot keep sticking to the same ‘recipe’ with Turkey, but rather a new line needs to be adopted that serves the European interests.  

Mavrides has said that the EU interests should include the removal of Turkey’s troops from Cyprus’ occupied areas and moving forward the obligations Turkey has towards the EU, in relation to justice in a modern society.   

Read more here.

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

 

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