EP lawmakers voted to freeze in Turkey accession talks
European Parliament (EP) lawmakers voted for a suspension of Turkey’s membership talks with the EU.
A large majority of lawmakers in the European Parliament (EP) voted today in favour of the suspension of Turkey’s membership talks with the European Union (EU), saying President Tayyip Erdoğan’s crackdown on opponents meant Ankara did not meet the EU's democratic criteria.
638 out of 751 lawmakers attended the vote, with 477 voting in favour of the report, while 64 rejected and 94 abstained.
The European Parliament has a limited influence on the issue. The European Commission and EU governments have so far ignored calls for a formal suspension of a process already effectively in limbo.
“We are not calling to stop all dialogue or cooperation, talking about integration is just not realistic at this moment,” Kati Piri, the lawmaker who drafted the recommendation that will be put to the vote, told reporters before the debate.
EU leaders have been critical of Erdoğan and his behaviour toward opponents, both before and after a failed coup last June. But they do not want to undermine an agreement struck last year whereby Turkey effectively stopped migrants reaching Greece, easing a crisis that had threatened EU unity.
Johannes Hahn, the European commissioner responsible for membership talks, told lawmakers there could be no advance in those negotiations unless Turkey met EU demands to respect political freedoms. However, he said the EU would remain “engaged” and made no mention of halting the accession process.
There has been little progress on Turkey’s membership bid since negotiations were formally launched 12 years ago. (EVRENSEL DAILY)