Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have warned that accession negotiations with Turkey cannot be resumed in the face of a lack of “clear and significant progress in EU-related reforms.”
In a report adopted on May 13 by 54 votes in favor, 7 against and 13 abstentions, MEPs said that over the past two years, Turkey “has consistently gone back on its commitments in relation to the accession process."
A press release issued by the European Parliament read, “The report points to the continued deterioration of the human rights situation in Turkey. MEPs also regret the sustained legal and administrative pressure that the Turkish government is putting on civil society and human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists. They call on the Commission to provide, through relevant financial instruments, sufficient funding for pro-democracy efforts in Turkey.”
The report also made a reference to the case of jailed philantrophist Osman Kavala, by saying that Turkey continues to defy the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
“MEPs conclude that the Parliament cannot at this stage justify modifying its position concerning the formal suspension of the accession negotiations with Turkey, which have effectively been at a standstill since 2018. By openly defying the binding rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the case of Osman Kavala and others, the current Turkish Government has deliberately demolished any aspirations of reopening the EU accession process at this time, say MEPs,” the report read.
Last month, Kavala was sentenced to aggravated life in prison for allegedly attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by financing the 2013 Gezi protests. The court also sentenced Mücella Yapıcı, Çiğdem Mater, Hakan Altınay, Mine Özerden, Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi to 18 years in jail for aiding the alleged attempt to overthrow the government.
Kavala was arrested in 2017 on charges he helped to plan the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey. He was cleared of these charges in February 2020, but was immediately arrested on charges that he orchestrated the July 2016 coup attempt. In 2019, the ECHR said Kavala's ongoing imprisonment was political and called on Turkey to free him.