European Parliament Approves Turkey’s Progress Report

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European Parliament’s (EP) Turkey’s progress report has been approved by majority of votes at the General Assembly today.

Turkey Rapporteur Kati Piri speaking before the report was discussed at the EP has claimed that “Turkey has further backslid from European standards” and said, “We need a stable and more democratic Turkey”.

“As for freedom of the press, supremacy of law and the issue about Kurdish minority in the southeast, we have deep concerns with respect to some internal developments”.

Freedom of the press and expression

The report highlights regression in freedom of expression and press, and the necessity to release imprisoned journalists, and that condemns cases of insulting the President.

Besides, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s words against verdict of the Constitutional Court that has paved the way for the release of journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül.

The report also as to the Kurdish question makes a call for the curfews to be lifted immediately, to carry out operations in accordance with law and human right, to not kill civilians and bring aid urgently to wounded.

Visa exemption

Piri said should Turkey meet all the criteria, she doesn’t see any harm in abolishing the visa requirement for citizens of Turkey.

Piri also noted that even though Turkey has made some progress in the past two years, it still hasn’t met one-third of the 72 criteria, and that she doesn’t find it “realistic to realize it within one month”.

Refugee agreement

According to report of EU news, Kati Piri expressed that EU’s cooperation with Turkey as to the refugees is containing the risk of neglecting human rights issues, and said “This Parliament openly voiced that it shouldn’t happen”.

Piri underlining that the cooperation on the refugee issue shouldn’t be linked with the accession period spoke as follows:

“In order to have a convincing partner in Turkey, we need a stable and more democratic Turkey. And we can’t say ‘now we have immigration crisis, we can’t tackle other issues’. This is the message this report wants to deliver”. (AS/TK)