The European Union should formally adjourn Turkey’s discussions to join the bloc, EU legislators stated on Wednesday in a significant reprimand of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who Western governments charge of widespread abuses of human rights.
Counterfeiting a common European Parliament position on Turkey’s long-halted EU proposal, legislators voted 370 in favor and 109 against, with 143 refraining from voting, for an authoritative freeze of the membership process, which would risk some EU financing.
EU governments have the final say in any suspension.
Kati Piri, a Dutch center-left EU legislator, who backed the non-binding decision, told the session in Strasbourg that in today’s Turkey, the reality is that, one sits in a cell for 17 months without knowing the reason for which they have been charged.
She blamed Erdogan of carrying a campaign against his critics, referring to what the EU states is suppression on protestors, the breakdown of an autonomous judiciary and a turn toward authoritarianism that are antagonistic with the bloc’s values of democracy and freedom of speech.
Ankara rejected the vote as baseless. Turkish ruling AK Party spokesman Omer Celik called it “insignificant, invalid and despicable”.
Turkish foreign ministry stated that it hoped the EP would take impartial decisions and to accommodate a constructive stand to donate to Turkey’s EU accession process.
The parliament adopted its viewpoint two days before EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini is ready to meet Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Brussels to talk on bilateral relations.
The EU process is not regularly frozen but was stumbling even before Erdogan’s expel of doubted plotters of a failed coup effort in 2016 and his broadsides against Europe in 2017, comparing the Dutch and German governments to Nazis.
Presently, EU officials stated limits on press freedoms, mass jailing and diminishing civil rights make it almost intolerable at the current time for Turkey to meet EU joining criteria.