April 22. 2024. 6:34

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MEPs call on EU and Türkiye to look for alternative ways to co-operate 


Unless there is a drastic change of course by the Turkish government, Türkiye’s EU accession process cannot resume under the current circumstances, say MEPs on the Foreign Affairs Committee in a report adopted on Tuesday (by 47 votes in favour, no votes against and 10 abstentions).

Urging the Turkish government, the European Union and its member states to break the current deadlock and move towards a closer partnership, MEPs recommend starting a reflection process to find a parallel and realistic framework for EU-Türkiye relations. They call on the Commission to explore possible formats for a mutually appealing framework.

In the report, MEPs confirm that Türkiye remains a candidate for EU accession, a NATO ally and a key partner in security, trade and economic relations, and migration, stressing that Türkiye is expected to respect democratic values, rule of law, human rights and abide by EU laws, principles and obligations.

The report urges Türkiye to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership without any further delay, and underlines that the NATO accession process of one country can in no way be linked to the EU accession process of another. Each country’s progress on the path towards the EU remains based on its own merits, MEPs stress.

Alignment with the EU’s common foreign and security policy

The report welcomes Türkiye’s vote in favour of condemning Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine in the UN General Assembly and its commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, regretting that Türkiye does not support sanctions outside the UN framework. Türkiye’s alignment rate with the EU’s Common foreign and security policy has slipped to an all-time low of 7 %, making it by far the lowest of all enlargement countries.

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EU commitment to support refugees and the post-earthquake reconstruction efforts

MEPs commend Türkiye’s efforts to continue hosting the largest refugee population in the world of almost four million people. They welcome the continued provision of EU funding for refugees and host communities in Türkiye, and express their strong commitment to sustain this in the future.

Expressing their heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims of the devastating earthquakes of 6 February 2023, MEPs state that the EU should continue to support the people of Türkiye in meeting their humanitarian needs and reconstruction efforts. They underline that European solidarity could lead to a tangible improvement in relations between the EU and Türkiye.

The rapporteur Nacho Sánchez Amor (S&D, Spain) said : “We have recently seen a renewed interest from the Turkish government in reviving the EU accession process. This will not happen as a result of geopolitical bargaining, but when Turkish authorities show real interest in stopping the continuous backsliding in fundamental freedoms and rule of law. If the Turkish government is sincere in this they should show it with concrete reforms and actions.”

Background

EU accession negotiations have effectively been at a standstill since 2018, due to the deterioration of rule of law and democracy in Türkiye.

Next steps

The report will now be submitted to a vote in the European Parliament as a whole at one of the next plenary sessions.

More information

  • Committee on Foreign Affairs

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