Continuing a negotiating process aimed at European Union integration of Turkey has lost all credibility under the present circumstances. So said European Parliament Rapporteur Kati Piri, who has called for a formal suspension of accessions talk with Turkey.

“Apart from the clearly autocratic nature of the recently introduced presidential system, which lacks the necessary democratic checks and balances, it is impossible to ignore the further regression of the rule of law with over 50,000 people, including journalists, politicians and human rights defenders, still in jail since the attempted coup and 150,000 civils servants dismissed without proper legal procedures.

“The more friendly statements of the Turkish government about the EU and some of its member states or for example the restoration of full diplomatic relations with The Netherlands cannot conceal these facts.”

According to Piri, the Council is partly to blame for this situation since it has not used past opportunities to engage the Turkish regime in serious talks about democracy and rule of law by refusing to open the relevant negotiating chapters, as proposed several times by the European Parliament.

“Now that there has been a stark regression in all these areas, the same Council refuses to draw a red line, although fully aware of the fact that in reality accession talks have come to a complete standstill. Both the EU (or at least a majority of member states) and the Turkish government itself seem to cling to the membership option more in theory than in practice. It seems that an impasse is the favoured option of both sides. Consequently, the relations between the EU and Turkey have become more and more purely transactional.”

However, Piri also stresses that the door should not be closed on Turkey and its people. “A democratic and economically stable Turkey is in the interest of the European Union… Visa liberalisation is of great importance for all Turkey’s citizens, especially students, business representatives and people with family ties in EU member states. I therefore encourage the Turkish government to comply with all 72 criteria, including bringing Turkey’s anti-terror legislation in line with European standards.”