Statement by MEPs Nacho Sánchez Amor and Sergey Lagodinsky on the decision to start infringement proceedings against Turkey at the Council of Europe, as reported by various media.

Parliament’s Standing Rapporteur for Turkey Nacho Sánchez Amor (S&D, Spain) and the Chair of Parliament’s delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA, Germany) issued the following statement in reaction to the Committee of Ministers’ decision to implement Article 46, paragraph 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This would start infringement proceedings against Turkey due to its refusal to abide by the judgment in the case of Osman Kavala.                      “The Committee of Ministers’ decision today to start infringement proceedings against Turkey is a logical consequence of Turkey’s refusal to release Osman Kavala in accordance with the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).                                      We truly regret that this process is necessary. The decision could have been prevented if Turkey – a founding member of the Council of Europe – had met its responsibility and complied with its international commitments. As regrettable as these developments are, they are the sole responsibility of the Turkish authorities.                                                     This case epitomises the critical state of fundamental freedoms and rule of law in Turkey. It is neither in the EU’s nor in Turkey’s interests to see the infringement procedure ultimately result in sanctions against Turkey. This would also have a negative impact on EU-Turkey relations.                                                                                                          It is now up to the Turkish courts and authorities to rise to the occasion and show political will by adhering to international commitments, democracy and rule of law. This is the only way forward to allow EU-Turkey cooperation to deepen, including the renewal of the customs union. Human rights and rule of law are conditions for such cooperation.”